Direct Mail, Mailing List, Marketing

Three Keys to Make You a Direct Mail Marketing Master

When the Rubik’s cube was first created in 1974 by Hungarian architect and professor Erno Rubik, it took the creator over a month to solve the colorful puzzle. The cube, as we know it today, is made up of nine colored squares on each of its six sides. For those who have attempted to solve it, the more you work to gather the like colors on each side (the objective of the puzzle), the more mixed up it seems to get. With it’s 54 individual squares, it can be arranged in more than 43 quintillion ways—that’s over 43,000,000,000,000,000,000 options.

While seemingly impossible, current masters of the Rubik’s cube can solve the cube at astonishing speeds (below is a little clip of the world record time—it’s fast). In a range from those who never quite figure it out to those who can complete it in only seconds, there are other Rubik’s cube solvers in the middle. They may take minutes to hours to complete the task. Likewise, a business’ proficiency in direct mail marketing can vary greatly. Some will attempt to do it on their own, struggling to ever see fruits from the promising marketing channel. Others are masters at the marketing art.

At ANS, we consider ourselves direct mail marketing masters. With over 20 years of experience, we know how to use direct mail efficiently and with a strong financial return. Here are three key practices to become a direct mail marketing master.

1.   Don’t assume you know your customers 

It’s easy to assume we know who our customers are. Often, we base these assumptions around our product or service’s characteristics and envision who we believe would use them. These postulations are often inaccurate, or at least incomplete. Before beginning a direct mail campaign, it is critical to use your existing customer data to produce a clear picture of who is using your product.

At ANS, we provide a service called a Customer Profile Report. In this report, we analyze each characteristic of your current customer and find the above-average commonalities among them. With this information, we can then supplement these contacts with additional individuals who mirror your model list. Who does this mean for you? (1) You know exactly who your customers are, including demographic information and hobbies and interests; and (2) You get a list of individuals that are most likely to open up your offer when they take it from the mailbox.

2.  Choose the right data source

How many times have you open your home’s mailbox and found a collection of uninteresting and irrelevant offers? If you’re wondering, “Why on earth did they send that to me?”, chances are their data lacked the customization to reach the right recipients. A good data provider will provide highly customized, accurate, and up-to-date leads.

When we work with our customers, we use the information gleaned from their Customer Profile Report to customize the data to only include those that meet the characteristics identified in the report. Our customized approach to data means that you avoid wasting money sending to uninterested individuals, ensuring a higher return on investment. You like to save money, right?

Direct mail checklist

3.  Know what worked well

The final practice that will get you well on your way to “master” status is tracking your direct mail response rates. Understanding which campaigns, characteristic selections, and mail pieces generated the best responses sets the stage for future campaign success. While response tracking takes planning, it is simple to execute. Here are three of the best ways to track your campaign results:

a. Key Codes:

Key codes are a unique series of numbers and letters designed to distinguish one campaign list from another. That way, if you are testing multiple customer lists, who know which produced a higher response rate. The way you implement keycodes can differ offer to offer. For an offer redeemable online, you can use a registration or coupon code. If you promoted an event, then the offer can be redeemed by bringing in the actual mail piece.

b. Landing Page Links:

Unique landing page links are another option for online offers. Instead of providing a unique keycode, you can include unique URLs for each campaign segment and track the click-through rate and conversion rate for each URL.

c. Phone Numbers:

Lastly, if you have multiple phone numbers for your business, you can assign alternative phone numbers to different campaigns. While this a very straightforward tracking method in concept, it requires that the individual answering phones be diligent in recording which line the call came from.

If you took a moment to watch the world record video above, you might (incorrectly) believe that becoming a Rubik’s cube master is a simple task—the individual makes it look almost effortless. While anything is possible, sometimes the best option is to leave it to the masters. If you’d like to see the success you want on your next direct mail campaign the easy way, let ANS put our years of experience to work for you. Contact ANS at to get started today.

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