By Joe Hughes, Internet Marketer and product creator, EzineArticles
More and more people are returning to direct mail to boost sales and profits. Now, unlike big corporations who can afford to throw marketing dollars into a black hole, the small and medium sized business needs to ensure every dollar has a great return on capital. If you follow these essential seven steps, you will have a profitable campaign.
1) Targeted Customers
The more targeted your customers, the more successful your campaign will be. Don’t fall into the trap of buying any old data, you want real targeted prospects. Think about who your ideal prospect is, write it down, and brainstorm what their characteristics are–where do they live; what type of home do they have; what type of car do they drive; are they married; do they have children; and so on. The more you profile your customer, the better you will be able to target them.
Next, find data that matches your requirements. Only try a small sample of data, no matter what discounts they offer. If the data is good, the provider will be happy for you to try a small sample.
2) It’s a Numbers Game
This is not an element of the campaign, more of a mindset. You must realize that any direct mail campaign is about a small percentage response. Unless you have a pre-existing relationship with the client, don’t expect a big response. Bearing this in mind, you should scale up your campaign so that you are reaching as many targeted customers as possible.
3) The Compelling Offer
This may seem obvious, but it’s a step many people overlook. Make your offer as compelling as possible. Spend time thinking about what prospective customers would want, and more importantly, what would make them act. Try to come up with three or four compelling offers that you can test.
If possible, make the offer time sensitive–you want people to act now. If you can’t do something that compels them to act now, make sure the offer is something they will want to keep until they need your service. This could be a discount coupon as part of the offer, or something similar.
4) Sales Copy that Sells
The biggest mistake people make with direct mail is to send out a beautifully designed mailing piece that informs their prospect, rather than sells to them. I get countless direct mail pieces sent to me telling me about a new store or service. What they forget to do is to sell to me, tell me why I should go to that store, why I would love that product, or how I would be wealthier if I used it.
Use a compelling headline and back it up with a sub headline. Use testimonials where possible, they sell! Make your mailing piece stand out, think about using post-it notes on the mailer itself and, if possible, always have the envelope hand written (or so that it looks hand written).
5) A Call to Action
Tell the prospect what you want them to do. If you want them to order today, tell them that several times through the mailing piece, and inform them why they should do it now. You can offer bonuses if they reply to your offer within a set time frame. It is amazing how many times this vital element is missed.
6) Multiple Lead Capture Formats
If possible, give your prospects multiple ways of performing the action you require. If you are asking them to buy a product, try to give them several options to buy–via the Internet, telephone, or in person.
Ensure that your buying channels work and are available when your customers need it. Don’t have a telephone number that is only available for limited hours.
7) Testing for Perfection
Everything you do should be tested and tracked. You need to identify what lists give what response, what postal days give the optimum result, and which mailing is the most effective.
Your results will get better with each campaign if you keep testing and tweaking your results. I have seen campaigns go from losing money to being massively profitable, because of testing.
If you follow these steps, you will give yourself the best opportunity to help your customers and increase your bottom line.

—Source: Ezine@rticles.com. Joe Hughes is a successful online affiliate marketer and product creator who is passionate about providing free education for people interested in making money online or from business opportunities. Subscribe to his daily email alerts at http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Joe_M_Hughes.