Most Important Factor in the Success of Direct Mail

by Joseph Norcott

The most important part of a direct-mail campaign is not the copy, the artwork, the format or even when you mail. The single most crucial factor in the success of a direct-mail campaign is the mailing list.

An excellent mailing package that has superior design and scintillating copy could pull more than twice the response of an inferior mailing. The best list, however, can succeed in pulling off a response ten times as good.

The single most common mistake in a direct-mail campaign is, quite simply, not having spent enough time and effort selecting and then testing the correct lists. When it comes to direct marketing, the mailing list is not just the method of reaching the market — it is your market.

Failing to Test

Perhaps the second-largest mistake made in direct-mail campaigns is a lack of testing. Large consumer mailers test just about everything involved in a direct-mail campaign. Business-to-business marketers, however, have a tendency to very rarely test one mailing list or piece against another, or even to track the response that they receive.

Because of this lack of testing, failures just keep on being repeated, and such marketers have little to no idea what really does and doesn’t work in terms of direct mail.

Needless to say, this is a big mistake. No one should assume that they know what will work and what won’t when it comes to direct mail — they should be testing to find out for sure.

Tested answers are the only answers that really count when it comes to direct-mail marketing campaigns.

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