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When to Mail?

Jul 02, 2010

Direct Mail Best Practices: When to Mail?

“Life is about timing.”
      Carl Lewis

Every year, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) surveys several hundred large, medium and small companies that send direct mail.  The DMA presents the results of that survey, and its analysis, in the report “Direct Mail Best Practices, Benchmarks, and Strategies.”

The report gives an insight into what other mailers are doing – into what best direct mail practices might be.  When it comes to timing – when to mail – the survey found:

• 26.5% of companies that send direct mail do it at specific times of the year (e.g., at the beginning of each quarter)

• 22.3% send mail tied to a particular season or event (Christmas or back-to-school, for example)

• 17.8% send mail tied to a customer’s life cycle event (a “one year as a customer” anniversary, say)

• Another 17.8% send mail when a customer might need to re-order a product or service (a month before the customer’s subscription runs out, perhaps)

Looking at the DMA survey results, there are opportunities both to replicate successful mailers’ practices and to stand out from the crowd by mailing when others aren’t.

Mail regularly throughout the year

The greatest percentage of survey respondents mail at particular times each year.  The benefit of mailing regularly is that it keeps you top-of-mind with your customers.  If you mail frequently (like every month), customers will begin to anticipate your mailer.  So even before they see your message in their mailbox, they’re thinking about you and your brand – and, hopefully, about doing business with you again.

Tie your mailing to a seasonal promotion

If you have seasonal sales or special events, by all means you should be using direct mail to promote them.  You probably plan out those kinds of sales and events well in advance; at the same time, plan a mail campaign to let your customers and prospects know what’s going on. With Click2Mail, you can schedule mailings up to 120 days in advance – so you can easily put a full four months worth of mailings on auto-pilot.

Click2Mail makes seasonal mailing easy in other ways, too. With our Why Mail this Month? articles, you can get interesting, out-of-the-box ideas for fun holidays and events to tie your direct mail to.  Plus, we’ve recently published a special Annual Mailing Calendar that will give you a full year’s worth of seasonal and event-based mailing ideas.  Send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to get your copy.

Send personalized relationship-based mail

At Click2Mail we believe that personalized mail is smart marketing.  Your customers and prospects want to feel like you’re talking to them, personally.  What better way to do that than with a special mailer wishing your customer “Happy one Year Anniversary” and thanking her for her loyalty to you?  Or a “In Honor of Your 100th Visit, Here’s a Special Coupon” mailer.

Those kinds of personalized, relationship-based mailers will show your prospects that you care about them and that you pay attention to the relationship that they’ve built with your company.  Even better, Click2Mail makes it easy.  With the mail merge capability of our Mailing Online system, you can easily and quickly personalize your mailer with any piece of customer information.

Send personalized event-based (reminder!) mail

Let’s be honest.  Most of us would never remember to take the dog in for his annual shots were it not for the simple reminder card we get from the veterinarian.  Would you remember to get your oil changed on time were it not for the friendly letter from the mechanic (and, better yet, the 10% off coupon)?

These kinds of customer reminders are clearly good for us as customers – they remind us to take care of important yet easily-forgettable tasks.  And, clearly, they’re good for you as a business – they help you retain customers who might otherwise simply forget to come back.

There’s no reason why you can’t take advantage of some or all of the mailing best practices.  Create a mail campaign to send regularly throughout the year and mail to promote seasonal events or deals and send personalized relationship- and event-based mailers.  The more you mail, the more you stay at the front of your customers’ and prospects’ minds, the more you grow.  Click2Mail is here to make it easy.

If you found this article useful, you might also like: It’s Time to Start Planning Your Holiday Mail! 5 Keys to a Great Holiday Direct Mail Campaign from our October 2009 issue.  Check it out!