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  • Writer's pictureJessica Lovejoy

The 10 Most Common Direct Mail Mistakes ... And How To Avoid Them

Direct mail campaigns can be one of the most successful marketing outreach efforts for companies looking to increase their sales. For small and medium-sized companies, direct mail is one of the most affordable marketing initiatives. With the right materials and by partnering with an experienced mailing agency, many businesses see a significant spike in their response rates and revenue.

Let’s take a look at 10 of the most common mistakes that are made when putting together your direct mail campaign, and how you can avoid them.

1. The Data

There are many elements to consider when building a direct mail campaign, but having quality data is paramount. Blasting recipients from a list will not often represent your target audience, but with the right data and address verification systems in place, your mailings can be targeted and more effective—resulting in higher-quality conversions.

Our team gains the most updated and relevant data with a multi-step process. We use the most recent data from the industry’s best sources to locate addresses for use in your campaign. This, alone, is a tremendous expense and effort if firms attempt to do it themselves. We have refined our address verification processes for over a decade to get this part right. We take steps like checking for possible name conflicts within the same area and verifying every recipient against the National Change of Address (NCOA) registry. Finally, we track the deliverability of every piece we send at no additional cost. Due to all of these steps, we can guarantee that your campaign will have a low return mail rate of under 10%.

Our team of data and development experts have created connections to courthouses and other public records sources all across the United States. We operate at a pace and scale that few legal records providers have even attempted, let alone matched.

2. The Copy

The copy or copywriting is perhaps the most important part of the direct mail campaign. It needs to be engaging, motivational, and to the point. The focus shouldn’t solely be on the design itself, nor should it be the entirety of your brand. A good mailing agency will have a professional designer in-house that can craft a powerful message for your business. Your copy should be a supplement to your sales material that answers questions that offers solutions and helps you convert leads into customers.

3. No Call to Action

If a customer is going to purchase a product or service, they want a call to action. They want to know what to do next. If they don’t have a clear path, why would they take the time to respond? One of the strongest call-to-action is a phone number. That gives your potential client a clean-cut path to contact your business – and for your business to retain that customer.

4. Not Testing Your Material

It’s easy to assume that because you have done this for years, that you are best suited to create direct mail campaigns. While this is sometimes true, there are many factors that can influence the success of your direct mail software program. Experience doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the best-performing software or the ideal set of templates – so it’s important to do some testing on your own before you invest in a mailing program. Get a professional perspective on what works and what doesn’t.

At Key Dynamics, we consistently test our campaigns in order to deliver a high return for our clients. Our practices have adjusted over the years, but we do not stay complacent. Key Dynamics uses multiple campaign efforts to test and we share the insights so our clients know their results.

5. Starting with the Product, not the Prospect

No one ever purchases something because of the product, they do so because of the prospect. They are interested in themselves and the prospect of how your product or service can change their life. At the end of the day, you are selling a product or service and that’s what needs to be on your mind when creating your mailer – grab their attention and make an emotional connection.

6. Poor Follow-Up

Direct mail is designed to convert leads into customers with a single touchpoint. You want to make sure that the copy on your direct mail message is converting your leads into customers. That means you need to practice great follow-up! A direct mail campaign will fail if you don’t get a callback, so make sure that every direct mail marketing communication does.

Our campaigns focus on the prospect calling our clients and with that, we use a 24/7 call center to help our clients connect with every prospective client at any time of the day. So, when our clients are unavailable, they will receive a detailed message of who called, why they called, and provide the opportunity to make the sale.

7. Personalization

If you’re about to start your first direct mail campaign, you may be unaware that each piece of mailable content can be personalized with digitized mail merges. This appears as if each letter is personalized and in some cases, hand-signed by you. In reality, there is a rules-based engine that keeps your mailers targeted and personalized. No one appreciates receiving a mailer they believe is spam, and with the right direct mail campaign, no mailer will ever be presented as such.

8. Mailing Frequency

If you are mailing once every two weeks and sending mailers in batches, that lack of real-time delivery can hurt your response rates. Mailing frequency for our clients is dependent on the data. This means we are sending on behalf of our clients daily, and that’s referring to new prospects to our clients. We offer different ways to send follow-up direct mail for our clients and recommend this based on their campaign objectives.

9. Not using a letter in your mailing package

One of the most effective means of getting a customer to respond is to send them a personalized letter. Don’t be convinced that in this day and age everyone sees direct mail as a nuisance and that they will only open it if they get something for free – that’s simply not true anymore!

Why do letters pull so well? Because a letter creates the illusion of personal communication. We are trained to view letters as “real” mail, postcards as “advertising.” Which is more important to you?

10. Making sure you're reachable

Your company or organization needs to have a telephone number, e-mail address, and website (or Facebook page) so that customers can communicate with you. Don’t be afraid to spend a small amount on creating and maintaining an effective web presence – today that’s the norm, not the exception. A web presence acts as your business’s storefront.

When creating campaigns for our clients, we walk through this list to make sure everything is fit to bring the best ROI. We make sure their direct mail campaigns will be best suited for their target market and what our clients are looking to gain. Our team continues to test our process and provide our clients with some of the highest returns and consistent flow of prospects.


Want to learn more about our targeted direct mail campaigns? Give us a call today at (888) 855-0402. At Key Dynamics, we welcome any feedback, advice, or business consultation our clients may have. Our dedicated team is always available to answer any questions you may have. Drop us a line:

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