Direct Mail

5 Common Direct Mail Mistakes

direct mail mistakes

For years we have worked with customers to send really good direct mail. Of course, during that time there have been some flops for many different reasons. We have learned much more from the direct mail mistakes than the great ones. Learning what not to do in direct mail is essential. So, we put our heads together to come up with this list of what not to do that will keep you out of trouble.

5 Direct Mail Mistakes:

  1. No or Unclear Call To Action: The whole point of sending direct mail is to get people to respond. If you don’t include a call to action where you tell them what you want them to do, they will not do it. Vague language and innuendo do not work either. A clear concise call to action is a must to drive response.
  2. Too Wordy: Your copy is important. Choosing what to say and how to say it can make or break your response rates. Saying too much is actually worse than not saying enough. Keep your copy concise. Use words that are easy to understand and do not use acronyms.
  3. Old List: Old data is bad data. People and businesses move all the time. If you have a list that is 3 years or older without having ever been cleaned, don’t use it. Beyond the fact that addresses change, people and their circumstances change too. Sending to people who are not there or no longer interested is a waste of money. There are ways you can clean it up, or you can purchase a new list of similar people. Keeping your data fresh means that you can correctly target the people most interested in your product or service.
  4. Font: The most important thing in your direct mail is the ability for your audience to read it. If they can’t read it, they throw it away. When considering what font to use, make sure that it is easily read. Do not pick what you consider a fun and whimsical font; it makes your copy hard to read. Let your design and images do the eye-catching work. Your copy’s job is to sell your product or service, not look decorative. Your font size matters too, so make it larger.
  5. Features: Do not focus your direct mail on features, no one cares. People buy based on benefits not features. All the latest gadgets mean nothing if they are of no benefit. Structure your copy so that you highlight all the benefits your customers and prospects are going to get when they buy your product or service. If you are having a hard time moving away from features try listing the features on a paper and next to each one list at least one benefit. For instance, if you are selling a vacuum cleaner a feature is the motor power, a benefit of a stronger motor is the number of debris that can be picked up in a shorter amount of time. When you find the benefits and use them in your direct mail you sell more.

This list could really keep on going, but we have hit in the five major areas. Have you made any of these mistakes or others? What else would you include in this list? We all make mistakes from time to time. The most important thing is to learn from them, to make your direct mail better. It’s time to make some great direct mail! Are you ready? Need help? Send us your design in a PDF and we will review it for potential problems. You can reach us at