For many it’s a life line for their business. For others it’s a source of recycling material. It may seem like junk mail and perhaps most of the time it is. That is until at the very moment you have a need arise and there comes a notification sent via the USPS from a local business that can satisfy your need. How did they know?
For a local business, there are many challenges to putting together a direct mail campaign. One is the Mail List: Are you mailing to current customers? Trying to reach new customers? Lapsed customers? Other?
If it’s a list of existing customers, the most important thing you can do is keep it clean. Your client list is your most powerful tool. Keep an excel spreadsheet with the list, and update it regularly. Know the steps of how to export it when the need arises. Fill in all of the blanks. While those of us in the industry do have tools to improve lists that are sent to us with missing information, there is only so much we can do. Sending a clean and updated list is the best way to ensure that you can keep in touch with your customers.
If you are looking to get new business, you have some thinking to do. What do your customers look like? No, not like that. I mean who are they? What makes them tick? Once you have determined that, you can work with a list provider to procure a list of those in your target audience.
There is a wealth of information available about consumers (meaning you!). As a list provider, I can obtain lists of those with a certain income level, those with a certain amount of assets, those who are dog owners, Ford owners, parents, and many other things. Every time you use your rewards cards at the stores, file your taxes, or register your vehicle, that information is being collected for use in many mediums, including direct mail.
How many kids do you have? How old are they? Or far worse… how old are you? When is your birthday? Are you retired? Do you workout at a gym? You don’t have to tell me. I have the data. Or at least access to it. These are just a few of the things that make you who you are. A demographic. I want to say that fortunately, for the safety of our children, lists that are purchased with data on children require some hoops to jump through, and an approval process.
Is it too much information? Maybe. But then again, it can be a good thing. Close your eyes for moment and picture this…As you are heading to retrieve your mail, you notice that your neighbor Timmy has finally finished cutting your lawn, two days late, and once again he has done a less than stellar job. As you rifle through the mail, you spot a postcard from your professional neighborhood landscaper offering a free first cut. How did they know? You call, they rush right out. You are now armed with a quote to cut your lawn, professionally and on time each week, and you realize that direct mail does work!
- Dan Sawyer