Follow These Important Direct Mail Guidelines

There are a number of direct mail guidelines and best practices factors that should always be followed. Some business owners and inexperienced marketers are not aware of these factors. The guidelines and best practices should be followed closely if you want mailers that pop and sizzle. Use them to have a highly successful campaign without spending more than you want to.

The Type of Mail Being Sent Will Determine the Right Direct Mail Guidelines to Follow

The direct mail guidelines classify standard mail pieces into 4 different types. These are:

  • Cards
  • Letters
  • Flats
  • Irregulars and machine compatible parcels (this category is used for any mail that does not fit into the first three standard mail categories)

The minimum and maximum sizes and weights can be different for each of the 4 categories. In order to minimize your costs, it is important to know what the specifications are for the mailer that you have designed.

More Information is Almost Always Better

When you are designing your mailer, remember that consumers want as much information as possible, in as little time as possible. Keep the text manageable and the message on point. Give consumers the information they need. Answer the most common questions that they may have. Provide resources to help your recipients find additional information.

Use Clear Zones Properly

One part of the direct mail guidelines covers clear zones. You need to know what these are, and how they are used. Clear zones are areas on the mailing panel of your item. These zones cannot include certain elements. If the clear zones contain unacceptable elements, the Postal Service may return them, or charge more for postage costs.

Always Give the Recipient Choices on How to Respond

The direct mail guidelines and best practices also include advice on response methods. Offering more methods for the consumer to respond will help you increase the response rate that you see from your mailer. Each consumer is different, and may prefer to respond in a different way. Allow choices when it comes to responding, so that the consumer can use the method that they prefer.

The Right Size and Weight can Save on Postage

The direct mail guidelines cover the size and weight requirements for each type of mail and mailer classification. If your size or weight is even slightly off, then you could spend a lot more for postage than you actually need to. Taking the cost of postage for your mailer into consideration before printing can help your budget tremendously.

Mailers Must be Properly Sealed and Folded if Applicable

Another area of the direct mail guidelines covers folding and sealing. If you are sending mailers that fold, then these will need to be sealed. Seals are usually either a wafer seal or glue spots. This prevents the item from coming unfolded during the mailing process. It can eliminate the risk of damage to your item as it goes through the equipment and other processing steps.

Don’t Forget to Include a Printed Device for a Response

Following the best practices and direct mail guidelines means making sure that you include a printed device that the recipient can use to respond to your mailer. You may still offer other response options, such as email or website response. However, many people still prefer to use a physical printed form to provide a response. Not including this may mean no response from some recipients.

An Expiration Date for Your Offer is Critical

Never use an open ended offer. When using an offer that doesn’t expire, it is very difficult to track the results. Consumers will not feel any pressure to respond right away. An expiration date, or offer deadline, shows the recipient that they must act now. It tells them the offer will not be valid if they decide to act in the future. A deadline motivates recipients to respond right away.

Engaging and Informative Headlines are Essential

The headlines that you use will help determine how successful your mailers are. You want to come up with headlines that engage the reader. Headlines should use carefully selected keywords that make it possible to skim your material quickly. Remember that consumers have little free time. Make it easy for them to go over your mail quickly.

What other direct mail guidelines and best practices do you know about, or use?

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