20 Point Checklist for Direct Mail Success

Though certainly not a complete list, I wrote the following checklist for you to use when creating your direct mail packages.

This list applies partially to all direct response media, but I developed it primarily for direct mail development since this remains the core medium for many direct marketers.

What other items would you add to this list?


1.  Do you know your break even response rate?
2.  Are you testing the big things such as offers rather than such things as stock colors or package elements to displace your control decisively?
3.  Have you considered selling the product off the page as well as generating direct mail leads that are followed up by a closing fulfillment package or telephone call? (This often referred to as a one-step versus a two-step approach.)
4.  Could you justify using Fed Ex or registered mail or three-dimensional packages to lift response?
5.  Have you taken advantage of the seasonality of your product by mailing greater volumes during the high season and lower volumes during the slow months?
6.  Have you taken advantage of the recipient's special moments such as birthdays, anniversaries, end or beginning of school year and so on to make your offer when the prospect is ready to buy?
7.  Are you taking full advantage of your customer, inquiry and prospect database by segmenting it according to propensity to buy? Are you mailing less to the least responsive portions of your master file without over mailing to your best customers?
8.  Is there research available on your product that validates it's qualities and benefits? If so, use it in your copy. Third party endorsements based on valid research increases the credibility of your offer.
9.  If this is a BtoB lead generation program, have your gotten involvement and buy off of the lead generation process with your sales team? Have you agreed to quick and thorough response to all leads to maximize conversion rates?


10.  Have you catalogued the product benefits?
11.  Have you studied the loosing tests of the last two years as well as the control?
12.  Are you testing offers, formats and lists simultaneously?
13.  Have you considered adding involvement devices such as peel-off stamps, coins, pop ups or other such items?
14.  Have you identified the package theme or main selling proposition? Or better yet, can you position one of the product's benefits as unique to your product or the company behind the product?
15.  Is there a product guarantee? If not, write a new one based on actual company practice. A guarantee exists, but it is not written down. Don't loose this great marketing tool to improve your response rates.
16.  Have you interviewed your customers for satisfaction levels? Have you collected their positive comments? If so, use them in the raw to create positive customer endorsement. No one can write a more credible testimonial than the customer himself. It sounds contrived when written by the advertiser.


17.  Are you testing lists that have sufficient roll out potential to warrant testing the selected them?
18. Do you routinely put your lists through list hygiene prior to each mailing assuring the best delivery and accurate personalization possible?

Product fulfillment

19.  If this is a product offering, are you familiar with the fulfillment process? What goes out with the packaging? Are you making additional product offers within the fulfillment package?
20.  How quickly does the customer get the order?

Posted on June 6, 2008 and filed under General.