This month we’ll talk a bit more on the actual
execution of what it takes to get your targeted direct mail campaign mailed out
to best effect.
Last month we talked about ideas and benefits of using
direct mail to target neighborhoods. This month we’ll talk a bit more on the
actual execution of what it takes to get your targeted direct mail campaign
mailed out to best effect.
Here are some often asked questions about neighborhood
What Criteria Should I Use to Pick the Best Neighborhood?
This depends on your community and your ideal target
prospect. To target a high-end neighborhood, you will want to pick a list based
on home value, household income and ZIP code. For instance, a criterion of
“homes valued at over $250,000 with a household income of over $85,000 in the
33308 ZIP code” may do well for high-end homes in that particular zip code.
Where Can I Buy a Mailing List for a Neighborhood?
A few well-known sources to purchase your neighborhood list
are Infousa.com, database101.com, and melissadata.com.
Should I Send Via Bulk Mail or First Class?
Typically first class mail will get the best response.
Why? First class looks more like
personal mail. Would Aunt Martha send you a letter via bulk mail? Of course not! So normally send letters via first class
mail. And since first class will get returned if the address is bad, you’ll be
able to clean up your mailing list.
For oversized postcards (of which I happen to be a fan), you
can often save at least $.20 per mail piece by mailing bulk mail. With a
postcard, you reveal your identity as soon as the prospect takes a glance at
your mail piece. So bulk mail is typically fine to use with postcards. Also,
realize that your mailing list must be correct, as bulk mail usually does not
get returned to you.
How Do I Get a Bulk Mail Permit?
Contact your local post office. In the United States, the
cost is normally $150 for a yearly permit to send bulk mail at a discounted
price. You will be required to mail at least 200 pieces at a time. On each mail
piece, you’ll need to print your bulk mail permit number in place of a stamp or
you can choose to place a bulk mail stamp on your mail piece. If you send more
than 1,000 bulk mail pieces per year, it should be worth it.
What Goes On the Address Portion of the Envelope?
Good question. This is a critical area of concern. Remember
that your prospect is eager to throw away anything that looks like junk mail.
One idea is to place your name, instead of your company
name, in the return address. After all, the letter is coming from you as a
representative of your company, right?
In the “to” address, place their first and last name along with their
address. Leave out the Mr. or Mrs. and surely leave out their middle initial.
Personal letters don’t include such things.
When sending postcards it is often acceptable to place “Or
Current Resident” under the homeowner’s name. This will mean that your mailer
will get delivered to whoever is living in the house. Without words like “Or
Current Resident,” your letter will only get delivered if the recipient’s name
is on the letter. You can use this phrase with letters too, but then you’d be
giving a signal that junk mail is enclosed inside the envelope. It’s best to
save this phrase for postcards or mailers with your identity exposed on the
What's a "Good" Response Rate?
Mostly you’ll want to look at your return on investment. You
should look for at least a 3-to-1 return. In other words, if you spend $200 on
mailings, you want to see at least a $600 return in cleaning jobs.
What's the Minimum Number of Pieces I Should Send?
You can send as many or as little as you want. However,
you’ll want to test your list, offer and mail piece before starting a huge
campaign. A good test would be 500-1,000 mail pieces.
I Just Sent Out a Mailing But Got No Response. Now What?
Send another mail piece to the same exact prospects! It takes repetition to get recognized. Now,
perhaps you should re-evaluate your offer or the manner in which your mailing
was sent. Learn from your mistakes and do it a little wiser the next time. The
fact of the matter is you are testing. Find out what may have gone wrong and
Should I Print My Postcards Myself, or Use a Professional Printer?
Either will work, but I’ve found you can get a much more
professional postcard by having it printed professionally. As well,
professional printing is often less expensive as color printing on a personal
printer is very costly. It’s also wise to consider the amount of time it takes
for you or your office assistant to print and cut postcards. If you are
printing more than 200 postcards at a time, a professional printer is likely
your best choice.
What Other Ways Can I Stand Out With My Campaign?
Last month, I insisted that you catch attention with your
direct mail piece. This is perhaps the most important part of the entire
campaign. If your mail piece doesn’t catch attention, it goes directly into the
In addition to the ideas I gave last month, you can catch
attention by bulking up your letter. Try adding a small trinket that goes along
with your theme. When your prospect has
your letter in her hand, she’ll feel that there’s something more in the
envelope besides a letter. This arouses curiosity to get the envelope opened.
For example, if your letter talks about how your company is the best in your
city at spot removal, perhaps include a refrigerator magnet with emergency spot
removal tips. Or perhaps include a small boomerang with a headline that says,
“Your spots are guaranteed to never come back.”
a little corny, but it makes the point memorable and gets your letter opened.
Targeting specific neighborhoods with direct mail can be
very profitable. Although it usually isn’t the cheapest form of advertising, it
is the best way to hand pick clients in the best neighborhoods.
sum it all up: pick the homes you want
to target, catch their attention with your mailer, give them an offer they
can’t refuse, and repeat the process until you own the neighborhood.