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How To Create a Direct Mail Marketing Campaign



11.19.2021

How To Create a Direct Mail Marketing Campaign

This content is adapted from Canada Post's Essential Guide to Direct Mail.

Our homes are central to our lives—they're where we spend most of our time and where we make life's big decisions. For many Canadians, the mailbox remains a ritual and a vital connection to the world. In fact, Canada Post studies show that more than 70% of Canadians pick up their mail at least three times a week. That makes direct mail the ideal channel for businesses to reach customers where they are.

Like any marketing tactic, it's important to understand the formula for success. What does it take to run an effective direct mail campaign that captures attention and incites action in your customers and prospects? Let's walk through the six steps to creating a successful direct mail campaign.

For a more in-depth process, download our 6 Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing >


1) Strategy and Planning

The first step to a successful direct mail campaign is nailing down your campaign strategy. Planning ahead will simplify and speed up your decision-making process and will also help guide your creative and print partners (that’s us!) in recommending the best possible solutions.

Golden Acre Direct Mailer

While developing your direct mail strategy, use this checklist:

  • What is your main objective?
  • What do you want your audience to do?
  • What is your offer/message?
  • Will your campaign be integrated?
  • What is your budget?
  • What data do you have?

2) Targeting and Analytics

If you’re just starting out with direct mail and don’t have an existing database (or yours is in its early stages), you may turn to external sources for your targeting. In this case, you’ll use what you’ve learned researching your target audience to develop a list. Working with our team, we’ll apply those insights to generate your list using a Canada Post list rental.

Canada Post's advanced data allows you to target customers based on hundreds of attributes, including some of these examples:

Neighbourhood Targeting
  • Geography and address attributes (region, type of dwelling)
  • Demographics (family size, occupation)
  • Interests and behaviours (hobbies, pet ownership)
  • Lifestyle (outdoor adventurists, vacation homeowners)
  • Life stage (families with young kids, retirees)

In this step, you'll also work with our direct mail experts to determine what type of mailing best suits your campaign. For more information on the three types of mailing—Neighbourhood Mail, Postal Code Targeting and Personalized Mail—click here.


3) Creative Design

A perfectly timed, well-written piece that has a clear and relevant message with a compelling call to action is the key to a successful direct mail campaign. If you’re designing your own direct mail piece, we recommend following the 40/40/20 rule—40% audience, 40% offering and 20% creative execution.

  • Audience — Consider who you're mailing to and what information you need to reach them
  • Offering — Think of your customers asking, "What's in it for me?"
  • Creative — How can you use design and formatting to make your piece stand out from the rest?

You'll also need to take into consideration Canada Post's size and weight requirements for each type of mail. For more details, download the 6 Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing eBook.

Need help with designing your direct mail piece? WCD Creative, our in-house design agency, specializes in designing award-winning integrated direct mail campaigns that get results. Learn more about WCD Creative >


4) Printing

Edmonton City Club Mailer

Before WCD can print your direct mail piece, there are a few critical steps we’ll guide you through to ensure your mailers get where they’re going and capture attention when they get there.

First, we'll need to validate your data to ensure you're not mailing duplicates and that all of the addresses on your list are formatted to adhere to Canada Post's requirements. Second, we'll work with you to select the right paper thickness, colour and finishes that will capture the attention of your audience.


5) Mail Preparation and Delivery

With millions of pieces going through the mail stream daily, it’s important to prepare direct mailers properly to avoid issues or delays. Our team will manage mail preparation for you, but having a basic understanding of the process will help expedite things and ensure your campaign gets out the door smoothly.

In this stage, you'll need to:

  • Create a Canada Post Business Account — We always recommend our customers sign up for a free account to gain instant access to tools and savings on postage.
  • Create a Statement of Mailing (SOM) — Before Canada Post can accept your direct mailers, you'll need to have a SOM with detailed information on the size, weight and quantity of your mailers, distribution routes and more.

As Canada Post Smartmail Marketing™ Expert Partners, we'll work closely with you to manage the mail preparation process. Once printing and mail preparation are complete, it's time for delivery! Our team will organize your mailers and deliver them to Canada Post.


6) Measurement and Insight

Today’s direct mail campaigns are driven by data. With customer journeys constantly changing, it’s important to keep measuring your campaigns to determine what works best.

How can you test and measure the success of your direct mail campaigns? Make sure that any point of contact included in your direct mail piece is unique and trackable. Using coupon codes, landing pages, QR codes and other identifiable trackers are great ways to attribute success to your direct mail campaigns. For a more detailed list of attribution methods, download our 6 Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing eBook.


