Data, Direct Mail

How-To: Build Your Direct Mail Campaign

Whether it’s to figure out how to properly boil an egg, build your own garden boxes, or lose that stubborn belly fat, I’d call “bluff” if you claimed you’ve never turned to a “how-to” tutorial to make sure you do something just right. At ANS, we may not be the authority on explaining how to change a car tire or making perfect chocolate chip cookies, but we are experts in direct mail marketing. Many people ignore the power of direct mail, but according to the DMA (Direct Marketing Association), direct mail has a 4.4% response rate, up to thirty times the response rate of email. Those boast-worthy results should perk the ears of every marketer. Here are our three simple steps to effective direct mail marketing.

Direct mail checklist

Step 1: Know your customer.

We’ve all reached into our mailbox and pulled out a collection of “junk mail” that routinely gets thrown in the trash. But, occasionally, a postcard or promotion catches our eye and ends up in the house for later review. What is the difference between those that quickly get thrown and those that get read? Relevancy. As a marketer, if you want a mailpiece to be read, considered, and ultimately convert, it must be relevant to the receiver.

Understanding your ideal customer is essential to direct mail success. At ANS, we help our customers ensure their direct mail gets into the hands of those most likely to act. We do this through a process called data modeling. Our extensive process includes analyzing each characteristic of your current customers, finding those above-average commonalities, and creating a thorough report. We then take this information and create a model audience that has the same characteristics as your current customers. So instead of being thrown in grandma’s recycling bin, your mail piece about diesel mechanics ends up in the hands of the forty-five-year-old father who regularly visits car shows and works on his 1987 Dodge Ram in his garage.

Step 2: Create convincing marketing collateral.

Getting your mail piece to the right person is only part of the battle. To inspire action, your collateral needs to be interesting, convincing, and easy to respond to. According to Molly Koernke from Insight, a business intelligence technology company, most problems with direct mail occur because companies are “…still using boring techniques like sending out a plain postcard without anything creative or unique to connect with their target audience.”

If you’re thinking, “Now I need a ‘how-to’ for creating an effective mailpiece,” don’t worry—we’ve got that too. At ANS, we have a team of creative marketers ready to help you create the marketing collateral you need.


Step 3: Track your results.

Tracking response rates is crucial to direct mail success. A single successful direct mail campaign will not satisfy us at ANS. Instead, we want our customers to understand what went well with their campaign so they can continue seeing the same or improved results. Establishing effective tracking and recording makes this ongoing success possible. Take a look at some of the tracking options you have.

1. Key Codes:

To distinguish each campaign list from another, assign each list a unique series of numbers and letters (a key code). For an online offer redemption, use the keycode as a registration or coupon code. For a physical purchase, the buyer can bring in the actual mail piece. If in store, make sure the clerk records the specific keycode on the mailpiece brought in.

2. Landing Page Links:

If you’re directing your potential customer to a website, give each list a unique URL. By assigning each campaign list a unique landing page link, you can distinguish which list a purchase came from.

3. Phone Numbers:

Assign a different phone number to each list in your campaign. If you choose this method, make sure that you have properly trained the person answering the phones to record from which line each call was received.

We all need a bit of help sometimes, and the internet is often our friend with all the answers. But there are times when even a “how-to” doesn’t make us completely proficient. If you still need help with your direct mail campaign, we’re ready to get our hands dirty. Contact ANS at to get started today.

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