5 Mistakes That Will Blow Your Direct Mail Print Budget
We may be in the digital age, but the tried-and-true methods of direct mail marketing still withstand the test of time, especially when the print campaign has been thoughtfully planned and executed. But a lack of forethought and strategy won’t just hinder success—it can also lead to unnecessary costs. So before you embark on your next direct mail print campaign, take a look at these five common blunders that could cost you plenty—in your ROI and from company coffers. This is a list of what not to do.
1. FAILING TO CREATE A SOLID GAME PLAN
It’s the first step. And if you don’t take it, you could regret it later. A successful, cost-effective print campaign requires a comprehensive strategy. Identify the purpose. Is the print campaign one element of a larger effort, or is the intention to use it as main push? Are you selling a consumer product or a professional service? What kind of call to action can you incorporate—a free trial of your service, a discount code for purchasing your product? These are important questions because the answers lay the groundwork for pretty much everything—from the types and combinations of printed materials you should use (letters, postcards, brochures, catalogs) to the timeline for sending each of them out. Half-baked plans won’t do. And your strategy should include more than one mailing. Follow up that initial outreach with additional communications, giving careful consideration to timing. You don’t want to bombard your audience with too much too often—you risk diminishing the value of your product or service. But you also don’t want to wait too long between mailings—you could risk falling off the radar. Once you determine the scope of your mail campaign, you can work toward creating a print package that covers all of the bases rather than tackling it piecemeal.
2. CHOOSING A PRINTER THAT DOESN’T HANDLE THE MAILING
There are a number of reasons this misstep can be costly. First, let’s touch on postage. Printers that have built this service into their menu of offerings are familiar with mailing options (bulk rate, First Class, etc.) and their costs. You’ll be advised on the most appropriate choice and will likely get a good deal on the postage. There’s also the time element. If you go with a printer that can’t send out the materials, you’ll need to factor in additional shipping costs, delays and another layer—not to mention your own time and frustration—to the process. And then there’s the matter of project administration. If you choose a printer that can do it all—produce the printed materials, and handle the addressing and mailing—there’s better oversight from start to finish.
3. NEGLECTING TO INCLUDE YOUR PRINTER IN THE PLANNING PROCESS
Your printer is the expert on direct mail printing. They can offer a wealth of advice and guide you through the process of choosing the right materials (letters, envelopes and self-mailers) and the right aesthetic for your business and your audience, while staying within your budget. Backed by 50-plus years of experience, B&D Litho has handled all aspects of direct mail printing—from conception to addressing to mailing, offering unbeatable pricing, quality control and efficiency (the company’s state-of-the-art facility is staffed 24/7).
4. SETTLING ON A POOR DESIGN
If your mailer is cluttered with too much type and a lot of images, your message is going to get lost. Likewise, if the copy is fraught with errors and confusing language, the recipient may not be able to decipher what the message is. There’s a delicate balance between material that commands a closer look and a mailer that is so full of messy content that the reader deems it junk. Striking that balance and getting it right the first time will eliminate the need to do it over later. Letters should be well-written and to the point. Post cards, one-sheets and brochures should be aesthetically appealing, using just enough images, graphics and copy to compel the reader to pay attention. And both should include a call to action that’s easy to spot and act upon.
5. MAILING TO A LIST THAT’S TOO BROAD OR MAY NOT BE RIGHT FOR YOU
If you’re a student of marketing, you’ve probably heard of the 40-40-20 rule, first outlined by a Mad Men-era marketing expert by the name of Ed Mayer. The numbers reflect the percentages of three integral components required for successful marketing campaigns. The first 40 percent of a campaign’s success depends upon reaching the right audience. The second 40 percent depends on the offer or product that’s pitched. And then the remaining 20 percent is a mish-mash of factors—execution, aesthetics, etc. So, going by this rule, your list is a key to getting a return on your investment. If you have a house list, great. If you don’t, seek out a service that will take the time to provide you with a list that hits your target market. If you need help getting started on your list search, a full-service printer can likely help with that too!
Planning to launch a direct mail campaign or other print project? The pros at B&D Litho can help you every step of the way. B&D Litho handles a broad range of services from its state-of-the-art 75,000-square-foot manufacturing facility—everything from offset printing, web-to-print and digital printing to direct mail, warehousing and logistics.
© Copyright B&D Litho California, Inc. 2020.