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The 5 Components Of An Organic Direct Mailing List

Updated on June 12, 2013

In this highly technological age where the Internet is such a dominant force within our daily lives, perhaps it’s a little surprising that direct mail still works as effectively as it does for businesses. If it didn’t, hundreds of print firms and mailing fulfilment houses would cease trading every single week.

Interestingly, the 2012 Channel Preference Survey conducted by Exact Target found that direct mail remains competitive within the 15-34 age range when compared with email, telephone, SMS and social media marketing channels.

And one of the most successful ways of acquiring a direct mailing list is to create one (or several) by organic means, rather than to rent one from a list broker. For more advice, check out marketing companies who specialise in direct mail.

The main reason for taking the organic route is because those people who sign up to it will already have met your brand. Yes, arguably doing it this way will take longer, but the results should be significantly better than ‘going in cold.’

1. Build a Mailing List

Some of the most effective channels for building a mailing list are:

  • Store entrance
  • Point of purchase
  • Trade shoes
  • Conventions
  • Local networking groups
  • Conferences

For example, one coastal hotel I know of has a glass jar on the reception desk for local businesses to place their details or business cards in. At the end of each month the hotel manager holds a draw to give away a year’s free membership to their leisure centre worth £500. But don’t think you have to give something away for this tactic to be effective.

2. Your Marketing Message

Your marketing message will be a reflection of your brand ideals combined with your offer. When formulating your content, consider the following:

  • Target audience (or segment)
  • Problem or desire (pleasure or pain point)
  • Your solution
  • Call to action

Your prospects will have one thought when reading your content: ‘what’s in this for me?’ Therefore ‘you’ copy is infinitely preferable to ‘we’ or ‘us’. Remember to include a call to action. This could be as simple as ‘contact us today for your no-obligation consultation’; it doesn’t mean you have to ask immediately for the sale.

3. Send Your Mailer

If you are sending your direct mail in-house then the Post Office provides discounts for sending bulk mailings, so do check out their latest offers. Also it could work out cheaper to hand your design and deliveries to a fulfilment company, in which case, you will be able to submit your requirements electronically. Again, it’s worth shopping around for the best deal.

4. Track Response

Each person you have mailed to should have their own unique tracking code, as should each campaign, so you will know who has responded to a particular mailing.

5. Evaluate Data & Refine Strategy

Measure your response rates against your set up and mailing costs. Don’t forget to include creative and tracking costs as well as the actual postage costs. The Direct Mailing Association suggests that the average response rate of a mailing campaign is 6.64%.

However a compelling headline, offer and call to action are likely to yield superior results for you and remember too, that your new customers could remain buyers for many years to come, so you should always think in terms of your customers’ lifetime value.


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