The best way to build targeted mailing lists and launch direct mail campaigns
Direct mail is not dead.
As reported by Kissmetrics in a recent blog post, there is resurgence in direct mail usage among small businesses and national advertisers.
The reason? Postcards, catalogs, flyers, and even takeout menus are (way) better at driving sales transactions than digital ads. Simply stated, consumers buy more when they receive printed offers by mail.
So, the big question is – could your organization or small business benefit from it?
The answer is probably – yes.
First, let’s start with the two most popular direct mail options: Every Door Direct Mail® or Targeted Direct Mail.
Option 1: Every Door Direct Mail®
This highly-popular and affordable option for advertisers makes it easy to reach every local mailbox. With EDDM®, you can mail giant-sized postcards or flyers to all residential homes and apartments within a targeted geographic area.
In essence, this program enables you mail to as many homes as possible with as little spend as possible. Of course, the effectiveness of this strategy depends on the type of business and offer you are promoting. Since EDDM® reaches “every mailbox” it may not be an ideal fit for everyone. In other words, it might work great for a pizzeria, but not as well for businesses who only need to target homes with children.
Option 2: Targeted Direct Mail
This strategy allows you to send mail to highly-targeted individuals and households. While slightly more costly, targeted direct mail can yield astonishing response rates and ROI. By sending the right offer, to the right prospects, at the right time, the sky is the limit for business growth potential. It’s also worth noting that consumers typically react in a much more positive manner when receiving relevant information about the products, services, and events that they care about.
Additionally, targeted direct mail campaigns can be designed to reach your existing database of customers, or for new customer acquisition purposes. You cannot send mail offers to your existing database with EDDM®.
Which Option Do I Recommend? Targeted Direct Mail For The Win!
Every company has its own goals, but I personally favor targeted direct mail. I always think that marketing to the masses is a crapshoot; you fire away as many ads as you can, and expect a few would hit the target. Some folks refer to this dilemma as the “shotgun” versus “laser” approach.
In my experience, I am happy to pay a little bit more up front, to know with great certainty that my advertisements will make their way into the hands’ of the right prospects.
Another important consideration is the personalization component. I think it’s really important to have an individual’s name on the mailer. I’d much rather get something with my name on it, then a generic offer that says “Local Postal Customer” or “Current Resident”. When it has my name on it, I know that the company wants my business and I am also more likely to read it.
On the other hand, both EDDM® and Personalized Mail deliver into mailboxes as “solo” mail. I don’t know about you, but I am not a big fan of envelopes stuffed with dozens of coupons – 99% of which have absolutely no value to me. It’s just too much information with too many options.
I’d much rather get a nice, colorful postcard from a local business that has done research enough to know that I might be interested. In today’s connected world, it’s nice to get relevant offers as opposed to “dumb” offers.
Here’s a quick example: I recently received an offer for a hearing aid device in the mail. But, my hearing is 100% fine and working properly (although sometimes I wish I couldn’t hear my toddler’s scream-filled meltdowns). Did that business waste its money? I think the answer is obvious.
If you’re intrigued by what a targeted direct mail service can offer you, please read on.
In-House Mailing List vs. Purchasing a Mailing List
If you ask the marketing experts, many of them will suggest that you launch direct mail campaigns targeted to both existing customers (your in-house list) as well as new prospects. That way, you can retain your super-valuable existing customers while simultaneously growing your business with a powerful lead-generation effort.
Now, not every business has an in-house list. I’ve met small businesses where, even after 30 years, they have never put together a mailing list. Obviously, capturing customer data is tremendously important in this day and age. In the interest of time, I won’t go into all of the reasons why. But suffice it to say that if you don’t have a list – you start building one today. You should invest substantial time and money into developing a rock-solid data capture methodology. That way, you can easily reach those existing customers to drive additional transactions in the future.
On the other hand, if you do have a mailing list, there is great news! The power of the interwebs (that might be my favorite word) has made it simple to upload your mailing list, and effortlessly launch direct mail campaigns. This will drive repeat business and significantly improve your customer retention rates.
For new customer acquisition campaigns, you will most likely need to purchase a list of highly-targeted prospects. Once you obtain a list of the best prospects for your products or services, you can easily send them direct mail offers.
But how do you build a mailing list that is both accurate and effective? You need to work with a trusted, high-integrity provider.
What to look for when choosing a mailing list provider:
- Data Quality – Always choose a provider who maintains their database and triple-verifies all consumer data. Their data should be updated quarterly and should have an average “returned mail” rate of 12% or less (this is the industry accepted standard). Avoid any provider who does not guarantee that their data will meet the industry standard.
- Full-Service – One of the absolute best ways to save time and money is to choose a provider who “does everything for you.” If you can purchase a mailing list and order all required design, printing, and mailing services – from one place – you will save time and money.
- 24/7 Support – It’s never good to be stuck on a river without a paddle. That’s why I recommend choosing a company with 24/7 support by phone and online. What if you find a last-minute error or have an important question? Your marketing investment should be in good hands.
