What Are the Common Challenges of Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns?

Direct mail is still a thing, and it's actually pretty effective. In fact, it boasted the highest ROI of any channel in last year's ANA report, more than email, social media, or paid search. But, as with any campaign, it's important to understand and prepare for some of the common hurdles associated with direct mail campaigns. This guide will give you the practical tools to tackle consumer data, postage rates, and paper expenses so that you can run a first-class (or third-class) direct mail campaign.

Read more about the rise of direct mail campaigns in 2023.

Building Your Direct Mail List

If you're starting from ground zero, you'll need to invest in data before you invest in your campaign. While lists can be rented per campaign, building your own can carry several benefits, including more accurate targeting and long-term savings. Here's how you can start building your own direct mailing list:

  • Use existing customer data: Businesses that ship physical products or offer home services can use existing customer address data as a starting point for their list. Additionally, you collect new addresses for current or prospective customers through opt-ins on your website or email list.

  • Tap into external sources: Various mailing list websites and data providers offer addresses for purchase, with the option to sort by demographic categories like location, household income, age, education, and more. From there, you can continue to refine your list by response rate.

  • Try EDDM: With Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), businesses can send mailers to every address in a specific neighborhood, eliminating the need for a mailing list. This approach can be particularly effective for local businesses seeking to build brand awareness in their community. However, because of its untargeted, blanket approach, EDDM typically generates lower response rates.

Postage Rates

Postage can be one of the largest expenses in your direct mail campaign's budget and one of the most difficult to forecast. The USPS increases postage rates as often as twice per year, and prices can vary based on mail size, weight, and class. Here's how you can plan for and minimize your mailing costs:

  • Review rates: Regularly review the USPS website to stay updated on changes and budget for unexpected price hikes.

  • Use Marketing Mail: We recommend taking advantage of The USPS' Marketing Mail (also called Standard Mail) program, which offers discounted rates for bulk shipments of letters, flats, and parcels. While this method is subject to longer delivery times than First-Class Mail, you can plan for and preempt delays using The USPS' real-time tracker.

  • Consider commingling: For further discounts, try commingling: combining smaller mailings from various companies into a single, larger mailing. This method can also reduce delivery times, with the consolidated mail moving more efficiently through the postal system.

Paper Prices

  • Bulk purchasing: Like postage, purchasing paper in bulk can lead to substantial savings. Collaborate with reputable suppliers to negotiate the best rates, or consider working with a printing service.

  • Material alternatives: Experimenting with different paper weights and finishes can help you strike a balance between cost and quality. Besides being an eco-friendly choice, recycled paper often comes at a lower price point without compromising on quality.

Every direct mail campaign comes with a unique set of challenges. But by arming yourself with a robust foundation of data, preempting postage rate changes, and optimizing your mail design, you can avoid common hurdles and cash in on the channel's unparalleled ROI. Reach out to BMG360 to guide you through these barriers of entry.

Read more: How to Drive Direct Response in Offline Advertising