People don’t talk about direct mail as much as they used to, but that’s not to say it’s not still an effective marketing tactic…if done right. 

But what leads to direct mail success? Should you even be doing it? 

Whether you’re on the fence or full-speed ahead, steer clear of these common direct mail mistakes:

Mistake #1: You’ve already ruled out direct mail, and there’s no turning back 

First and foremost, if you’ve given up on direct mail completely because “no one reads that anymore,” that could be a big mistake — and a big missed opportunity. 

Yes, at one point in time, the direct mail world was extremely saturated. And it got to the point where consumers would just throw those pieces away, without so much as even glancing at them. Plus, with email on the rise (a free tactic), it was hard not to gravitate more towards that medium. 

But now, the reverse has happened. The email marketing world is now extremely saturated, and the direct mail world…not as much. People aren’t receiving as much direct mail as they once used to, which means, if you send customers and/or prospects a direct mail piece now, they’re much more likely to actually read it. 

Times have changed, so don’t make the mistake of clinging on to what “used” to be. 

Mistake #2: You’re sending your direct mail pieces to everyone (all members and/or all prospects) 

A lot of people steer clear of direct mail simply because of cost. There is a fee associated with direct mail, whereas email is free. Why spend money when you can get the same message across without having to spend a penny?

Well first, just know that direct mail can always be combined with email; it doesn’t have to be a “one or the other” approach. But also know that when planning a direct mail campaign, you can always (and most of the time, should) segment your audience. If you’re promoting your annual conference, for example, you don’t have to send a direct mail piece to all of your members. You would certainly want to promote it to all of your members via email, but for the direct mail component, maybe you only send that to your “power members”  — those who are the most engaged with your association or chamber — who aren’t already registered. Or, you could send it to the people who attended the year prior, since you know they had the budget and interest to attend it once before…meaning there’s a good chance they might have it again this year. 

There’s a way to make direct mail work at a reasonable cost. Don’t assume it’s too expensive. You’d be surprised! 

Mistake #3: You’re not tracking the success of your campaigns 

If you’re sending direct mail pieces, but don’t have a way to track the effectiveness of those campaigns, you could potentially be throwing money down the drain. Or, maybe you’re getting better results than you even realize. 

But wouldn’t you like to know?

Before launching a direct mail campaign, always make sure you have a way to track its performance. That may mean including a special discount code that only appears on that direct mail piece. Or, it may mean including a unique URL that links to a landing page designed specifically for that campaign. Depending on what you want people to do, it could even be as simple as including a unique hashtag. 

There are multiple ways to go about this, but just remember: What cannot be measured cannot be managed. Make sure you have a way to track success. 

Want more ideas for marketing your association or chamber, from website marketing to email marketing to social media marketing and beyond? Check out our free guide below!