How to create successful mailings

A letterbox{{}}Good mailings can help to boost immediate sales but great mailshots can help you understand your customers and develop lasting relationships

Direct mail is a key marketing tool that enables many businesses to generate sales with the people who are most likely to want their products. But the success of a mail campaign should not be measured solely in terms of immediate sales.

A mailshot also enables you to generate enquiries, find out more about potential customers and cement relationships with people who already buy from you. Keeping multiple objectives in mind will help you more effectively use direct mailing to grow sales and develop your business.

Successful direct mail campaigns

A successful mailing campaign is, broadly, one that pays for itself. It is also one that meets objectives you have defined at the outset. You could be measuring success in a number of ways - total revenue generated, number of sales, response rate (typically 7% of recipients respond), information gathered and so on.

Even if you don't meet your targets for revenue or number of sales, you can still gather worthwhile customer information. For example, you may have set yourself targets of 400 sales and £4,000 in revenue; but your campaign creates 500 sales for just £3,000 income. You have only hit one of your targets, but you have two valuable pieces of data:

  1. 500 people are interested in your products
  2. These people are mainly interested in your lower-value products.

With this information alone, you can plan your next mailing campaign, which specifically targets these 500 customers with lower-value products.

Customer knowledge

Ideally, though, you will want to know more about your customers than this. For example, is it new customers who have responded or old ones? What parts of the offer have they responded to? Who has spent more?

Every direct mailing gives you the opportunity to find out more about your customers, whether via recording this kind of information, inviting customers to fill out a simple questionnaire or gathering contact information for a follow-up phone survey.

This increased customer knowledge will help you segment your database, build customer profiles and target groups of customers with highly specific mailings which are likely to produce a higher response rate. This in turn will mean that your direct mail campaigns become even more cost-effective and useful.

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