Creating a Successful Direct Mail Piece… It’s More Than Just a Pretty Face!!

I think sometimes, we marketers make the mistake of putting too much emphasis on how a direct mail piece will look, rather than taking the time to execute a well thought out campaign. It is so easy to get excited about the size, graphics, and the color choices, that we fail to think about whom our target audience is, and what information of value can we give them, or what void or problem can our product solve.

As the marketing manager at Red Wing Software, a great emphasis is given to whom the message is being created for, i.e. existing customers, attendees for a trade show, or perhaps new prospects. Even though our graphic designer and I create the copy and design, input and ideas for the campaign can come from many different sources within our company. The sales team, technical support, development, and admin, all help us to pinpoint the right message.

For instance, when we created our new Fund Accounting Software, many months of research went into whom the right target audience would be, and what solutions would our software have that would be of value to municipalities and nonprofits. When it came to municipalities, we determined our software would be a great fit for small to mid-sized cities and towns. The goal of our first campaign was twofold, introduce our fund accounting software, and introduce our company itself. Thus our tagline “Big City Bang for Small Town Bucks” was born. We used this as our campaign slogan, it spoke to what our software was a good fit for, and our logo helped brand our company. You can click here to see an example of our first direct mail piece. To this day, this tagline is used on all of our direct mail pieces for fund accounting, as seen here in our 2011 campaign.

An important aspect for all successful direct mail campaigns is to have a good mailing list. Many companies buy lists for their prospecting or they create lists in-house using prospects or leads that have come in. When we prospect to a new market, we become members of the targeted groups associations, for instance, if we are prospecting small to mid-size municipalities in a certain state, we might join their League of Cities, and advertise in their publication, mail to their membership base, attend their trade show, etc. By taking the time to understand who our audience is, and what message of value we have for them, helps us to have a more successful direct mail campaign.

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