Direct Mail Campaigns – B2B, B2C, retail, fundraising

Direct Mail Campaigns – B2B, B2C, retail, fundraising

McCarthy & King Marketing creates and implements full-service direct mail campaigns specifically for lead generation, order generation, retail traffic building and non-profit fundraising.

Direct mail campaigns—————————-

Download your FREE copy of  “Making Snail Mail Work:  13 Lessons in Direct Mail Strategy.”

Request a Creative Critique of your direct mail.

To discuss a campaign or get a quote, call Bob McCarthy at 508-473-8643.


Full-Service Direct Mail Campaigns

Our full-service direct mail campaigns – featuring strategy, creative and production – are designed to achieve measurable results and specific marketing objectives.

We can create solo or multi-touch direct mail campaigns for business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), retail neighborhood marketing and non-profit fundraising.

We also create direct mail survey campaigns to help companies identify key decision-makers and opportunities within target accounts.

Direct Mail Campaigns – step by step

Here’s what’s involved:

  • Step 1 – Identify objective and role in the sales process
  • Step 2 – Create an audience profile
  • Step 3 – Research mailing lists
  • Step 4 – Select test quantities from preferred lists
  • Step 5 – Identify (or create) an offer
  • Step 6 – Select a direct mail format
  • Step 7 – Priortize key selling points
  • Step 8 – Write and design the mailer
  • Step 9 – Print mailer
  • Step 10 – Create landing pages
  • Step 11 – Process mailing lists
  • Step 12 – Address and mail
  • Step 13 – Track results and adjust

For an expanded discussion, read below

For pricing information, check out Direct Mail Campaign Pricing.


Direct mail continues to deliver results  

We’ve seen a major shift in recent years towards online marketing.  To be sure, the web gives marketers many new marketing tools.

But direct marketing hasn’t gone away.  Not by a long shot.

Marketers still see direct mail as a powerful way to reach people on a personalized one-to-one basis.

They appreciate direct mail’s unique ability to get their message through the doors and into the hands of their best prospects – people who actually buy what they sell.

With direct mail, if you do your list research correctly, every lead you generate is pre-qualified.

Getting started

Not all direct mail is the same.  In fact, your direct mail campaign will vary greatly depending on your objective.

For example, a campaign designed to generate sales leads is very different from a campaign designed to generate immediate orders.  The format is different, the offer is different, the entire message platform is different.

Here are some of the direct marketing objectives:

  • Lead generation
  • Order generation (including subscriptions and memberships)
  • Retail traffic building
  • Non-Profit fundraising

As you get started with your campaign, be sure you’re clear about this first.

Read our Case Studies.

It starts with the mailing list

It’s probably not news to hear that the key to every direct marketing program is the mailing list.  But finding the right list for your business or marketing campaign is no simple matter.

As a starting point, it’s important to understand the distinction between your House List and any outside list you may rent, purchase or build.

Your House List consists of people with whom you have a relationship – your customers, prospects, people who have requested information or responded to your promotions.

Outside lists are used to find new prospects and customers.  This will require some research – and we can help.

We can help you develop a customer profile, then research both compiled and response lists that may be available to match to that profile.

Read our article, Mailing Lists:  Should you buy, rent or build your own?


Your offer drives response

Other than the list, nothing in direct mail is more important than the offer.  This cannot be an afterthought.  Your offer requires real focus at the beginning of your campaign.

  • For lead generation direct mail, you’ll need free informational offers like white papers, how-to reports, industry research or Q&A reports.[break][break]
  • For order generation direct mail, your offer needs to focus on a mix of pricing options that may include free trial, entry level pricing and premiums.[break][break]
  • For subscription direct mail, your offer is typically a free trial, free issue or some other sampling before purchase.[break][break]
  • For membership direct mail, your offer usually involves some sampling like a guest pass or some level of free access prior to joining.[break][break]
  • For retail direct mail, your offer could be a discount coupon, open house or other special event.[break][break]
  • For non-profit direct mail, your offer will start with the “ask” amounts (the gift levels) but will also include the use of premiums (both front-end premiums sent to everyone and back-end premiums sent only to those who respond).

Learn more about the offer in our Tutorial:  How to Create a Direct Mail Offer


Many choices of direct mail formats

Direct mail offers a wide variety of formats.

