How Many Direct Mail Pieces Should I Send?

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Mailings for small business owners

Recently a mechanic, who owns his own garage, decided to improve his client base by hiring a specialist in European imports. This mechanic is a fairly savvy businessman, so he knew he had to get the word out as quickly and efficiently as possible. He wanted to see the results.

The mechanic decided that direct mail pieces would be his best option. On one hand, he wanted to send out as many mail pieces as he could. He also wanted to make a lasting impression on his potential new customers. What should he do? As I see it, he has two options.

Number one, this mechanic could do one massive mailing. This would definitely cover a lot of ground. The number of customers who received a mailer would be high, and he might even be able to increase the regional footprint his business is able to service.

Option number two is to go with a smaller quantity of pieces but to do multiple mailings. In this case, our mechanic might have to be more strategic about who received his mail. Fewer customers would be reached, but the ones he did reach would receive multiple contacts.

Which option will serve this man’s business better?

It’s possible that sheer numbers will help increase his business. That does seem logical, but in the end, it doesn’t match the facts. Research has shown that multiple pieces in small quantities outperform a large, one-time mailer.

Why? Repeat Impressions. Picture yourself going through your mail. Somewhere in the middle of the stack, you come across a well designed, well-written piece of direct mail. You might even think you’ll be able to use this service. So you save the mail. Time passes, and what happens? If you don’t act on this mail right away, chances are you’ll forget about it. It will likely be thrown out. One impression, however good it was, is often not enough.

Now let me present a different scenario. You still receive that first well done direct mail, but after a few weeks, a new one arrives. Then another. If these mailings are spaced properly (you don’t want to annoy customers), you have made multiple positive impressions. You have had several chances to connect with them. Believe me, this method is highly effective.

Your next question might be, exactly how much is a “small quantity?” A few hundred? Several thousand? Again, research suggests a rule of thumb. Mailing around 1,400 pieces provides a critical mass of positive responses. Several mailings of this size can give a good foundation on which to build or increase the size of your business. Take advantage of this opportunity.

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