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Five Mistakes That Will Doom Your Direct Mail Campaign

Justin Restaino
Oct 27, 2015

When you use direct mail as a marketing strategy, you typically invest a lot of money upfront. There’s the cost of the mailing list, perhaps the expense of the graphic designer, the price of the mailer itself, and of course, the money spent on postage and handling. Because you are making such a significant investment, you want the best results you can get. To accomplish this, we advise you to avoid these common pitfalls:

1. Lack of personalization
A one-size-fits-all letter is going to quickly find its way to the trash can. Instead, you want to use personalization—“Dear Jane” rather than “Dear Homeowner.” This leaves a far more favorable impression on the recipient than a generic-looking form letter.

2. Wrong mailing list
Most marketers would say that a mailing list is the most important factor in a direct mail campaign. Buy your list from a reputable source—or use your own contacts database—to make sure that your mailer ends up in the hands of people who matter. For instance, a marketing letter designed to attract first-time homebuyers is wasted on people who already own their own homes. Keep in mind that by over-thinking your mailing list by narrowing your criteria too much you could end up with over-saturated/less responsive clients, and thus, the wrong mailing list.

3. No call-to-action (CTA)
If you fail to use a call-to-action, you’ve wasted a significant opportunity. Your mail piece should have a clear CTA, requesting that the recipient take a specific action after reading the letter. This could be something as simple as asking them to call you to set up a free consultation or to return a postage-paid mailer.

4. Unprofessional
Have you ever received something in the mail that looked like your grade school child designed it? Remember that appearance matters. While you don’t necessarily have to hire a graphic designer, you do want to send out letters or postcards that are professional and attractive.

5. Create benefit-driven copy
Rather than inundating your readership with a list of every service that you provide (feature-driven copy), you want to make it clear to your recipients how they can benefit from a loan. For instance, you might mention that they can save thousands of dollars, go on that European vacation they’ve been dreaming about, or have a backyard for the kids to play in once they own their own home. Think about the reasons that your typical client retains your services and make sure to highlight these benefits in your copy.

When designing your piece, it is best to rely on the experience of a professional. After all, their job is to create the most effective approach for your campaign. All too often, pieces are built without the advice of an expert to ensure the wrong steps aren’t taken, so don’t hesitate to rely on their expertise to review your approach.

K. Justin Restaino is vice president of Titan List & Mailing Services Inc. For more than 15 years, he has led Titan’s Mortgage Division, helping lenders of all capacities grow their businesses utilizing targeted direct mail. With a specialized focus in refinance and purchase markets, Restaino has the insight for proper data and mail application for success. He may be reached by phone at (800) 544-8060, ext. 204 or e-mail

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. 

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