Here are six things you should consider when organizing a direct mail campaign:
Define It: Before you can begin to put together a campaign, you must have
a clear idea of what your style is and what type of work it best applies to.
As part of this, you should consider the type of work that you actually want
Stick To It: Once you've decided your style, you should keep to it for the
next couple of years. Pigeonholing is actually a good thing. The more focused
the visual message you communicate to a creative buyer, the more likely they
are to remember it.
2. Target Audience
Decide Which Companies are Most Important: Most people can't afford to mail
everyone, so you'll likely have to decide, given your positioning, who are
the greatest sources of business and go after them. Prioritize your sources
of business in terms of who's more likely to hire you.
Decide Which Contacts are Most Important: Not every contact within a company
will have equal say in deciding who is hired. Choose which people are essential
to reach and which are optional. See Prioritizing Your Target Audience for
more on who is important.
Decide Where to Market Geographically: Based on the type of work you do, decide
if it's worth marketing outside your local area. For example: Will someone
3000 miles away hire you to shoot a product? Are you an illustrator for whom
it doesn't matter where your clients are?
Test Out New Markets: Use small mailings to test the response from markets
in which you feel there is potential but with which you have little or no
Keep On Top of Your Primary Market: Be aware of what's going on. Know what
type of work is popular and what's not. Keep track of the key players, especially
when they move around.
Multiple Hits Maximize Awareness: Building awareness and perception for an
artist is similar to developing brand recognition. The more times a potential
"buyer" sees the product, the more likely they are to consider it
when purchasing it. You will generate more awareness by mailing 1000 people
five times than by mailing 5000 people once.
Two Pieces Are Not Enough: Research into marketing practices has shown that
advertising only becomes effective after the third hit. This is when awareness
really starts to kick in. You should consider mailing at least four pieces
over a period of six months. More is better.
Mailers Come in All Shapes and Sizes: Don't limit yourself to only including
"campaign mailers" in your direct mail program. Mail out source
book overruns, pieces highlighting work you've done lately and recent awards
to increase your frequency.
Achieve a Balance that Makes Sense: The need for frequency and reaching a
given target audience with a quality promo is often at odds with your budget.
Be careful when trading off one against the other. Be aware that in general,
frequency is the most important, followed by the quality of your piece. The
actual number of people you hit is secondary to these two objectives.
Quality Is Important: Quality not only helps catch the eye, it sends a message
about your attitude towards your own work. More importantly, it indicates
to the creative buyer what they can expect from the work you'll do for them.
Focus Your Target Audience: Mailing to more people doesn't necessarily get
you that much more work. By identifying and only mailing to the core group
of people within each of your target markets, you may be able to reduce the
total number of pieces without cutting out too many opportunities.
Consider Other Avenues for Reducing Your Costs: There are other ways to minimize
the overall cost of your mailing campaign other than compromising frequency
or quality. Look at new printing methods and materials, reducing the size
of the pieces themselves, being open to contra deals with suppliers and using
Keep Marketing Costs in Perspective: Consider the potential increase in your
billings versus the amount you are spending on promotion. At times, it is
better to spend a bit more and not reduce frequency or quality rather than
making a trade-off that will compromise the entire program.
Just Do It: Making sure you follow through on your "full" direct
mail program is key. Don't jeopardize your campaign by overspending in other
areas, making you unable to cover the costs of the program. You will find
that cutting out a portion of your program will reduce the overall results
by much more than the savings are worth.
Don't Panic: Only judge the results of your campaign after fully executing
it. Building awareness takes time. You shouldn't lose hope when the results
are not immediate. The true reward only comes after the completion of the
Be Realistic: The purpose of a promotional campaign is not to actually get
you jobs; rather, it is to get you considered for jobs.
Consistency is Key: A direct marketing campaign should reflect the style,
positioning and quality of your work.
Prepare to Meet the Demand: Make sure you have enough services to meet the
expected demand generated by your campaign. Creative buyers don't like to
wait to see more of your work. Having a web site can be useful, but it does
not replace the need for an adequate number of services you provide.
Benefits and Services Comes First: You should plan out your list of services
you provide before putting together your promos. Generally, because those
services will be the basis upon which your prospect calls upon you is the
reason they will consider your business, your services should be a reflection
of your work and not the other way around.
Direct Mail is the best way to keep in touch with your customers, obtain new
clients and generate more business leads for your business. It is also the
most measurable medium you can find.