Tips to Build a Strong Direct Mail Database
By Bill Nee
Direct mail has been hailed as a great marketing tool to reach new customers, but those customers don’t come out of nowhere. You have to build a direct mail database before your marketing messages can be sent. Some companies make the mistake of putting all their efforts into their marketing materials, when in fact, who you target is just as important, if not more! Here are tips to build a strong direct mail database.
Know Your Target Demographics
Before you build your direct mail database, you’ll need to learn your target demographics and psychographics.
Demographics can be: age, gender, ethnicity, location, marital status, education level, income and occupation.
Psychographics can be: interests, hobbies, lifestyle, attitudes, etc.
How do you figure out your target market?
- Look at your current customers. Try to find threads of commonality in demographics and interests.
- Look at your competition. Find out who they’re advertising to and determine niches within that market they may have overlooked.
- Make a list of the benefits of your product or service. See if you can narrow down who your product or service will most appeal to.
- Determine your geographic scope. How far in your area do you want to reach out? You can advertise on any scale from local to county to state to national depending on your company and budget.
- Use trade journals specific to your industry for insights on industry consumers. Likely, your industry has already done their research on target customers and their behaviors, so why not use these very valuable insights?
Through research and surveys you can determine your target audience’s demographics and psychographics. You can hire outside companies to conduct surveys or you can conduct them yourself. Here are some tips on creating an effective survey.
Once you’ve identified your target market, you’re ready to build your mailing list.
Building Your Direct Mail Database
There are two ways to build a direct mail database: encourage customers to sign up and/or buy a mailing list.
- Use promotions, newsletters and incentives to encourage people to sign up for your mailing list. By offering a free product, service, or a sizable discount, you can gather information for your direct mail campaigns. The quality of your list matters. Gather information including, name, gender and mailing address at minimum. If you can collect demographic information, that’s even better but be aware that the longer the form to fill out, the less likely a person is to complete it.
- Purchase mailing lists. There are two types of mailing lists: compiled and direct response. A compiled list is usually pulled by geographic area and can be segmented by demographics, income etc. A direct response list is a list made up of people who’ve responded to direct marketing in the past (whether direct mail, infomercials, etc.)
You can purchase mailing lists from direct mail companies like Preferred Direct. Click here to learn more about Preferred Direct’s mailing lists.
Analyze your Database to Create a Better Campaign
Once you’ve created your direct mail database, how can you use your database effectively? Analyze it! Here are a few tips to utilize your database to identify better with your prospective or current customers and get better return on your investment:
- Analyze Demographics. Are the people in your database wealthier or more modest? What age range? Do they have children? What’s their ethnicity? When you create your direct mail fliers/postcards/mailers, choose images that appeal to their particular lifestyle. For example, if your list is mostly females with children, make sure any photos or images you use include this.
- Analyze Geographic Data. Where do the people in your database live? Do they live in urban, suburban or rural areas? Is there anything major in their local or state environments that you can mention that will help them connect with you? Use photos that reflect geographic region and lifestyle.
You can find ways to connect to the people in your database by appealing to them through database analysis. This makes your database work harder and better for you. When you are creating your direct mail piece, keep in mind opportunities for variable data. Variable data means you can print different offers, incentives or information for different demographics or psychographics.
Do you need help creating your direct mail database? Preferred Direct is a commercial printer and direct mail company that can help you put together your mailing lists, and complete the direct mail process from start to finish. Click here to learn about Preferred Direct’s direct mail services.
At Preferred Direct, we make sure to keep your cost down. You will have a project manager who keeps your print jobs on track. Our project managers stay on top of your print jobs and can answer any questions you have along the way. We even provide emergency print services for those fast approaching deadlines. We also provide tracking so you can be assured that your shipment is arriving in a timely manner. One of our printers is the Xerox Impika®, a top-of-the-line machine that prints quality materials fast, ultimately saving you time and money. When choosing a commercial printing company, you can count on Preferred Direct to be cost effective, speedy, and customer-friendly.
Call us toll-free today at 1-844-719-1848 or click here for an online quote.
Sources: crmtrends.com, wikihow.com, sageagestrategies.com, inc.com, smallbusiness.chron.com