1) You’re doing it all yourself.

I know what you’re thinking – “Of course a print marketing company is going to tell me I should be using a print marketing company for my direct mail.” Well, that’s true. But we’ve seen many of our clients who want to do it all themselves. Sometimes the cost is a little cheaper than having a company help out. More often than not, though, these clients aren’t considering their own worth. While you may see your time as free, any time you spend on a mailing is time you could be working on moving your company forward. Additionally, there’s a lot of benefit to working with someone who has experience with mailing. We may be able to save you money on postage, for example, or offer insight into best practices when it comes to the mailing you’re trying to do. After all, this is what we do for a living.

2) You’re not trying new things.

We’ve all heard the phrase – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But if you’re only doing one thing, how do you know it’s not broke? This applies to your direct mail marketing as well. If you’ve mailed postcards for years, and you’re getting a .5% response and converting around .2%, why should you test something new? Well, what if a letter in an envelope got you a 1% response rate? And better yet, what if you filtered your data a little differently, so that you were able to convert higher? Our most successful clients are open to testing new things on a regular basis. Even if you’ve got something great, there’s always the potential for something better. Read more about why you should be testing here. (Hyperlink to test blog post)

3) You’re just sending mail.

This may sound a little odd coming from a company that handles a lot of print production work, but our goal is to work with our clients to help them succeed, not make as much money as we can until they go out of business. So that’s why we understand the importance of supplemental marketing methods. We believe in mail, and it can work really well for your business. But so can email, and social media, and telemarketing, and good ol’ fashioned business cards tacked to a restaurant bulletin board. The more touchpoints you can find for your audience, the better your chances of success. Mail them. Call them. Stalk them on Facebook (just kidding, don’t do that). The more they see you, the better chance they’ll decide you’re worth their attention.

4) You aren’t taking full advantage of your data.

I didn’t have any experience with print or mail before I started working for Fraga Graphic Solutions. I was amazed to learn about the magic that is variable data printing. Most mailers feature the bare minimum – first, last, address, city, state, zip. That’s all you need to get from point A to point B. But what if you got a mailer from your favorite store with a photo of that shirt you almost bought a week or two ago? Or a credit card offer that tells you how much money you can save by transferring your existing balance to their limited time 0% APR card? Buying the right data and using it in the right way can transform any mail campaign from a non-starter to an all-star, almost immediately.

5) You aren’t using a unique identifier.

While this isn’t as pertinent in smaller mailings, it’s a smart move to structure even your smallest mailings in a way that you can scale them if they’re performing well. A unique identifier can have any number of names – ID, eligibility number, coupon code, reference code, so on and so forth. Whatever you choose to call it, it’s important to have a unique value tied to every record so that you know exactly who is responding and converting. Unique identifiers allow you to look up information, track contact/response, and perform in-depth analysis that will make or break your marketing strategy.

6) Your offer doesn’t speak to your audience.

If you want your mailing campaigns to succeed, it’s important to have an offer that appeals to your audience. You see this all the time with credit cards, insurance, etc. The most successful campaigns are the ones that offer something that none of their competitors are offering. As an example, if you receive 3 mailers from insurance companies offering free quotes, but one insurance company is offering reduced rates – which sounds more appealing? By offering something different from the competition, you immediately catch the recipient’s attention and increase the likelihood that they’ll contact you.


We like to give credit where credit is due. Featured photo from Mathyas Kurmann.

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