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Is Direct Mail Right for You?

“Is Direct Mail Right for You?”

"After $310,000 down the drain and a few panic attacks, it became clear that direct mail was definitely not for me," says a former promoter of traditional back-pain aids.

The Connecticut-based firm made two fatal mistakes: saturating a broad market (assuming everyone has occasional back pain) and offering a tired product.

Before sinking money into a direct-mail campaign, make sure it’s suited to your product or service offerings.

Does your product:

  • Fill a real need?
  • Offer something unique?
  • Offer a good value?
  • Have a large market?
  • Have broad appeal?
  • Have a particularly strong attraction for smaller segments of your market?
  • Offer something new or something potential buyers will perceive as new?
  • Have enough unique selling features to make for interesting copy?
  • Offer a measure of prestige just by owning it?
  • Give you a true claim of exclusivity?
  • Hold up when compared to the competition (if any)?

If you answer "no" to even two of these questions, you may not be ready — or right — for direct mail. Warning: Don’t talk yourself into "yes" answers. That kind of denial could cost you money.

Tip: If you are ready for direct mail, never attempt to create the package in-house unless you have proven results.

Scout out a professional creative team that specializes in direct mail — they know what works and what doesn’t.

Writer: LeAnn Zotta is a strategic-marketing consultant in Yarmouthport, Mass. A former vp/creative director at a major direct-mail firm, she has created more than 150 such campaigns.