These days, direct mail is often dismissed as an antiquated marketing channel while email marketing or social media are becoming ever more popular choices.  Despite the current popularity of “new” media, there is ample evidence to show that direct mail is still the return on investment champion, so what is the real problem here? In most cases, it comes down to cost.  Direct mail costs more per message delivered and consequently requires more of an up-front investment than online marketing channels. There are, however, two cold doses of reality to face when it comes to direct mail.  First is that planning a marketing campaign on the basis of savings instead of on return is never a good idea.  Second is the hard truth that, if your direct mail campaign is breaking the bank, you’re probably doing it wrong. Here are 5 tips to keep those campaign costs down.

1. Target, Target, Target!
Targeting your audience is the #1 means of keeping direct mail costs down. Don’t waste postage and printing costs on people who have absolutely no need for what you offer. Save those expenses for the people who are most likely to buy from you. That said, it is important to note that the more people you send to, the more you will be able to consolidate on production costs. But grow your mailing list strategically; only expand your list within your target market(s). Every direct mail piece sent outside of that group will most likely translate to wasted marketing dollars.

2. Clean Your Mailing List Regularly
If you haven’t updated your mailing list in the past year, chances are that a huge portion of the people you are trying to target have moved. Even a month can make a big difference in the accuracy of your mailing list. Don’t put off list hygiene; you should be cleaning your mailing list before beginning each direct mail campaign. By doing this, you will avoid sending your mail pieces into the black hole of undeliverable mail.

3. Use a Permit Imprint
If your business has a presort permit, print it directly onto your direct mail piece. You will save on the time and labor costs of stamping or metering your mail individually. If your business does not have a permit, most direct mail houses have a permit that you can use if you hire them.

4. Know Postal Size Regulations
Make sure you know the dimensions for different types of mailing pieces before you print. You don’t want to be surprised with flat rates if you originally only budgeted for letter rates. This research cannot wait until after you print; if you get the dimensions wrong and your piece is already printed, you will be wasting money whether you send the piece or re-print it.

5. Give Your Audience Appropriate Channels for Follow-Up
It can be very cost-effective to use your direct mail piece to send your audience online for any follow-up information. It is cheaper to store lots of content online than to send that extra content out in several printed pieces. However, be aware of your audience; if your target market is not particularly tech-savvy, attempts to send them online might yield very poor results. In that case, remember that you have already paid for a certain weight’s worth of postage, whether or not you are using all of it. If you can stay within your weight limits, adding an extra leaflet or two will most likely be only a marginal expense.

I hope that these tips have helped to dispel the myth that direct mail must always be expensive. In fact, direct mail is actually very cost-effective if done correctly, but it definitely requires some strategizing. Keep these tidbits of information in mind to ensure that your next direct marketing campaign remains low-cost and effective.

Please contact US Data Corporation at (888) 610-3282 for any and all of your direct mail marketing needs.