Planning is a pain. It’s not very creative, not always very interesting and usually one of those things that will get put off until the end of the day – and then pushed back again.
Planning is essential though – especially in marketing. In order to ease the pain we’ve got five questions to answer BEFORE you start your DM campaign.
1. What are you trying to accomplish?
Before you can measure success you need to set some targets. Of course, they can be very tangible such as increased number of sales, more sign ups to newsletters or more fundraisers or volunteers. You’ll need proper stats to use as a base. Some will be less measurable, such as a more positive attitude to the organisation or increased brand awareness. It’s likely that the campaign will have a number of aims – but you need to prioritise these. You need to be able to measure the benefits where you can, so include response mechanisms such as unique URLs, QR codes, reply cards etc. You must ensure that whatever you do is cost-effective. As an obvious example, there is no point running a campaign that costs more than the increased level of sales. What is the value of each new customer?
2. Who is your target audience?
The whole of your campaign will be determined by this answer: the media, the format, the wording, the images, the offer, and the response mechanisms. The best way to answer the question is to ensure you have collected valuable customer data – collect data through reply forms, online forms, qualitative and quantitative market research, etc.
3. What makes your offer different from your competitors?
It’s a competitive world so you’ll need to create a brand difference from your rivals in order for your business to thrive and that needs to be reflected in your offer. Competing ONLY on price is never a very smart business idea – there will always be someone who will undercut and you won’t ever build customer loyalty. So think of offers that can help returning customers – loyalty offers work in many sectors.
4. What benefits do you want to sell in your Direct Mail piece?
Of course the answer will partly be determined by the answer to the question regarding your target audience. Don’t try to sell all the benefits in one piece – focus on the ones that motivate your target audience. Remember as well to sell benefits not features. For example, saying Product X is long-lasting, made from high quality, durable materials is a feature. Product X’s durable build will ensure it will last a lifetime is a benefit. Spot the difference? Make sure your target audience can.
5. What is your budget?
There are two elements to this answer. We mentioned earlier that the campaign has to be cost-effective – it’s not good spending £1000 to get £500 worth of sales UNLESS you have the measures (data collecting, marketing etc) to retain those customers for future sales. The second part of the answer is simply one of how much money do you have to spend and how to spend it. If you have robust data then you won’t have to spend anymore on this, but can concentrate on the design and distribution element. The print and postage costs will be a large part of the budget and experienced Direct Mail specialists can prove their worth in maximising the effectiveness of the campaign and reducing unit costs.
The benefits of Direct Mail are undeniable – check out the Direct Marketing Association website for more info – and the answers to these five questions can help you create an effective campaign.
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