Don’t be daunted by the execution. The practical steps that you’ll need to take to design, print and distribute your mailshot are more straightforward than you imagine. Plus, there’s plenty of help available to ensure you get the best possible results.
How do you actually create a mailshot and get it out for a direct campaign? In practice, you have several options: there’s certainly nothing to stop you taking a DIY approach and doing all the work yourself, particularly if you’ve got very specific ideas and want maximum control; equally, you could hand over the work to a specialist; the halfway house is to use online tools such as Royal Mail’s MailshotMaker, which walk you through the process of creating your mailshot.
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The DIY option
If you’re going it alone, you’ll need to design your leaflet and flyer so that it looks professional and conveys the information you want to get across in a way that captures people’s attention. Your business may have in-house designers who are capable of doing that, but it’s unlikely they’ll have much experience of this sort of work, so you may need to hire a professional who can follow your brief while providing expert advice.
You will certainly need to commission a printer who can actually produce your materials, and it’s important to discuss your needs carefully in order to get the right level of service. For example, printers offer both ‘litho’ and digital printing – both have pros and cons, with the former particularly suited to larger print runs, and the latter more appropriate for shorter runs. As a very rough rule of thumb, think less than versus more than 500.
Next, consider distribution. How will you get your material to all the people on your mailing list? One option is to hire temporary staff to spend the day stuffing and addressing envelopes. Alternatively, you could use a professional fulfilment house. Either way, you’ll need to consider your postage options.
Most small and medium-sized enterprises will get better results if they work with a professional service to create and distribute their mailshot. That’s not to say you can’t go it alone, but the complexities of doing so will feel prohibitive for many SMEs.
It’s possible to hand over the entire job to someone else, of course. But you understand your business better than anyone and a service such as Royal Mail’s Mailshot Maker effectively offers an all-in-one-tool that will walk you through the process and offer help and advice along the way. Look for a service that makes it easy to design your mailshot – with template designs you can adapt to your business, for example. Consider the quality of printing on offer and the different options available for sizing and format.
In addition, you may also need access to mailing lists and advice on who to target with your mailshot. Finally, you need cost-effective and reliable distribution – a service that will ensure your mailshot actually gets to your target audience and at a reasonable price.
Bringing it altogether
Working alone or with a specialist service, it’s crucial that your mailshot does the best possible job of representing your business and what it can offer potential customers. It needs to deliver your message concisely, but in such a way that it actually gets read. It needs to support the image you’re trying to create – of a high quality business – rather than undermine it. And it needs to connect personally with your audience.
Inevitably, you won’t get it exactly right first time. A crucial part of any marketing campaign is measuring the results. Over time, you’ll find out what works for your business and what is less successful. Then you can fine-tune your campaigns accordingly.