Direct mail campaigns can generate leads, sell via mail order, or announce new products, services and special promotions. Many successful campaigns work in concert with websites and social media, not in lieu of them. While the Internet offers interactivity and the ability to change your message as often as you’d like without incurring the additional print expense, direct mail continues to be physical and tactile. This attribute can grab attention in ways that web-based advertising cannot.

Direct mail can take on countless formats. You may select something as simple as a postcard with an attention-grabbing headline and single call to action, or you may opt for specialised packaging to create a “wow” factor for the recipient. Imagine the local restaurant delivering its message in something that looks like a takeaway bag! That’s a message and medium that can only be delivered via direct mail.

As with all advertising, first you must determine what you want to achieve. Without defining your objectives at the start, your efforts are likely to fall flat no matter how you choose to advertise. Your goal usually defines the best medium and the right message. For example, if you’re launching a new website and your goal is to increase its traffic, a postcard might be the most cost-effective and best solution. On the other hand, if you’re a non-profit organisation faced with a fund-raising campaign, that approach won’t work. You’ll need a much longer letter to plead your case along with a return mail device for donations.

Once you know your advertising objective and have a sense of the best format to use, you’re ready to go, right? Wrong. Before you begin the copy and design phase, you should secure your mailing list. Too many companies run headlong into creating their direct mail pieces before knowing their audience. What’s worse, failing to have your list in place at the start can lead to production delays and extra costs.

One of the real benefits of direct mail advertising is the ability to really target your message to a specific audience. A targeted message is one that gets attention.

Your mailing list will help you reach exactly the readers who will respond to your offer, which is the point of your efforts in the first place! Lists can be sorted and purchased based on numerous demographic and psychographic data. There’s no point in advertising home improvement services to apartment dwellers, and vegetarians won’t have any interest in the barbeque restaurant that opened in the neighbourhood.

Direct mail is not dead. Once you’ve got the right message, medium and mailing list, you can create a successful campaign. At Jaffa, we understand the process and can help you avoid the pitfalls so your advertising efforts hit the mark and create the results you’re looking for.