Download the eBook on Direct Mail

Direct Mail eBook

Eager to learn more about direct mail marketing? Download our free eBook, the 6 Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketingto gain additional insights into:

  • The three types of direct mail targeting
  • Tips for designing your direct mailer
  • Specifications on size and weight requirements from Canada Post
  • Tracking and attribution methods that can help you measure ROI on your direct mail campaigns

06.10.2024

Why Aren’t Your Direct Mail Campaigns Successful? Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or a small business owner, crafting a direct mail marketing campaign can be daunting—especially if past attempts haven't yielded the results you expected. Many businesses dip their toes into direct mail with a single postcard campaign and are quick to write it off when the returns don’t immediately materialize. If this sounds familiar, fret not. This article will equip you with the strategic insights needed to create a successful direct mail campaign, moving beyond the basics and diving into the key components that can make or break your marketing efforts. We’ll explore: What is direct mail marketing?The three ingredients for a successful direct mail campaignWhat to look for in a direct mail services provider How to get started with your first direct mail campaign What is Direct Mail Marketing? Direct mail marketing, often referred to as Smartmail Marketing by Canada Post, involves sending physical marketing materials directly to the homes or offices of targeted consumers. Although digital channels have dominated over the past decade, this more traditional form of marketing remains highly relevant, engaging potential customers in a direct and personal way. In fact, over 60% of Canadians feel a strengthened relationship with businesses that reach out via direct mail, proving its potential impact. 3 Ingredients for Successful Direct Mail Marketing 1) Solid Campaign Strategy As with any marketing campaign, direct mail requires a comprehensive strategy that addresses the goals, objectives, key messaging, and other essential elements needed to effectively reach your target audience. If your outreach is focused on acquiring new customers, a single mail drop may not be sufficient to see the results you’re hoping for. Over time, a successful direct mail strategy will create brand familiarity with multiple touchpoints. Consider planning a series of mail drops throughout the year, such as quarterly mailings, to maintain engagement and brand recall with your audience. This approach ensures your message is reinforced over time, allowing you to adjust your strategy based on your audience’s response and market trends. 2) Digital Component to Campaigns Did you know that blending digital marketing with direct mail is proven to enhance the effectiveness of both? Statistics show that direct mail campaigns integrated with digital efforts lead to a 40% higher brand recall and significantly more engagement. By coordinating your direct mail with online campaigns, you can create a cohesive marketing strategy that leverages the strengths of both mediums. Here’s an example of what that might look like in your campaign strategy. Consider you're launching a new product line. You start with an attention-grabbing direct mail piece—perhaps a beautifully designed postcard or a small sample package. This mailer not only announces the product but also includes a unique QR code that directs recipients to a special landing page on your website. The page might offer more detailed information about the product, an introductory discount, or even an invitation to sign up for an exclusive webinar. At the same time, you launch targeted digital ads that echo the design and message of the direct mail piece. These ads would appear on social media platforms and Google, reinforcing the message seen in your audience’s mailbox. As recipients of the direct mail visit the landing page, your digital ads can also employ retargeting techniques to keep your brand and message top of mind, increasing the likelihood of engagement. By integrating these digital and traditional channels, you’ve now created multiple touchpoints with your audience, enhancing their journey from initial curiosity to final purchase. 3) Big-Picture Budget Effective direct mail campaigns are not about one-off attempts but a sustained effort that integrates seamlessly with your overall marketing strategy. Budgeting at minimum $12,000-$15,000 annually for localized direct mail marketing campaigns can provide the necessary funds to craft impactful, creative content and maintain a consistent mailing schedule that will genuinely resonate with your audience. For larger companies with larger audiences, this number can vary widely. This may leave you wondering: how do we track the ROI of our direct mail campaigns? Like most marketing initiatives, there’s no perfect science. However, there are some tried and true methods for tracking the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns that we dive into in this article, including: Using trackable coupons or promo codesLeveraging customized URLs on your mailersDedicated phone numbers and emails to track replies Using QR codes to track scans and form completions If you’re looking for a more low-budget, one-and-done marketing tactic, a digital initiative such as paid advertising may be a better option for your business. What to Look for in a Direct Mail Services Provider When choosing a partner for your direct mail campaigns, look for a provider with a comprehensive suite of services that go beyond just printing and mailing. Partnering with a Canada Post Smartmail Marketing™ Expert like WCD ensures you're working with a team skilled in strategic planning and creative design. These partners can help optimize your campaigns for maximum impact and efficiency. As a Smartmail Marketing™ Expert Partner, we’ll work with your team to create direct mail advertising that uses highly effective messaging and thoughtful creative to build brand awareness, produce quality leads, and attract new customers. Need help with campaign design? Our in-house design agency crafts integrated direct mail campaigns that get results. Jumpstart Your Direct Mail Marketing Ready to switch up your marketing approach? When executed with a thoughtful strategy, direct mail marketing can significantly elevate your brand's visibility and engagement. Download our FREE 6-Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing to begin crafting campaigns that not only reach but resonate with your audience.

