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Marketing Mojo | When Good Mail Goes Bad

7 Ways Direct Mail Can Go Wrong

I have a weird weakness for terrible clickbait articles, particularly at 1am when I shouldn't be on my phone anyway. I'm not usually one for schadenfreude, but years of working in retail just out of college has made me particularly sensitive to Customer Service Horror Stories, particularly when it works out in the employee's benefit. However, my favorites are always the "product fails", when someone just didn't quite think through a design or marketing idea before putting it out into the world. Sometimes it's out of your control, like when an Amazon Prime Day glitch resulted in several thousand dollars of professional photography equipment being sold for nearly 99% off.

When it comes to advertising to your own products and services, it's important to pay attention to editing and design choices to make sure you don't have any major mistakes in information or copy. But there are a lot of other ways that a mailpiece can go wrong beyond the copy - and sometimes those can be even worse for your bottom line than a couple of minor mistakes.

Here are 7 ways that even the most well-intended direct mail can go bad:

Mailing List: There's a reason Santa checks his list twice. The wrong data can be devastating to the success of a mailpiece, particularly if you're working from a purchased list as opposed to a customer database. Out of date contact information or bad addresses are fairly easy to correct, but if you purchase a list based on the wrong variables, then you're almost guaranteed not to reach your target audience.

Lack of a Call to Action: Mailpieces are usually meant to generate a response, to drive traffic either to a storefront, website, event or particular product. Something should incentivize your customers to respond, whether it's a special or limited offer, or simply provoking a question of what you can provide for them.

Overly Verbose: We get it, you've got a lot to say - and sometimes all of that information is very important to your bottom line. But overcrowding a mailpiece with copy or muddling your message with the wrong wording is a surefire way to turn potential customers away from the reading and retention of your message.

Mismatched Images: The wrong images can turn people off or confuse them. Make sure you choose images that support not only your message, but also your brand. Whenever possible, try to choose images that form a cohesive look, whether that's by use of color, lighting or subject matter.

Copy Problems: It's very easy to make simple mistakes in grammer. But a misspelling isn't as grave as you might think - far worse is poorly worded or incorrect copy. It can harm the impression that people have of your business if your copy sounds unprofessional or uneducated. Legibility of type is also a big factor - if your copy is difficult to read, your customers might be missing valuable information because of a poor choice of typeface, size, weight or color.

Too Early or Too Late: Delivery times vary depending on production, delivery method and distance across the country, but there is enough information out there for you to plan ahead if you know you have a specific timeline. Too early and your message starts to lose its impact, too late and you risk missing your deadlines, especially if you have a limited time sale or event that you're trying to advertise.

Doesn't Follow Regulations: USPS has very specific standards when it comes to mailpiece formatting and design. If your mailing doesn't follow these rules and regulations, there's a chance that you could either be charged more than your initial budget, or that your piece could be rejected entirely by the post office.

Luckily for you, the team here at AG Carmel is well-versed in mailings - we can help you with design, mail list acquisition, print and finishing. We'll make sure that the postal guidelines are met and that the piece is prepared properly for the post office so that you can get the best rates on postage and printing for your budget.

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