√ Checklist: 5 Reasons Your Direct Mail Piece Sucks

It should come as no surprise that Direct Mail is an awesome way to build your business. It has particular benefits for when you’re just starting out. Your audience on social media hasn’t grown yet, your brand awareness is near zero, and you probably don’t have much for an email marketing list, but you can blast out a targeted campaign to everyone in your area without them having to do anything.

Problem solved, right? Not so fast. Chances are there are some critical points you’re missing that make your direct mail piece suck.

1. It Doesn’t Stand Out

What do you do when you open your mailbox? That’s right, you sift through all the junk mail you got from your dentist, the gym down the street, and that insurance agent you went to high school with who keeps calling you all the time. Creepy.

That’s exactly what your potential customers will be doing as well when your direct mail piece winds up in their mailbox. Most of them will just trash it. That’s a given. If you’re lucky they’ll recycle (which will cleanse your conscience a bit, I’m sure). But if you want them to act on your call to action, they have to hold onto it first.

2. Your Call to Action Sucks

People are used to seeing this kind of stuff in the mail all the time. “Buy One Get One Free!” “Sign Up Today!” “Buy this Iguana!” All of these offers make consumers numb to most forms of call to action (which is one reason why CTAs don’t usually work).

The solution is to be specific. Are you a restaurant? Offer a free appetizer. A specific appetizer. I like chicken wings, so there’s a thought. But regardless of what you offer them, make sure it’s not going to hit their eye balls and bounce right off.

3. You Missed Your Target

You can send out 20,000 mailers and get zero percent return. Or you can send out a pinpointed batch of 2,000 and make bank. You have to choose your target area to blast your campaign wisely, or else direct mail will just be a waste of money.

Start with where your existing clients already live. If you don’t have that data, get it. “That’s creepy,” you say? Yes. Yes it is. But you’re not in business to make people comfortable (unless you sell furniture). You want them to be on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next big thing your business has to offer. 

4. You Went for the Whole Enchilada

There’s a reason why your mouth is only so big. The same applies to direct mail. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Or an all you can eat chicken wing contest. Okay, I guess I’m hungry right now.

The point is, you have to stay focused on what your goal for the campaign actually is. You don’t want to split people’s attention with too many messages. If you have a simple offer and call to action, everything else comes second. That includes social media. All you need is the little icon, you don’t need a paragraph of why they should like and follow and subscribe to your page. They’ll get lost.

5. You Thought it Would Work the First Time

Two words: Brand awareness. If you think that your first direct mail campaign is going to go gangbusters, be prepared for what I’m about to say. For greater results — or any results at all, really — you will need to send out a series of direct mail campaigns. It’s never one and done.

People will forget they got your mailer. They will say to themselves they’re going to act on it, but they forget. Especially if you had a time-restricted offer in your piece, they might just say ‘screw it’ when they realize they were too slow to act. So remind them. Building awareness of who you are and what you do has to come first.


It’s not every day you get some awesome Ninja Marketing advice. Unless you like our Facebook page of course!

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