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11.23.2023

3 Ways to Integrate Digital and Direct Mail In Your Next Marketing Campaign

If you’re a marketer, you know firsthand how quickly the marketing landscape shifts. But as algorithms update and trends come and go, there’s one tried and true traditional marketing tactic that has stood the test of time—and that’s direct mail marketing. In a marketplace driven by digital experiences, direct mail alone may not give you the results you’re looking for. However, research shows that integrating direct mail with more modern digital marketing and data-driven strategies can create powerful campaigns. In fact, people pay 39% more attention to integrated direct mail and digital campaigns than they do to single-media digital campaigns. Just imagine the impact that could have on your campaign results and ROI! TL;DR — Integrating digital marketing and data-informed strategies with direct mail can enhance the effectiveness of both. To get your creative marketing gears turning, here are three innovative ways to merge digital and physical for maximum impact, including: Personalized URLs and QR codes Leveraging data for targeted mailing Syncing email marketing with direct mail 1) Personalized URLs and QR Codes One of the most effective ways to integrate digital marketing into direct mail is by using Personalized URLs (PURLs) or QR codes. These tools create a seamless transition from a physical mail piece to a digital platform. Here’s how it works: PURLs: These are unique, personalized web addresses included in your direct mail piece. When a recipient types this URL into their browser, they're taken to a highly personalized landing page that might greet them by name and offer tailored content or special deals based on their preferences or past interactions with your brand. QR Codes: These are scannable codes printed on your mail piece. While QR codes have been overused in some aspects of marketing, print materials are where they really shine. When scanned with a smartphone, they direct the recipient to a specific web page. This could be a promotional video, a sign-up form, or a special offer. Using PURLs or QR codes allows you to track engagement levels and gather data on your audience’s preferences, which couldn’t be achieved without the digital aspects of the campaign. These methods provide real-time insights on landing page visitors and conversions, so you can more accurately measure the ROI of your integrated marketing campaign. That’s a major win! Using QR Codes on Neighbourhood Mail Neighbourhood Mail™ is one of three categories of direct mail marketing offered by Canada Post. Because it targets generalized neighbourhoods or regions, it’s ideal for mass awareness campaigns if you’re looking to acquire new customers. If you live in Canada, you likely receive Neighbourhood Mail™ often because it is the least targeted and most economical option of the three. Whether it’s your local pizza shop or home hardware store, small businesses often send postcards or pamphlets via Neighbourhood Mail™. To streamline the customer experience, they’ll add a QR code to lead the customer back online without having to type in a URL manually. Next time you check the mail, see if you can find a piece of direct mail with a QR code on it and let us know—do you think this tactic is effective? 2) Leveraging Customer Data for Targeting From your social media accounts to past order addresses—your marketing team is sitting on a goldmine of customer data and insights. Leveraging these insights, you can create highly targeted direct mail campaign lists to significantly increase the relevance and impact of your mailer. Here's how: Analyze your audience Dive into your audience insights to better understand their preferences, interests, and buying habits. This could include demographic data including household income, locations, age and marital status. But depending on the nature of your business, you could also go deeper into things like the type of car they own, whether they like to take winter vacations, or whether they live in an older home. How is all this relevant? Well, you’ll have to read on to find out. Find similar customers Say you own a roofing business and you want to send marketing messages only to areas where people live in older homes that may need new roofing. Or perhaps you’re an auto dealer looking to sell more inventory of pre-owned cars. By segmenting your data to give you a list of customers that have previously purchased these things from you, you can use Canada Post’s Postal Code Targeting services to find similar customers. How does it work? Because you likely have your customer’s addresses on file from past order details, you can use Postal Code Targeting to send direct mail campaigns to postal codes that have similar audience attributes to your existing lists. This method of targeting is based on the old adage, “birds of the same feather flock together.” Meaning, people generally live in the same area as similar people. Imagine if you saw a neighbour getting their roof updated, and days later, you received a direct mail piece that says, “Your neighbour just got their roof done. Now it’s your turn!” with a 10% off promo. Could that level of personalization urge you to take action? 3) Synchronizing Email and Direct Mail Combining email marketing with direct mail creates a multi-touchpoint campaign that reinforces your message. Here’s a simple strategy to integrate the two: Begin with an email announcing a special offer or a piece of valuable content.Follow up with a direct mail piece that delivers on the promise made in the email. This could be a detailed brochure, a sample product, or a personalized discount code.Use a subsequent email to follow up on the direct mail piece, perhaps asking for feedback or offering additional related online content. In this type of campaign, Personalized Mail is your go-to method. Personalized Mail is a one-to-one approach that mails a specific recipient and is personally addressed with their name. This works best for marketing to existing customers or to a list of previously engaged prospects who might already be familiar with your brand. Personalized Mail is often used for scenarios like inviting people to events, soliciting donations, reporting financial performance to stakeholders, or supporting loyalty card programs. Can you think of a time a company sent you a marketing message and followed up with a piece of direct mail? Many leading brands use this integrated method to nurture their audience. Sephora uses this method to market their Beauty Insider program and exclusive discounts, while Questrade uses it to send financial statements to their account holders. This synchronized approach ensures that your brand stays top-of-mind, as recipients encounter your message across multiple channels. The opportunities are truly endless! Curious About Creating a Direct Mail Campaign? Integrating digital marketing with direct mail creates a holistic approach that leverages the strengths of both. The key is to ensure that each element of the campaign complements and reinforces the others, creating a unified, multi-channel marketing strategy. With these tactics, your business can enhance engagement, improve response rates, and drive a higher ROI on your marketing campaigns. To dive deeper into the world of direct mail and learn how to build out your very own campaign, access our FREE 6-Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing. Or if you’d rather not go it alone, learn how WCD can help you create your direct mail campaign—from strategy to design, printing, mailing and beyond.

