From the title of this blog post, it would seem like we’re trying to put ourselves out of business. We haven’t lost our minds. Direct mail marketing is not a waste of money.

Bad direct mail marketing is a HUGE waste of money.

Here are the top 5 ways to throw your money in the garbage:

  1. Try to appeal to everyone.

How many postcards from cable or satellite television providers have you received that try to entice you with movie packages … by showing you images from so-called “popular” movies you hate? They can afford to cast a wide net like that because they have lots of money to burn.

You, on the other hand, have to be more strategic. If you sell books and your most frequent customers are middle-aged women, ditch those references to books in the Twilight genre. Reach the teenage vampire heartthrob lovers in a different campaign.

  1. Include as much information about your products as possible.

Want to make people toss your piece in record time? Give them lots and lots of information to process. There are few things that turn people off more when they’re sifting through their mail than long lists with a dozen tiny pictures to squint at.

Are you selling carpet? It might be tempting to show off eight beautiful living rooms with your carpet on the floors, captions and descriptions to boot. Too much information. Choose one, maybe two photos. Let the prospect’s imagination do the rest.

  1. Don’t offer anything special.

Never be concerned that if you offer a discount that too many people will use it and you’ll lose money. Instead, make sure your offer isn’t so weak that no one will take you up on it. You are trying to reel in customers that don’t already have a relationship with you. Give them a reason to check you out.

Make the piece special or it might as well be landfill. “Bring in this postcard by (date) for 20% off” will produce a much stronger motivation to act than “Come in anytime and get the same fair pricing everyone gets.”

  1. Don’t put anything but the recipient’s address on one side.

Think, how do mail carriers know what goes where? Why, by looking at the address, of course. Address-side up, it goes into the mailbox. And address-side up, it goes in the trash. That is, unless you begin your appeal on the address side of the postcard!

Make part of the graphic appear on the front to make the recipient curious. Selling vacuum cleaners and want to show the tremendous sucking power of your product? Display just the edge of the classic dirt pile on the address side and tell your prospect to “Flip to clean.” Neat freaks will turn it over every time.

  1. Do the same thing every time.

There’s no reason to alter a campaign that worked well last time, right?

Oh … so, so wrong. Last time it was intriguing. This time it’s already beating a dead horse. If you’re using the same floral arrangement to sell your florist services every holiday, save your money this season. Hire a photographer before you accomplish nothing but adding more glossy paper to the local dump.

Avoid these advertising crimes and you’ll see a much better return on your direct mail marketing dollar. Let us know what questions you have by clicking or tapping here.

Or maybe send us a postcard?