• Simon Remington

April 2015 - Where to start?

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Planning a direct marking campaign for the very first time can be daunting. In addition to organising the various aspects of the campaign itself, the pressure to deliver results can be immense.

This month we outline some of the key areas you need to be mindful of when planning your campaign. For the sake of the exercise, I will base this on a mail-out.

The first step is to identify your goals for the campaign. Most of the time this is sales oriented but can also involve testing new markets, testing different offers and design elements, increasing awareness and developing the selling skills of the staff working on the campaign.

If goals are established prior to renting a list, your broker can help you calculate the response rate required to break-even and advise how likely such a response rate is. Once a list quantity is determined, this can be rather straight forward and useful.

The next step is to identify your target market through discussions with your colleagues. A vague brief on your target market is a sure fire way to end up with a list unlikely to perform. Look for trends in your customer database as part of your research.

Once you have your target market established, it's time to shop around for the most suitable and best quality list. The temptation (and trap) is to find the cheapest quote based on the flawed premise all lists are equal. The reality couldn't be further from the truth, some lists can be over 70% wrong. The best lists tend to be less than 5% wrong.

Finding a good mail-house can be challenging but your list broker can generally help in the search. Once you start looking at list quantities beyond 1,000 records, it makes a lot of sense to use a mail-house rather than print your mail pack and stuff your own envelopes.

Once you have chosen a list and fine-tuned your selection, it's time to design the mail pack. Most of our clients already have this done prior to contacting us but personally I feel it's best base it on the criteria of the final list you ultimately decide to mail.

You will need to make sure your mail piece contains an opt-out sentence and notification statement. Your broker can provide assistance in terms of how they are generally worded.

After the list, mail-house and mail pack are organised it's time to consider measurement. Ensure those taking calls and responding to online requests are briefed on your mail-out and have them ask all new enquirers how they found out about you.

A promo code on your mail pack can be effective means of measuring response and is ideally tied to a time sensitive (to illicit a quicker response) strong offer.

Around one or two months following the campaign, it is time to dissect it. How many leads? Have we broken even, if not how long will that likely take us? How clean was the list? Did the mail-house turn things around in a timely manner? Which offer worked best (if you test more than one mail-pack)?

Once these key questions are answered, you can then determine whether to try another mail-out and if so, what changes will be required next time.

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