[TBT] Are You Making These 11 Deadly Direct Mail Mistakes?

*I originally published this post in February 2015, and it has such great info I thought I’d do another Throw Back Thursday and include it here.  So, enjoy!

Recently, I was on a live call with GKIC‘s very own Dave Dee and direct mail expert Craig Simpson (Craig has sent out over 200,000,000 sales pieces… WOW).

There was so much great info that I wanted to share with you my notes on the 11 Deadliest Direct Mail Mistakes (I’ll reveal the 11 mistakes and then go into detail and give you some of my own examples). As you go through the list, ask yourself if you’re making any of these deadly mistakes.


  1. Being Boring: This is the ultimate marketing sin. When sending out direct mail pieces are you boring your prospects? How can you tell… are you getting any responses? If not, maybe your copy is putting your prospects to sleep. Remember: Neatness rejects involvement. Clutter invites involvement.
  2. Not performing List Hygiene: Are you constantly getting returned mail for the same prospects over and over? Time to do a list hygiene. This is where you take your list (internal or external) and match prospects. If you get returned mail, be sure to either find the correct address and make the corrections in your files, or delete them. You can also check your lists with the USPS to be sure you’re not sending mail to someone at a place where they are no longer there.
  3. Don’t Confuse Call-to-Actions: Put contact info on your mail piece at least 3 times. Make it clear. Give a clear path of action. Don’t just said put your contact info on your mail piece and expect people to know what to do. Confused prospects tend to do one thing and one thing only… NOTHING. Be very, very clear on what you want your prospects to do next.
  4. Not Using the Envelope to Get Your Message Opened: Blank, Teaser, 3D/Lumpy. What happens if you send your best sales message to the perfect market, but the envelope never gets opened? That’s right, you’re sales message will not get read and you’ll never make the sale. There are 3 classes of envelopes: Blank Envelopes – You’re hiding your business name and creating curiosity to the prospect on who sent the envelope; Teaser – You can put teaser copy on your envelopes like “Find Out How To Get Your FREE…” to get prospects to open it; 3D/Lumpy Mail – This is my cup of tea and what I send to prospects, usually in a 3-step mail campaign. This includes bank bags (my favorite to send), mini trash cans, bottles, and little grabbers you put inside of envelopes to make them “lumpy” which creates curiosity (like shredded money, boomerangs, compass, etc.). Who’s not going to open a bank bag they get in the mail. (You can see a video I created with some 3D mail products and lumpy mail on my site by Clicking Here or visiting: DukeOfMarketing.com/3D-Mail)
  5. Wrong Price Point: If the price of your product you’re selling is too high to a cold list you’ll lost them as customers. You want to sell them products below $100. Existing customers will have a higher price point ($79-$800), and over $800 products send them to a webinar or seminar first.
  6. Sales Copy: Don’t build up to the climax like in movies. Start climax at the beginning and build off that. Get prospects excited up front and move them along your sales funnel.
  7. Just Sending Out 1 Mail Piece And Nothing Else: The best way to get the best response is to do sequential mailings. As I mentioned in #4, I’ve sent out 3-step mail campaigns to expired real estate listings (1st step was a Postcard; 2nd Step was a home seller’s guide in a fake “Rush Priority Express” envelope, 3rd step was a mini trash can).
  8. Not Taking Advantage Of Postal Discounts: This includes bulk mail, presorted first class (you sort the mail yourself and then take it to the proper USPS station), and my favorite Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM). EDDM is great for local businesses trying to hit whole neighborhoods.
  9. Using The Wrong List: You need to do proper list selection. If you’re selling women’s hair products, you’re not going to be sending your sales message to single men. You can mail the best copy to the wrong list and never get a response. You can have ok copy sent to the correct list and get response. You need to know your target market.
  10. Message Poorly Matched With List: This goes hand-in-hand with #9. Think, RIGHT MESSAGE to the RIGHT MARKET.
  11. Not Following Up With People Who Respond To Your Marketing: If you’re going to take the time and spend the money to get prospects to call respond to your message, then ALWAYS be sure to FOLLOW UP! I’ve seen so many deals lost because someone didn’t follow up. I’ve always made deals happen because I kept following up (One prospect who inquired about the home seller’s guide I created was very good friends with another real estate agent, but we kept following up and got the listing… Following Up WORKS!).

Lots of great info above. Feel free to refer to this when creating your next direct mail campaign.

Which of the above 11 mistakes are you currently making in your direct mail marketing? What’s your plan of action to correct these mistakes you’re making?

Be sure to leave your answers in the comments below and, as always…

Now go take action!

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