Direct Mail: Choosing the Best Service Provider for Your Campaign
When utilizing all the channels available to you in your Marketing Toolbox, one of the staples is, of course, Direct Mail. Often targeted as being too expensive or not having the impact it used to. But if done correctly, it is still one of the best ways to connect with your audience. Technology had provided a wealth of options is customization, relevancy, and targeting to make this channel not only viable, but one that should be on your short list.
We are often asked content, design, and best practices to make a campaigns successful. We have launched a Podcast about the tools and techniques of marketing and devoted an entire episode to Direct mail and Getting A Bigger Bang For Your Buck. You can download and listen to it at RecoveringMarketer.com/003 or in iTunes.
But before you launch any campaign, you want to make sure your business partner, that is the printer or mailing company you hire to manage this process has the necessary tolls in place to ensure your project not only launches properly, but has the knowledge to assist you in making it successful and profitable for you from start to finish.
Here is a list of 6 traits of a Direct Mail Provider (DMP) who can help you reach your audience, meet your goals and take you project to the next level.
- Goals: Do they have a clear understanding of what you are hoping to achieve from the project? Any DMP with a printing press and postal permit can produce a mailing, but one that takes a vested interest in what you are trying to accomplish will stand out over one that is just trying to feed their hungry equipment.
- Experience: A DMP that has printed and mailed work in your vertical or niche can provide options and ideas you might not have thought of. Producing thousands of campaigns over many years offers insight on successful projects as well those that missed the mark. Never underestimate the power of knowledge in marketing and never be afraid to ask questions. Maybe they can provide insight on content, timing, mailing list, even the size and design of the piece. Their expertise can add value to your audience and should be part of your over all strategy. Simply put, if they are good, they will learn from you, so be open to learn from them.
- Technology: Today’s printing and mailing processed can be very complicated and should be interactive. Ensure that the company not only has knowledge of the industry, but the available technology to bring your campaign every option for success. That could be printing on a Digital Press allowing for personalization to better target your message. The use of presort discounting practices to save on postage. The ability to track, time, and manage the mailing process. This can help in your response and follow-up to respondents.
- Process: Is there a process in ensuring a successful campaign? Can you see proofs, either digital or hard copy? Can they provide reporting of the mailing addresses, postage costs, and clear invoicing of services provided? If you need to show results, ask up front what can be provided. A good company has many tools that can give you the confidence that nothing is overlooked.
- Attention to details and overall responsiveness: Are they asking questions that will move the project forward? Do they communicate with a level that provides you the comfort that you are both on the same page? A minor misunderstanding or confusion can create an error all parties will regret, especially if the realization comes to life after the project has mailed. So always feel comfortable in asking along the way, and listen to their questions as that might show there is a disconnect that needs to be cleared-up.
- Pricing: Walt Disney one said, “I don’t make movies to make money, I make money so I can make more movies.” The cost of a project is often one of the biggest drivers of who wins business and who doesn’t. Make sure when you talk to DMP’s, is the value they are bring to the table worth the cost you are paying. It is true that the lowest price will often get that level of service, but over paying isn’t in your best interest either. Listen for those who talk about opportunities to reduce cost and increase inefficiencies. Talk opening about pricing and what you are getting in return for your dollar. The bottom line is you must have trust in your provider and the value they are offering for the cost.
The final though here is do they have an interest in your success and helping you grow your business.
It has always been my belief that if I help you be successful, you will most likely be back for the next project. Run from those only talking about cost and not about you long term strategy. Fro them it’s a transaction, but it should be about taking your marketing to the next level. Even something a simple as producing a mailing can have a huge impact on your audience’s perception of who you are. Make it as engaging as possible, and have fun!
Let me know your thoughts or other considerations you use when choosing a Direct Mail Service Provider.