- Experience – In the marketing industry, experience matters. Direct mail can get complicated and it pays to work with folks who know the ins-and-outs of the process. I’ve seen advertisers try to save a few bucks, only to get their mail pieces rejected by the USPS because they are not formatted correctly. Think about it, would you want an inexperienced doctor or lawyer? Marketing is no different, experience matters.
- Ease of Use – It’s not 1980. Direct mail campaigns should be fast and easy to launch via the web. Unfortunately, most providers still have poor website designs and terrible purchase experiences. If you’re like me – you don’t want hassles, headaches, or complicated processes. Make sure that you choose a provider with robust online campaign-building technologies and an easy checkout process. Remember, an easy process will eliminate costly mistakes!
So Ivan, What Direct Mail Services Provider Do YOU Recommend?
OK, I have tried and reviewed several mail service providers in the past. In my mind, there is only one company that stands out as the clear best-in-class winner – Taradel.
Taradel (who operates EveryDoorDirectMail.com) is a marketing firm that has specialized in direct mail services and commercial printing since 2003. Their direct mail services include both Every Door Direct Mail® and Personalized Mail. However, as I mentioned before, I prefer using the targeted direct mail approach. They literally have hundreds and hundreds of positive reviews, and their customer service is top-notch (you can speak to an expert by phone or live chat). They are the kind of folks that go out of their way to help you and get back to you quickly.
That said, they have also mailed more Every Door Direct Mail® pieces than any other provider in the country (not including the USPS®). A recent press release indicates that they have mailed more than one hundred million mailers – talk about experience!
But what interests me the most with Taradel’s Personalized Mail service is the ability to laser-target my prospects and send them direct mail offers in just a few clicks. I am the type of person that does not have a lot of free time, so I like when marketing is easy.
Using their platform, not only can you target prospects with typical geographic and demographic attributes such as age and location, you can also target prospects by their behaviors and interests. You can mix all of these targeting options to create a super-customized mailing list, just the way you like it. As you make selections and search for the best prospects, the intuitive platform auto-updates providing you with real-time counts of how many prospects are available.
For a better explanation, I’ve prepared some screenshots.
Example Scenario: Suppose I want to promote my all natural supplement products, locally in Glen Allen, Virginia.
Step 1: Enter your address or ZIP code
To get started, you can choose whether you want to search prospects using a radius of your business address, or search based on ZIP codes. Your choice.
For my hands-on example, I chose zip codes. I enter 23060 (you could enter more than one ZIP code to expand the reach of your marketing.)
Step 2: Customize your search
On this step, you can start customizing your search. If you notice, on the top-right section you’ll see the total number of prospects – in this case, it’s a sizeable one, 28,377 total prospects. You want to narrow the list down to focus more on the attributes of your ideal prospects.
For this demo, I choose prospects who are female, over 40, with income of more than $100,000 annually. I got a laser-targeted list of 1,002 people.
I can see a sample list if I want, or get a quote straight away. Once I’ve reviewed the details, I proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Choose product
You can now choose whether you buy your mailing list only or buy the mailing list, plus the personalized mail services (includes printing and delivery services). I choose Option #2, because I want to quickly get postcards designed, printed, and delivered to these prospects.
You can now choose the design of your direct mail piece. I choose the Direct Mail 4×6 Postcard. I was informed that my all-inclusive cost to reach each prospect on the list would be 76 cents per piece. I think this is a very fair price considering that it includes the mailing list, design options, printing services, addressing, USPS® postage, and delivery!
Step 4: Design and delivery options
Moving ahead, you can then customize your delivery options. If you need extra copies sent to your office, you can easily add them to your order. You can also upload your own design files, but if you feel inclined, you can use Taradel’s design service for a very reasonable fee. They’ve also got thousands of free templates available.
You’ll then get to choose your direct mail delivery date range, and decide whether you want to deliver the mail all at once, or in multiple drops, spread out over a period of time.
Step 5: Checkout
Here, you receive an overview of your order and the total cost (mine wass $786.48 after tax, by the way.)
Choose your payment option, and you’re set to finalize your order.
Depending on your marketing plan, a targeted direct mail campaign can offer you an attractive return on investment.
With the Personalized Mail service, the whole ordering process takes about 10 minutes. It’s fast, simple, and convenient. The pricing is quite competitive, and given the ability to customize nearly everything, the price tag is well worth it.
I highly-recommend Taradel.
I would also encourage you to learn more about the service and launch a test campaign for your business or organization. It doesn’t cost a dime to learn about direct mail marketing – so, take the opportunity to see whether the service is right for your company or not. As entrepreneurs, marketing is crucial to success. With limited funds, we must use the marketing channels that drives actual sales transactions.
Here’s the link I used during this review: https://directmail.taradel.com/PersonalizedMail/Step1-BuildYourList.aspx