How Direct Mail Really Works

Direct mail is one of the most reliable and effective media you can use – whether you are marketing a product, a service or a brand – whether you're marketing business-to-consumer or business-to business.

Direct mail allows you to send targeted communications in a relevant, one-to-one method that conveys the individualized benefits of your product, service or brand to specific, targeted audiences. You can use direct mail to generate sales leads, develop your corporate image, educate customers, create brand preference, introduce new products or even promote your Web site.

The real power of direct mail goes even further. Direct mail gives you the ability to initiate and nurture relationships with your customers that turn a single sale into an ongoing "reciprocal" partnership.

In fact direct mail was the first marketing media to ask customers what they want and respond. Through direct mail, your customers can get to know you and give you the knowledge you need to meet their specific needs. And that builds relationships and sales.

So, how does successful direct mail work? While there are a number of basic rules you should know about (see How To Make Direct Mail Work For You) there are four fundamentals that are proven direct mail success builders:


  1. CONCENTRATE ON THE CUSTOMER. The most important part of successful direct marketing is the importance of the role of the customer and your role of listening to that customer and responding. By listening to your customers' responses (their needs and wants) you have the chance to offer them what they want – from the first sale to the one millionth.


  1. MANAGE THE RELATIONSHIP. Direct mail is built on building and maintaining the customer relationship. With the right customer database in place, you can use this knowledge to develop personalized and targeted marketing communications that build these customer relationships over the long term.


  1. MAINTAIN CREATIVE INTERACTION. Once you have established a dialogue with your customer though prospecting efforts, it is essential to continue to interact in a positive and consistent way. By constantly measuring response and listening to your customers, you have the chance to know what pleases a specific group of customers and, most important craft messages and offers that will add value and enhance success.


  1. PROVIDE EXCEPTIONAL VALUE. Giving value they can trust is vital to the long-term value of each customer. Smart direct marketers invest in the prospect or customer by providing outstanding value and service.
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