The Envelope – More Important than Ever: What an Academy Awards fail means for your direct mail

academy_award

Last night’s Best Picture award presentation at the Academy Awards was cringe-worthy after finding out the first winner announced, La La Land, didn’t actually win, and due to an envelope snafu, the real winner was Moonlight.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm responsible for the tabulation of the Oscar ballots and the envelopes announcing the winners, apologized in an official statement, saying, “We sincerely apologize to ‘Moonlight,’ ‘La La Land,’ Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.”

This just illustrates that even when you plan, put processes and procedures in place, and think you have your envelopes going to the right people; things can still go wrong.  We’re only human, after all.

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That doesn’t mean that mistakes can’t be minimized. When putting together a direct mail campaign, are you doing everything you can to make sure you are getting the best return on your investment? You’re reaching the right people, at the right time?  Here’s 6 of the most common direct mail mistakes that can be avoided with a little preparation:

  1. Not having a goal. Do you know what you want to achieve? What are your metrics and key performance indicators?  What does success look like? What conversion rate are you hoping to achieve?
  2. Having the right list. Who are you mailing to? Is this a purchased list that may contain questionable data? Are you targeting the right audience based on the goal? A segmented in-house list with accurate data is the best way to ensure you are reaching the right people.
  3. Make sure you have an offer. Are you giving your recipient a reason to read your piece? A call to action that will get them to open the envelope or respond? The offer should speak to the needs and wants of the audience you are sending to, and be compelling.
  4. It needs to look good. You may have mastered Microsoft Publisher, but that doesn’t mean you can produce a direct mail piece that will get a response. Make sure you use a creative designer that is knowledgeable in good design, and has an understanding of how a layout corresponds with positive responses.
  5. You need to test often. Set aside 10% of your mailing to use a different headline or offer, so you can test responses. Maybe the offer or message you’ve been using needs to change.
  6. Make sure you follow up. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is spending the time and money on a direct mail piece, and then have no follow-up program in place.

You can significantly improve your direct mail efforts by making sure you don’t make these 6 mistakes. If you would like to know more about how you can create a better direct mail campaign, download the NextPage free ebook, The NextPage Guide to Direct Mail Success.