5 Questions to Ask a Direct Mail Agency

Scads of companies say they provide direct mail marketing assistance. You have full-service marketing agencies, who do a little bit of everything. You have freelancers, one-man shops you offer personalized service at low prices. And you have dedicated direct mail marketing agencies. How can you know who can really help you get results? Start by asking these questions:

  1. Where do you begin with a direct mail campaign? They should respond with a question in turn: What do you want to accomplish with this campaign? If they start rattling on about who will design the piece and what it will do, they aren’t listening to you. A great direct mail marketer will take the time to understand your goals and expectations. They’ll help make sure those are realistic. Only after understanding that should they start talking about nuts and bolts topics.
  2. Do you do all your work in-house? Some companies will outsource various bits and pieces of the direct mail campaign-some might not have a designer on staff, others might want a specialized copywriter. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if they outsource, but ask for a sample of the designer’s work. Make sure it’s in line with your aesthetic and the message you want to get across.
  3. Where do you acquire your lists? This is a big one. Unless you’re providing a list of your own, nothing will make or break your campaign faster than list quality. If they’re purchasing a list, make sure it’s from a reputable source. Make sure you understand if you’re leasing or buying the names (in other words, can you use them again or is this a one-time deal). If they’re compiling the list from their own internal data, understand where that information is coming from, how often they update the list and what demographics and psychographics they’re screening for.
  4. How do you measure results? If they start hemming and hawing and telling you that it’s not possible to really track the return of direct mail marketing, run away. Far away. While it’s true you can’t track every last cent, you can still track any number of factors and figure out how those affect your bottom line. That might mean measuring how many people visit a landing page, send a return mailer, call a special phone number, redeem a coupon or dozens of other success metrics. If your direct mail company isn’t interested in measuring results, you shouldn’t be interested in working with them.
  5. Does it feel right? This is the question you have to ask yourself. There are many, many great direct mail companies out there. There are lots of people who are good at what they do. But it ultimately has to be a good fit for you. Make sure they have experience working in your industry, you like the style of their work, and you enjoy being around them. That’s more important than you might think.

By asking the right questions ahead of time, you can make sure you’re working with a direct mail company with your best interests at heart. We’ve love to answer any questions you may have. Get in touch.