Are You Making These Direct Mail Mistakes?

Are You Making These Direct Mail Mistakes?

As a commercial printer that has helped out thousands of companies send out direct mail campaigns through our mailing department, we can often tell which ones are going to going to perform well and which ones aren’t. We’ve seen companies spend thousands of dollars in postage and printing but fail to spell-check the messaging. One time, a company put the wrong return address on their envelopes when collecting donations. These direct mail mistakes are usually small, but they add up quickly. When you make a little mistake on a campaign, this not only costs the company money initially. There is also no way of finding out the actual cost of the mistake when you take into account all the adverse effects.
However, besides checking the spelling of the piece, what other direct mail mistakes can you make?

Mistake #1: Poor Design

It should be no surprise that poor design is the biggest and most common direct mail mistake. There are two different design elements either you or your graphic designer can make.
One of the design elements that gets messed up the most is not complying with the USPS regulations. The USPS has a ton of strict regulations on direct mail. When you do not follow them, it can be very expensive for postage. Postage is always your biggest expense, but errors can create a really expensive problem. Some of the regulations include how you design your address. All of the different classes of mail (postcards, letters, envelopes, and parcels) have their own separate limitations. There are also folding specifications as well as the weight of the paper. Your best bet is to consult with the Colortech mailing team when you are designing to make sure you are meeting all the requirements before you print. This can save you a lot of money, especially when a design element is not mailable.

USPS Direct Mail Mistakes: Not following Regulations

The second design mistake you can make deals strictly with the content and layout. Almost on a weekly basis, we get sent artwork by clients that have pixelated images, don’t follow branding guidelines, and have confusing layouts. All of these can be avoided by either hiring a graphic designer who specializes in direct mail or by doing your research and looking at your competitor’s direct mail campaigns.

Mistake #2: No Clear Message

Design and messaging go hand-in-hand. Great design is only as good as the messaging. When it comes to direct mail mistakes, this is the second most common one we see. It is hard for a printer to truly analyze the messaging of the direct mail piece as we don’t know your goals. Your campaign is going to have a specific goal to it. Whether you’re a non-profit looking to raise more money or a service-based company looking to send your prospective customers a reason to choose you, the call to action is what your campaign boils down to. The call to action is ultimately what you want the customer to do. If you’re missing out on a solid call to action, you’ve just wasted time and money on your campaign. We recommend only having one call to action per mail piece.

Direct Mail Mistake #2: Having An Unclear Call To Action

Example of a direct mail piece with a clear, concise call to action.

Mistake #3: Lack of Planning

The last direct mail mistake you can make is a lack of planning. This not only applies to print pieces but throughout every marketing channel. If you don’t plan accordingly, this can be the most detrimental to your campaign. Unlike digital marketing when you can schedule out your campaign to the exact time, direct mail has some other variables you need to consider. These can include the actual printing time and the USPS delivery time. The USPS is generally pretty good with deadlines, but there are often delays, think days, from when the print piece gets dropped off at the post office. This can mean the time the USPS has to sort and organize the mail by zipcodes and inclement weather.
If you know you need to get your print piece in mailboxes a week before an event, this takes time and effort to get done correctly. We’ve seen clients come to us with a piece they want to get printed and shipped the next day. This not only brings additional stress onto you as a client but also significantly increases costs when there is a rush.

Helpful Hints

November 21, 2019

(3 min. read)