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06.16.2023

5 Powerful Ways to Utilize Direct Mail for Your Business

Do email and social media dominate your marketing strategy? With today’s screen-time statistics, it's easy to overlook the tried-and-true method of direct mail. Despite what some marketers assume, direct mail remains a highly effective tool for businesses to engage with their target audience in a tangible and personal way. With careful planning and execution, direct mail campaigns can yield impressive results and help your business stand out from the competition. Let’s explore five powerful ways your marketing team can leverage direct mail to drive growth and boost your business, including: Generating New LeadsNurturing Customer RelationshipsShowcasing New Products or ServicesDriving Website TrafficRe-Engaging Dormant CustomersOr, dive into the basics of direct mail > 1) Generate New Leads Direct mail can be an excellent tool for generating new leads and expanding your customer base. By strategically targeting specific demographics or geographic areas, you can reach potential customers who may not be as receptive to online marketing efforts. And the real money maker? Personalization—because 84% of consumers say they’d be more likely to pay attention to mail that speaks directly to them. Consider offering exclusive promotions or incentives to encourage recipients to take action, such as visiting your store, redeeming a coupon, or signing up for a newsletter. And don’t forget to include a compelling call-to-action that entices recipients to engage! 2) Nurture Customer Relationships Have you ever received a personalized reminder that it’s time to take your furry friend to the vet? “How nice!” you think, because it feels personal and caring for them to reach out. Direct mail provides an opportunity to nurture existing customer relationships and keep your brand top-of-mind. Consider sending personalized thank-you cards, birthday greetings, or anniversary offers to show your customers that you value their loyalty. By adding a personal touch and making your customers feel appreciated, you can foster long-term relationships and encourage repeat business. Learn how a local business grew with direct mail > 3) Showcase New Products or Services You’re beaming with pride over your new service offering—so much so, you want to shout it from the rooftops! Direct mail allows you to communicate with the people who matter most [your customers] in a visually appealing and informative way. Use high-quality images, engaging copy, and compelling offers to capture the attention of your target audience. Whether you're launching a new product line, introducing an upgraded service, or announcing a special promotion, direct mail can help you make a memorable impact and generate excitement among your customer base. 4) Drive Website Traffic Direct mail isn’t a one-and-done deal—it can and should be used alongside digital channels to drive the best engagement. A study by Canada Post shows that integrating direct mail with digital tactics in a campaign increases brand recall by 40% and makes consumers 39% more likely to pay attention. Include QR codes, personalized URLs (PURLs), or unique coupon codes in your direct mail pieces to encourage recipients to visit your website for more information, or to make a purchase. This integration of offline and online marketing channels creates a seamless customer journey and enhances the overall effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. 5) Re-engage Dormant Customers Direct mail is a powerful way to re-engage with customers who haven't interacted with your business in a while. How? First, segment your customer database based on their purchase history or engagement levels, and then send targeted direct mail pieces that reignite their interest. Consider offering exclusive discounts, sneak peeks of upcoming products, or personalized recommendations based on your customer’s previous purchases. By showing them that you value their past support and want to rekindle the relationship, you stand a better chance of bringing them back into the fold. While digital channels continue to evolve and play a vital role in your growth strategy, direct mail remains an effective and impactful tool to add to the marketing mix. Remember, the key to success lies in creating targeted, personalized, and visually appealing direct mail campaigns that resonate with your audience. So, don't overlook the power of direct mail—it may just be the missing ingredient in your perfect recipe.

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