Unless you’re in Congress, direct mail can get costly, especially if you like to send lavishly illustrated brochures and high-gloss promotional materials. You don’t have to scale back to black and white postcards to save money, though. With careful attention to postage rates and clean, effective direct mail lists, you can maximize your impact at a minimal cost.
1. Double up on mailings. Unless you’re mailing single items such as postcards, it’s rarely cost-effective to send materials separately. By including response cards, leaflets, service menus and other promotional items with essentials such as invoices and receipts, you get your message to your customers for considerably lower postage fees. Familiarize yourself with postage costs and choose mailers that let you include multiple items for a single flat fee. Flat-rate mailing is a big money-saver if you bundle materials in one envelope.
2. Go digital. Costly four-color brochures look slick, but the response they draw may not justify the expense. When you choose digital printing over offset printing, you get a far faster turnaround time, identical prints, greater customization options and lower costs. What’s not to love? As a bonus, you can personalize digital printing as a print run happens with variable data printing. This option lets you address your prospects personally and turns a mass mailing into a customized message. Because you control the size of the run, digital printing is also ideal for another key money-saver: test marketing.
3. Make good use of test marketing and A/B splits. While it might not seem like a cost-effective move to test different marketing campaigns – you’ll incur slightly higher initial costs to develop and print two different sets of promotional materials, after all – the knowledge you gain for future campaigns is beyond price. Your direct mail marketing provider can walk you through the process from developing unique content to breaking out which split goes where to analyzing the data the test marketing produces.
4. Be more efficient with list rentals. To reduce your cost per thousand, negotiate multi-use volume deals with your suppliers instead of placing single list orders. And mail more frequently to lower the cost. Additional savings can be realized through licensing arrangements. Finally, you can increase your buying power by using a single, all-purpose vendor.
5. Keep your house lists clean. Every item that goes to a bad address or fails to reach a customer who may be eagerly awaiting it is wasted money. It isn’t only wasted for you, either; the U.S. Postal Service also bears the cost of undeliverable mail that winds up in a dead-letter office or comes back to you. To encourage you to use clean, viable lists for mass mailings, the USPS offers bulk discounts when mail goes through the appropriate address verification process.
With the money you save on postage, printing and future marketing campaigns, you can invest in widening your net and reaching new prospects.
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