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Five Direct Mail Marketing Mistakes You'll Want to Avoid

Direct mail can produce results, but in order to get those results you have to execute it correctly. Here are five common direct mail marketing mistakes you’ll want to avoid:

    1. Launching a mishmash of marketing efforts without an overall plan. In order for your direct mail marketing program to be a success, you’ve got to embrace every stage of the customer lifecycle:
      • Lead-generation phase – Everyone understands this stage. This is when you try to attract the attention of potential customers.
      • Nurture phase – Once you’ve developed some leads, your next challenge is encouraging those prospects to take the next step. This is the time to feature customer testimonials, make special offers, compare your products/services to those of competitors, and send out regular announcements regarding any awards, improvements or new offerings.
      • Purchase phase – Once money changes hands (or contracts are signed), the purchase phase is in play. Your goal at this stage is to maintain the customer’s trust and confidence so they’ll happily segue into the “loyalty” phase. At the very least, send a welcome card that congratulates the person on their purchase and reiterates some of the benefits and advantages of your product or service.
      • Loyalty phase – Instead of letting customers fall through the cracks after they’ve made a purchase, offer them special discounts on follow-up services, upgrades and new purchases; ask for feedback (surveys are great); and request their help with referrals.

  1. Not taking the time to track the success of each marketing effort. If you don’t track exactly how many contacts, sales and referrals result from each direct mail marketing effort, you won’t be able to learn from the failures and build on the successes.
  2. Putting off the testing of any new direct mail marketing ideas until “next year.” No matter whether your current marketing efforts are a bust or they’re producing great results, you should always be testing new approaches.
  3. Going cheap on the postage. Most direct mailers want their marketing efforts to arrive in mailboxes on a particular day of the week (typically Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday). However, for that strategy to work, you’ll need to resist the urge to send them via Standard mail and instead pay a few pennies more for First Class postage.
  4. Giving branding the brush-off. The best personal brands combine some warm and memorable personal attributes (your red hair or oversized glasses, your company mascot, your big family, etc.), with some serious business advantages (your years of experience in a particular niche, your record of accomplishment, your one-stop collection of value-added services, etc.). But you also have to commit to using that persona in all your marketing efforts.

Every marketer makes mistakes. That’s natural. But now that you know to watch out for these 5, you’re ahead of the game and better positioned for success as the spring selling season rolls into view.

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