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Direct Mail Blunders

5 Direct Mail Blunders To Avoid

For the last 29 years we have worked with customers to send really good direct mail. Of course, during that time there have been some bombs for many different reasons. We have learned much more from the bombs than the great ones. Learning what avoid in direct mail is essential. So, we put our heads together to come up with this list of what direct mail blunders to avoid and keep you out of trouble. Let’s face it, some blunders can cost a lot of money.

Common Direct Mail Blunders:

  1. Lie: Your direct mail should never lie to people or as some people put it stretch the truth. Always be open and honest about your product or service. You may get a sale under false pretenses, but you will lose your reputation and business in the long run. Your customers and prospects expect better from you. There are plenty of ways to create direct mail that works without being shady.
  2. Font: The most important thing in your direct mail is the ability for your audience to read it. If they can’t read it they throw it away. When considering what font to use, make sure that it is easily read. Do not pick what you consider a fun and whimsical font; it makes your copy hard to read. Let your design and images do the eye catching work. Your copy’s job is to sell your product or service, not look decorative. Your font size matters too, so make it larger.
  3. Features: Do not focus your direct mail on features, no one cares. People buy based on benefits not features. All the latest gadgets mean nothing if they are of no benefit. Structure your copy so that you highlight all the benefits your customers and prospects are going to get when they buy your product or service. If you are having a hard time moving away from features, try listing the features on paper and next to each one list at least one benefit. For instance, if you are selling a vacuum cleaner a feature is the motor power, a benefit of a stronger motor is the amount of debris that can be picked up in a shorter amount of time. When you find the benefits and use them in your direct mail, you sell more.
  4. Old List: Old data is bad data. People and businesses move all the time. If you have a list that is 3 years or older without having ever been cleaned, don’t use it. Beyond the fact that addresses change, people and their circumstances change too. Sending to people who are not there or are no longer interested is a waste of money. There are ways you can clean it up, or you can purchase a new list of similar people. Keeping your data fresh means that you can correctly target the people most interested in your product or service.
  5. No or Unclear Call To Action: The whole point of sending direct mail is to get people to respond. If you don’t include a call to action where you tell them what you want them to do, they will not do it. Vague language and innuendo do not work either. A clear concise call to action is a must to drive response. It should stand out from the copy as well in bold big letters with a bright color. Make sure to give it an expiration date so people will feel compelled to act.

This list could really keep on going, but these are the top 5 we see frequently. Have you made any of these direct mail blunders or others? What else would you include in this list? We all make mistakes from time to time. The most important thing is to learn from them, to make your direct mail better. It’s time to make some great direct mail! Are you ready to get started?

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