A Marketer’s Guide to Direct Mail Campaign Costs

When business owners think of marketing campaigns, direct mail doesn’t come to mind anymore. If you can relate to that, you should reconsider the impact direct mail has on your business.

Did you know that direct mail generates purchases five times larger than email campaigns? If you combine the two, purchases are six times bigger than using email alone.

If you want to create a marketing campaign that delivers a return on investment, you need to know the direct mail campaign costs.

There are a lot of factors that make up the cost of a direct mail campaign. Keep reading to learn what they are and how to achieve a high direct mail ROI.

Factors of Direct Mail Campaign Costs

The most obvious cost difference is the quality of pieces you plan to mail. The more you mail, the more postage is needed.

Another factor is the size of the mailer. Do you plan to send a postcard, a flyer, or something else? A postcard costs much less to mail than a larger piece.

If you personalize the content or use multiple segments, your costs will increase. Designing, copywriting, and printing costs vary by vendor.

You could choose to design and write the mailer in-house to save money. This actually impacts your return on investment, especially if you don’t have design or copywriting skills.

Will you purchase your list or do you have a list that you cultivated yourself? The list is another cost to factor into the campaign cost.

You can reduce some of these costs. For instance, you can send your campaign to a highly targeted list of warm leads. Find more information here about reducing direct mail costs.

The Hidden Costs of Direct Mail Campaigns

Small business owners usually understand the hard costs of a direct mail campaign mentioned above. Too many overlook the hidden costs, or soft costs, of direct mail.

A direct mail campaign isn’t a one-shot mailer. A campaign means that you send multiple mailers to the same list. This enables you to maximize the impact of your campaign.

That’s because people respond to repetition as opposed to a single piece of mail.

They also underestimate the production time involved in creating a campaign. It takes weeks to plan the campaign, design and test the mailers, print the final versions, and mail them.

The most important cost is one of the forgotten costs. People don’t think about tracking until after the mailer gets sent. You and your team have to find ways to track your mailers to measure your success.

Many campaigns are integrated campaigns, where direct mail integrates with digital marketing tactics. Add this to your budget if you want to use your CRM or ecommerce platform as a way to integrate these channels.

Calculate the Cost of a Direct Mail Campaign

To get an accurate estimate of direct mail campaign costs, you need to do a little math. Advertising campaigns are displayed as cost per mille, or CPM.

This is the cost per 1,000 impressions. To make the calculation, take the total cost of your direct mail campaign. Be sure to include the hidden costs, too.

Divide that number by 1,000 and you have your CPM.

These calculations allow you to compare the costs of direct mail campaigns with the costs of other forms of advertising. Display advertising and PPC ads use the CPM method as well.

You can look at the CPM and ROI of each tactic and you know which ones deliver.

How to Get a Return on Investment for Direct Mail

There are just as many variables that impact the ROI as there are that impact the cost of a direct mail campaign.

You have to have a high-quality list. Taking the shotgun approach to your mailer simply won’t work. Your response rate and your direct mail ROI will be low.

You have to know the purpose of sending the direct mail campaign. Sending one on a whim is a waste of money.

Once you know your purpose, you can align that with your target audience. Understand who they are, where they live, and why they’d be interested in your mailer.

You have to have a budget in mind to start with. That may impact the size of the mailer. A small budget means that you can only send postcards instead of something larger.

Designing the Mailer

Now comes the hard part – writing and designing the mailer. There are certain elements of direct mail that have to be present.

Start with the headline of the mailer. This has to be powerful enough to convince someone to pay attention to the rest of the piece. Your mail will wind up in the trash if this isn’t well-executed.

Write down about 20 different headlines. Test them and see which ones are stronger. Keep refining until you get that one impactful headline.

The text of the mailer should be easy to read and formatted in short sentences. Bullet points are best. People won’t read something that looks like a chapter from a book.

Add images that convey what the mailer is about. Do so sparingly, because too many images distract from the other elements of the design.

You can hire a designer and copywriter to handle this part of the campaign. They’ll do a better job than you and help you see a return on investment.

Master Direct Mail Marketing

Don’t overlook direct mail marketing to boost sales to your business. The tips in this article showed you the factors of direct mail campaign costs and how to get direct mail ROI.

As you create your next direct mail campaign, you can use these tips to have an accurate budget and track your success.

If you like learning about direct mail, you’ll enjoy the other technology news and tips on this site. Head over to the home page to check them out.

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