Allegra - Design • Print • Mail
1806 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, ON K2A 1E2

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Direct Mail Works For Small Business Marketers

By Allegra Carling

Ottawa, ON – What do the most successful small or mid-sized business marketers know when it comes to communicating with their customers and prospects? According to Jim Gillespie, owner of Allegra, they know personalized, relevant marketing messages are the most effective way to build stronger, longer relationships that are necessary for growth and profitability.

“With all of the available choices – print and electronic – direct mail remains the #1 choice in top direct marketers’ bag of tricks,” said Jim Gillespie. For both B2B and B2C communications, direct mail carries many advantages unmatched by other forms of direct advertising.

“Direct mail continues to provide measurable results and noteworthy ROI, thanks to its flexibility in format and ability to deliver targeted, personal and lasting messages,” Jim explained. To be successful, apply the following principles of direct response communications:

  • Target your audience.
  • Craft a worthy offer.
  • Include a call to action.
  • Provide a response vehicle.

Connect With Customers Using Variable Data
Industry statistics vary, but all indicate that personalization greatly enhances direct mail response rates. Personalization at its simplest can be achieved through variable data printing (VDP). A byproduct of digital printing, VDP utilizes digital files and printers to create high-quality reproductions that match those produced by traditional offset processes.

VDP begins with a basic design or template with specific areas that can be altered and an information database that populates the changeable fields. With VDP, the text and even images on your direct mail pieces can be personalized for each recipient in basic or complex ways.

Also, making a positive and measurable impact on direct mail response rates are personalized URLs (PURLs). A PURL takes the proven power of direct mail and marries it with the best that technology brings to the table. A unique URL is created for each direct mail recipient on your list, directing them to a personalized and interactive Web landing page.

The look and feel of the PURL coordinates with the direct mail piece and features a personalized greeting on the landing page. Once logged on to their landing page, the user can access more information about your company’s direct mail offer, request additional information through the mail or even make on-the-spot purchases without having to leave the page. While it sounds highly technical, PURLs are actually easy to create. “Your marketing communications provider can guide you through the process of adding PURLs to your direct mail program,” said Jim Gillespie.

Your List
Your list can make or break your direct mail campaign. If you are not talking to the right person, the message you deliver – no matter how specific – will be meaningless. One of your most valuable business assets is your “house” list.

Why? Customers cost less. “It costs eight times more to obtain a new customer than retain an established one,” Jim Gillespie said. “Your house list is 5 to 10 times more likely to respond to your campaign than any other list. And, it’s free. You own the data, so you can use it as you like without incurring additional costs.”

Your Offer
Once you have your targeted list, choosing the right offer to appeal to your audience may take some time and testing. One of the top 10 mistakes with direct mail is not making a specific offer or request – and expecting the recipients to determine what they’re supposed to do.

Your Creative
After settling on the offer, it’s time to choose a format. Which is best? “It will depend upon your campaign objective,” Jim Gillespie said. The primary formats include: postcard, self-mailer, letter, package with multiple elements, and dimensional enclosure. Your brand, image, message and of course, budget, will help bring focus to the creative development of your direct mail, both in look and copy.

Direct mail consultants agree that the decision to open, save, route or toss a direct mail piece is made in just two or three seconds. It’s essential that you test different lists, offers and creative as time goes on to keep your direct mail working for you.

About Allegra
In addition to marketing consultation, copywriting and graphic design service, Allegra features advanced printing technologies including full-colour printing, digital colour signs, posters and banners, complete finishing services, mailing services, variable data capabilities, promotional products and print management solutions.

Allegra is a member of Allegra Network LLC, one of the world’s largest marketing, print and graphic communications franchises linking more than 500 locations in North America.

Allegra in Ottawa is located at 1806 Carling Avenue. For more information, call (613) 729-3800 or

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Media Contact
Jim Gillespie