direct mail servicesDirect mail is a tough means of marketing to master, and many fulfillment companies have burned the midnight oil trying to get their direct mail copy, graphic content, and mail packaging structure right so they appeal to audiences.

But more importantly, there are some mistakes to avoid, and doing so can save you time and money while making your business more successful.

Below are six of the most common mistakes that you need to avoid in your direct mail marketing activities, especially if you’re a rookie to the field:

1. The List

Many professionals have noted that as good as your designs and mail copy are, the key factor in determining your direct mail’s success is the mailing list. Your lists, particularly your house lists, will fail to generate a response if they aren’t regularly updated with the correct customer information. You have to keep your lists up-to-date and ensure their information is correct.

2. No Testing

You can’t just create a nice-looking piece of direct mail and throw it into the mailbox, hoping it will appeal to the public. Rather, you have to have two or three pieces tested together and measure the results to see which ones will be the most successful; this will make future campaigns and concepts stronger.

3. Rushing through Work

You can’t rush through your work, including the creation of your direct mail. Poorly composed mail pieces show their flaws easily, usually in the form of bad grammar and poor designs. Take your time creating your mail pieces, get a second set of eyes to examine them, and make sure they are 100% complete before they go out.

4. Not Knowing Your Audience

This one requires doing some homework. That’s because you have to create your mail pieces based on your audience’s demographics, including age, location, and interests. What products do they like? What services are they interested in? You have to offer them something they can’t get anywhere else via the best services possible.

5. Saving the Best for Last

Composition of your mail pieces is like a good book or film: it should build up to an effective climax. But that building process contains a narrative in which you want to have points of interest leading to the end. Consider this when writing your mail pieces based on the high points of the products. As you promote them, include, for example, offers and headings that will generate interest, followed by a final special promotion at the end. It’s said that you only have a few seconds to capture a reader’s attention before they toss a direct mail piece in the garbage, so you have to make every bit of copy count.

6. Poor Follow-Up

A great package can hook people, but you have to bring them in first. Make sure your direct mail includes phone numbers, e-mails, and other means of contacting your business so people can respond. Also don’t forget clear instructions about how they can get a hold of you or purchase your products. Someone who responds is a lead and their interest will wane pretty quickly if you don’t get back to them quickly. Ultimately, poor follow-ups will result in poor sales.

Direct mail services still have an influence over consumers, but it’s up to you to take advantage of that fact and not make the same mistakes others have. But once you do, you will see your direct mail campaigns improve.