Direct Mail Marketing

11 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Direct Mail Vendor

June 26, 2018
Author
Rachel Wedlund

Direct mail software is one of the most effective marketing tools available to your team. In fact, postcard marketing continues to get better response rates than most digital efforts, according to the Direct Marketing Association.
However, it can be challenging for digital first businesses to realize the full potential of direct mail. To avoid the pain of extra costs bleeding ROI and the disappointment of poor campaign performance, ask the following questions when choosing a direct mail vendor or software.  

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Things to Ask When Choosing a Direct Mail Vendor

  1. How can you help integrate my direct mail campaigns with my other marketing efforts? Omnichannel is the name of the game when it comes to direct mail marketing. While direct mail is a killer channel all on its own, numerous studies show that integrated multi-channel campaigns boost response rates.
  2. What marketing automation platforms do you integrate with? To automate direct mail for a true omnichannel strategy, you’ll want to fully integrate your direct mail service with your marketing automation platform. Inkit currently integrates with HubSpot, Drip, Iterable and Sailthru. Let us know if you’ve got a direct mail integration on your wish list.
  3. What direct mail formats do you handle? Do you want to send postcards, letter mail or something else entirely? Not all direct mail vendors handle all formats, and those that do may not handle them all well. At Inkit, we specialize in data-driven postcard marketing. (Pro tip: Postcards garner a higher average response rate than mail delivered in envelopes).
  4. What is the total cost, including postage? Before signing on the dotted line with a direct mail vendor, make sure you completely understand the costs. Nothing will kill your ROI like unforeseen fees. The prices some software providers show on their websites don’t include every part of the job. Before choosing a direct mail vendor, make sure you know whether the quoted pricing includes things like postage, color printing, personalization, design, customer support and marketing automation integrations.
  5. How fast do you print and send mail? Historically, speed-to-market has been a huge challenge for direct mail marketers. Direct mail just hasn’t been a good fit for real-time behavioral marketing because of the significant amount of time needed to print and mail a postcard. Inkit has modernized the direct mail process, allowing us to print your mailers almost instantaneously when you hit “send.”
  6. Will you tell me what works in direct mail marketing? What works in direct mail is different than what works in email and social media. If you don’t have much experience creating direct mail content, make sure your direct mail vendor is able to point you in the right direction. At Inkit, we provide tons of direct mail tips on our blog and you can always reach out to our customer support team for guidance.
  7. Do your offer direct mail A/B split testing? It is important to run A/B tests on direct mail just as it is with any other channel. Check out our direct mail split test tips here.
  8. Are there minimum batch sizes and volume limits? Old school direct mail vendors required huge batch sizes, making the channel largely inaccessible to small- and medium-size businesses—and even large businesses wanting to run highly targeted campaigns. Inkit doesn’t impose any minimum batch sizes or volume limits.
  9. What kind of customer support is available? When you select any marketing software provider, we highly recommend making sure customer support is available. No matter how savvy you are, you will surely have questions at some point. All of our paid plans include email support, and Inkit’s business and enterprise clients have dedicated account managers.
  10. Do you require me to use any third-party direct mail software? Some direct mail vendors are really just printers. You’ll need to work with third parties to actually design your mailers. With Inkit, you don’t need any other software to create or send a postcard. In fact, you don’t even need your own mailing list. However, we recommend integrating Inkit with your marketing automation platform or CRM to truly automate the process.
  11. Who are your customers, and what successes are they having with your direct mail platform? Ask the direct mail companies on your shortlist whether they’ve worked with businesses like yours. You will benefit from a direct mail partner who knows what type of direct mail works in your industry. At Inkit, we work with all types of businesses, but many of our customers are online-based businesses such as e-commerce retail, subscription and service companies. Contact us to request case studies to learn about our customers’ direct mail wins.
  12. Asking direct mail software providers these 11 questions can help set you up for success. But you may also want to ask questions specific to your business and marketing concerns. Don’t settle on a direct mail vendor until you are confident in their capability to help you achieve your marketing goals.
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Ready to captivate your customers?
Send personalized direct mail automatically based on customer actions.
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