Direct Mail and Email for High Response Rates

Direct mail and targeted email campaigns allow you to target a specific market better than any other advertising media. You decide who gets your message, when they get it, and where they get it.

Legal Restrictions on Email

In the U.S. there are very restrictive laws on email marketing. To begin with, you can only send it out to people who requested it. Second, you must offer an opt-out choice. There are other restrictions as well. So if you are considering using email for marketing, you should make sure you are up to speed on all the latest rules.

An email can be as simple as a subject line and a couple lines of text, perhaps with a link to your website. Or it can be as complex as the contents page in a magazine, perhaps with colorful photography, a link to a video, or a link to a special landing page designed just for this marketing campaign. It can be interactive: make one choice and the user goes to one destination or make a different choice and the user goes to another destination.

A traditional direct-mail piece can also be as simple as a postcard or as elaborate as a catalog. Direct mail is a terrific medium for creating action. Sending a direct-mail piece is much more likely to elicit an immediate response than television, radio, or newspaper advertising are.

Direct mail usually costs more per person reached than any other advertising medium. The advantage of direct mail lies in its ability to target a specific consumer group. It allows you to concentrate your advertising budget on the people most likely to purchase your product or service.

You can budget as little or as much as you like to launch a direct-mail campaign. How much you spend will be affected by decisions such as whether you use two- or four-color printing, the number of pages in your brochure or catalog, the number of pieces in your direct-mail package, the paper size, and most important, the number of pieces you want to mail.

Why Should I Use Direct-Mail Campaigns?

Targeted email and direct-mail campaigns are good for targeting specific markets. They allow you to mail product information, coupons, or other advertising messages to specific groups of consumers.

Targeted email and direct mail should be targeted to the segments of the market in your sales territory that would most likely be interested in your product. For example, if you are marketing a stain-resistant treatment for new carpeting, you should target your mailing to home and business consumers who have purchased carpeting within the last year and live or work in your sales area. If you don’t have a list of people or businesses in your targeted market group, contact a mailing list broker. It will be able to compile a list according to your demographic needs and supply mailing labels for your direct-mail materials.

Should I Use Direct-Mail Campaigns

Send your targeted email or direct mail to your targeted consumers when it would be most likely to catch their attention and fulfill an upcoming need. For example, in the case of the carpet treatment product, spring-cleaning season might be a good time. Mail in February so that potential clients can call for appointments during March or April and coordinate this service with their other spring-cleaning tasks.

Where Should I Send My Direct Mail?

You should send your targeted email or direct mail to your potential consumers’ business or residence email or address, whichever is more appropriate or likely to catch their attention. 

How Should I Send My Direct Mail?

If you are sending out any kind of substantive targeted email campaign, then you will at least want to get a software program to help you manage it. And you probably will be better off using one of the email database marketing services.

Similarly, with traditional direct mail, you can collate, stuff, and label your direct-mail materials yourself. But if your direct-mail campaign is of even a modest size, such as several thousand pieces, you will be surprised how economical and efficient a mailing service can be.

What Should My Direct Mail Focus On?

Targeted email needs to primarily focus on standing out from all the other emails in someone’s inbox. Hence, the subject line and opening couple of sentences are particularly important. Eventually, you want to provide enough information so that a recipient can understand the particular advantages of your product and even make the decision to purchase, but much if not all of this information can be provided with a link to your website.

However, with traditional direct mail, the materials should include all of the information a potential consumer needs to understand your product, become interested in purchasing your product, and act on a decision to place an order for the product.

The Bottom Line

It can be tedious and frustrating to design, develop, test, redesign, and retest targeted email campaigns and direct mail to develop a strategy that works. But if you are willing to put in the effort and the time, the results and knowledge you gain can help drive your business ahead for a long time to come.

About Bob Adams

Bob Adams is a Harvard MBA serial entrepreneur. He has started over a dozen businesses including one that he launched with $1500 and sold for $40 million. He has written 17 books and created 52 online courses for entrepreneurs. Bob also founded BusinessTown, the go-to learning platform for starting and running a business.