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Sizing Up Your First Time Direct Mail Marketing Campaign

Posted by Brian Berg Google+


For small businesses planning their first direct mail marketing campaign, I’ve detailed an important point for every business to consider when launching their first mailing.  I write this because far too often we will get requests for a highly targeted list, but the mail quantity is so small (or their direct marketing budget is so small), there response rate will simply not provide enough intelligence to draw any valid conclusions.


Many first time mailers see the direct mail advertising medium as a possible lead generation program for their sales reps.  This is a true and accurate assumption.  It's also one which, if done properly, can provide measure and predictable response.  However, for some businesses, a properly orchestrated direct mail marketing campaign costs more than they are able to commit. 


My recommendation is that you do not attempt a direct mail marketing campaign unless you can afford to properly do so. Any experienced mailer knows that if you mail a statistically valid sample sized direct mail campaign, your continuation mail campaign will achieve the same results. 


That is, mailing 5,000 or more post cards will tell you the response rate of a future mailing to the same audience with the same offer.  You need to mail at least 5,000 pieces, at a minimum, to learn something about this audience and their response behavior.  You need to get a lot of response to make any intelligent decisions. 


A campaign of 5,000 pieces or more is traditionally a minimum acceptable test quantity.  If you do get a 1.75% response from your first direct mail marketing campaign and then mail to the rest of the available records, you’ll very likely get 1.75% response from that campaign too.  That’s the beauty of this advertising medium. For a number of reasons, direct email marketing requires an even greater sized campaign. 


I would put your email test threshold at 50,000 emails or greater.  You want to be sure you’re getting enough email “opens” to measure the Subject Line response AND the HTML body content.  You simply need more to mail more.


So, if you’re planning to mail 1,000 postcards because you cannot afford more, there’s a good chance your response of those 1,000 will not match your second or third mailing.  You may get a better or worse response.  Direct mail marketing is all about measurement.  Advertising is all about measurement. 


Marketing is all about measurement. If you’d like help with your next direct mail marketing campaign, call your friendly BB Direct Account Executive to discuss how you can make improvements to your direct marketing launch.