Top 10 Things Needed in a Successful Direct Mail Campaign

These are the top ten things that you need in any direct mail marketing piecesÂ…we’ll use a restaurant in this example:

1. Format

A picture only aids if it is compelling and aids in telling the story. NOT a picture of an empty restaurant or dining room or your logo. If you have a photo of food or people make sure it demonstrates they are enjoying themselves.

2. Headline

This is often the major flaw of the restaurant marketing I see. All of your marketing needs to have a strong, offer based headline that answers the question in the guests mind “What’s in it for me?”

One option is including the offer in your headline, and on the delivery address side. the more outrageous or bold, the better.

3. Personalization

Tests show that this will increase response by 30%. When you speak directly to your audience you’ll get better results. When you can put someone’s name in the headline it will get better results.

It also means you should segment your lists and match the message to each list.

Existing guests should get a different mailing than those that came from a purchased list. It’s easier to get existing guests to come back to celebrate their birthday and as a result it requires less sales effort. Often a well designed postcard is good enough.

However with a new guest that hasn’t visited your restaurant before it requires more sales effort. That’s hard to do effectively with one postcard. That’s why I advocate a full blown sales letter with first class stamp with the personalized approach.

4. Call to Action

You need to give them a specific direction. Tell them exactly what to do and how to do it.

Sometimes this is combined it with the deadline below. “Bring in the enclosed certificate before XXX to receive your FREE Dinner “.

If you are mailing to a cold list of people that have not been to restaurant before you should give them directions. That’s why you should include a map to your restaurant on the back of the certificate so people end up somewhere else when they intended to come to your restaurant.

5. Story

When you justify your offer, typically your response will go up. Engage the reader. Use your own voice, as if you were talking to a familiar friend. Talk about how your restaurant is different/better than all the other options available to them what makes you standout, unique.

The reason is that once they try your restaurant you know they’ll come back. It saves you hiring some fancy New York advertising agency. It doesn’t have to be a complicated reason you just need one.

6. Deadline

Everything has deadlines to need a valid offer. I recommend you feature an expiry date in large print and underlined, designed to stand out in the middle of the postcard. On a birthday anytime during their birthday month is usually very effective.

7. Offer

Test until you find a couple of offers that make people want to respond. Keep in mind the long term value of a customer. If it costs you a $10 offer ($3.50 if you consider you are only paying for the food) to get a new customer, it’s still worth it.

Once you have them in your database, you can get them onto the newsletter list and get them coming back again and again. Once they are on your database and a regular guest it shouldn’t take as big of an offer to get them to come in.

8. Testimonials

What others say about you is at least 10 times more believable than what you say about yourself. Use testimonials on all of your restaurant’s marketing. Why keep your happy guests’ positive opinion of you a secret?

9. Ability to Track Response

Make sure you keep detailed numbers for all your promotions. Not having accurate statistics may mean that you are making marketing decisions on emotion rather than the facts. That is a problem if you make decisions based on a few people instead of your overall results.

Track each of your restaurant’s marketing pieces using the same formula each time. Track the changes you make to each subsequent piece, making only one change at a time so you know what works and what doesn’t.

Once you find something that works, keep using it until you notice a change in response.

10. Guarantee

Come up with a big, bold and solid guarantee as a marketing selling point. If a customer is unhappy it’s in your best interest to make the customer happy anyway. By promoting a guarantee you just get added mileage from something you would have done anyway.

As long as you are providing a good quality product the amount of people that will take advantage of you are very small compared to the benefits of using it in your restaurant’s marketing material.