Direct Mail, Marketing

How to reduce your direct marketing costs

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
April 11 2018,
May 27 2020

In this digital marketing age direct mail can sometimes get a bad rap. Those less familiar with it as a channel overlook its appeal believing it to be more expensive, and less effective. But they’re wrong, and the research (of which there’s plenty) proves it1.
Doing it well is key, and for that you’ll need to work with a provider who knows his onions! One who understands that highly-targeted personalised, relevant and timely campaigns are key to increasing your ROI. But there are plenty of ways to cut costs too.  Here are our top tips on getting smart with direct mail:


  1. Analyse your data

Not all data records are created equal. Segment and prioritise those most likely to respond, and for whom your offering is most relevant. Long-standing customers and brand-loyalists will be most receptive to up-selling and cross-selling messages, with prospects and “newbies” more open to special offers and discounts.


  1. Clean up your act

Think about data hygiene. It’s a false economy (and a GDPR no-no) to work with unclean or out-of-date data. Checking its integrity and accuracy by running PAF checks, matching it against gone-away and deceased lists (as well MPS and other suppression lists) will remove those with no desire to receive your promotions, or no chance of responding to them.


  1. Reap the rewards

Mailing companies and Royal Mail reward those marketers and business managers who pre-sort their direct mail marketing campaigns. This can have a positive and very real impact on costs and is definitely worth the effort.


  1. Get into shape

Creatives can often get carried away with fancy shapes and sizes when designing direct mail pieces. Consider using conventional letter and parcel formats to keep costs down.


  1. Watch your weight

Using a heavier or bulkier stock might tip the cost per unit and, when you’re mailing vast quantities that can come with a hefty price tag. Your service provider should be able to recommend paper, card or packaging materials that keep the costs low, but the quality, look and feel high.


  1. Bulk is best

There are economies of scale to be had with mailing greater volumes. Rather than taking a drip-feed approach, consider consolidating campaigns into larger-scale mailings to trigger bulk discounts.


  1. Beyond just paper and ink

Your direct mail campaign will likely comprise a range of hidden costs too, elements you may not have thought of or scrutinised. If you’re ordering materials to be stored for later distribution, then there’s likely to be a charge for warehousing these. Or, if you’re using a printer and a separate mailing house, there’ll be transport costs between the two. Examine the entire fulfilment process, streamline the supply chain, and look for consolidation wherever possible. 


  1. Optimise postage rates

It’s hard to keep track of the various discounts and postage schemes on offer. DSA, Mailsort, Mailmark, Advertising Mail and Sustainable Mail are just some. An expert provider will know, understand and have access to all of these.


  1. Time is money

Getting quotes, submitting files, waiting for proofs, etc. all take and waste time. Best to work with a direct marketing provider that has automated systems for super-fast ordering and fulfilment. Need to find one? Look no further!


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