Which format you use should be decided not by your personal preferences, but by the application and objective of your campaign.  We can help you decide which format makes the most sense for you.

  • Letter mailers
  • Letter/brochure mailers
  • Letter/survey mailers
  • Postcards
  • Folded self-mailers
  • Multi-page booklets
  • Three-dimensional mailers

All of these formats come in a variety of sizes.

Learn more about Selecting a Direct Mail Format.


Testing is essential to long-term success

While many direct mail campaigns can be successful – i.e., achieve an acceptable response and ROI – with little or no testing, some will only be successful if you test multiple components over time.

The rule of thumb for testing is always test the most important things first.  This means testing your lists and your offers – which can become an an exhaustive process.

Once you have that settled, you can begin to test other elements including format, envelope teaser copy, key selling point, additional inserts, personalization and more.

Read our blog post:  9 Common Excuses for NOT Testing


Response rate expectations

What can you expect for a response rate?  This is one of the most asked questions in our field.

You’ve probably heard that 2% is an average response rate, and, under certain conditions, that is true.  It’s true when you trying to generate leads with a “soft” offer (like a white paper), and you’re using outside prospect lists.

The response rate will be lower – much lower (fractions of 1%) – if instead of generating a lead, you are trying to generate an immediate sale (or donation).

The response rate will be higher if instead of using an outside list, you are using a “house list” of previous responders.

Learn more about Response Rates.


Solo and multi-touch campaigns

Most direct mail campaigns are designed as solo campaigns although, when successful, they can be repeated over an extended period of time.  (Hey, if it’s working, why not expand that success to a wider audience?)

But other campaigns are designed for repeat contact – to reach a specific audience multiple times during a set period of time.

This could be a series of postcards, or a series of sales letters, that deliver different but related messages to your audience.  For example, a series of postcards each focusing on a different application of your product, or each highlighting a different customer story.

For multi-touch campaigns, the goal is as much brand-building as it is response.


The services we offer

McCarthy & King Marketing give you a one-stop solution to your direct marketing needs.  We offer a comprehensive list of services that include:

  • Direct mail strategy
  • Mailing list research/selection/building
  • Offer planning/development
  • Format selection
  • Copywriting/creative
  • Print/mail production
  • Personalization
  • Budgets
  • Timetables
  • Testing strategy
  • Response analysis
  • Post-mailing adjustments

View our Portfolio Slideshow.


What does a direct mail campaign cost?

Your cost will depend on whether you do it yourself or you use a firm like ours.

Clearly you can save a lot of money if you go it alone.  But the risks are higher.

If you are interested in our services, check out Direct Mail Campaign Pricing.

New developments in direct mail

While the fundamentals of direct mail marketing – list, offer, message, copy – have not changed, there have been a number of new developments that can improve response, reduce costs and make direct mail more accessible to more marketers.  These programs and tools are not for everyone, but if you can benefit from them, we can help you:

  • Every Door Direct Mail was introduced by the US Postal Service to encourage more direct mail use by smaller businesses.  This is program is designed for businesses that market to local neighborhoods.[break][break]
  • Personalized URLS (PURLS) are dedicated landing pages that are pre-populated with personalized information before the respondent gets to the page.  This is done by create unique landing page for each recipient of a direct mail or email campaign.[break][break]
  • QR Codes are used to facilitate response using smart phones.  When interested prospects scan the QR code with their smart phones, they are immediately brought to a website or landing page.[break][break]
  • Variable Data Printing (VDP) provides a new level of personalization to your mailings.  With VDP, each mailer can be personalized in multiple ways without any limitation on placement.  In some cases, personalization can be placed within a photograph or other graphic element.[break][break]
  • On Demand Printing allows mailers to send small quantities of personalized mail.  Compared with traditional offset printing which had a set up charge and a minimum quantity charge, On Demand allows you to send just a single mailer.

Get started or learn more

So what’s your next step?  If you’re close to making a move, we’d love to talk.  Call Bob McCarthy at 508-473-8643 or send him an email at

If you’re not there yet, let’s stay in touch.  Please join our mailing list and get all of our updates and articles.

Of course, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.



Learn about Every Door Direct Mail – simple, affordable direct mail for local business.

Can small quantity mailings work?


For a Quick Quote, call Bob McCarthy at 508-473-8643