Direct Mail Frequency?

I sent a few private messages about this one but thought it’d be an interesting topic to see what people tend to do.

Lets create a hypothetical situation to make numbers easy. 10,000 homes in your target area. What’s your plan?

Hit them every 5 weeks? 7 weeks? 10 weeks?

After you hit every home do you take time off before restarting? Do you change your type of mailings between cycles?

Just curious how people attack direct mail.

I’m about to begin my own direct mail campaign and am trying to figure out an optimal way to approach factors such as frequency and content.

As we re-enter our market, after being out a year, we’re taking a stab at the USPS EDDM program…

We are watching our costs, so we’re doing it ourselves, as I believe I know enough to be dangerous…lol…

I cna create a decent oversize postcard and have it printed up at a decent price…

I’ve already determined which carrier routes I want to hit, so we’re going to drop them in two, 5K segments, 2 weeks apart…

We’ll hit them again 5 weeks later, with a different offer…

So for 21¢ we hope to generate a 3% return and net a couple of K that should triple itself in a yers time…

We’ll see…

Why so many at once?..Divide your area into so many zones…Then cycle through the zones and repeat…That should create a steady flow versus the peaks and valleys by doing just 2 groups…

Royce I’m starting to listen to you, it’s kinda scary :slight_smile: in another thread you laid down a nice six week repeating spread that i liked… but,

I’m a virgin I’ve NEVER advertised, so, don’t listen to me. :wink:

Now out of all the non-advertising I’ve done, the moneys all in MAGNETS I tell ya!!
They really did work well! :smiley:
hmm whos running this place tebow? v i r gi in

$ for $, over the long run, frequency will get you much further than reach. Hitting the same houses over and over again will generate more customers. One time ROI, a blanket mail will do it, but if you are in the game for the long run (and you should be), then setting a bit of a different marketing goal is key.

Most direct marketing campaigns blanket the whole area, hitting current customers as well as non-customers. Activating your current customers to order again is always good, but sending out database direct mail is a far better way to interact with them. Gaining new customers will create more profits over the long term, hands down.

Whatever market you are in, India to Indiana, frequency is king in terms of marketing. Any marketing 101 text will tell you that. If you hit the same area 3 times in 3 weeks, you are going to gain more address in that area as customers. Once you have them as customers, it is much easier to work with them in terms of marketing. Delivery areas are not unlimited, so increasing the number of address you have who order from you is key to long term growth.

My answer is Frequency & Reach are both important and finding the balance is the key. However, Reaching out too far without the proper Frequency = WASTE MARKETING DOLLARS.
I will borrow an analogy from Seth Godins book “Permission Marketing” which I would recommend grabbing cheap copy from Amazon.

“If you were given 100 seeds with 100 pales of water and enough water in each pale to water each seed once would you plant all 100 seeds and water each one once or would you be more successful if you planted 25 seeds and used all of the water on those 25 seeds”?

The clear answer is Frequency is more important than reach.

However, you must not abandon reach and continue reaching more customers while maintaining frequency. The above analogy does not assume that you are able to acquire another 100 pales (or for our purposes MORE MONEY TO MARKET WITH).

If you have 15,000 addresses in your market and you only mail the closest 5,000 20 times that is too much and you will be ignoring a large amount of other prospects that you could have reached with frequency.
I would say that a customer should be hit a MINIMUM of 3-5 times before reaching out further.

In addition to the importance of both frequency and reach we CANNOT forget TWO MORE Fundamental and EQALLY as important factors when it comes to direct mail.

  1. Consistency: If you are not consistency executing mailings (or other marketing efforts) your results will diminish. Frequency is not consistency.

  2. Your Design: You can have the ultimate plan and strategy of frequency and reach but if you do have a great design with a great or value perceived offer/s and a call to action, it doesn’t matter how many times the customer gets the ad and your results will diminish.

  3. Strategic Design: In addition to having a pretty looking piece of artwork, we cannot forget the multipurpose of our advertisements. Yes the main purpose is to get them to buy from you. However, we should also be trying to get them to buy the items that you make you the most money or are so unique to you that they cannot get anywhere else and will have to come back to you to purchase. On a menu this is when menu engineering would be key, on a postcard this is when taking your highest gross profit dollar items or key unique items, trying to brand them and sell the heck out of them is key. The more of these items you sell, the more money you make and that’s the name of the game. Higher sales with a healthier bottom line.


Josh Davis
Vice President of Sales
Mail Shark
2325 Perkiomen Ave
Reading, PA 19606
Direct: 484-948-1611
Fax: 610-621-5241

Nice post Josh. If there is one thing I see operators do inefficiently on a regular basis it is choosing reach over frequency.

You mentioned Seth Godin’s book, Permission Marketing. I also can’t recommend it enough. For anyone interested, you can get the first 4 chapters for free here.

Interesting stuff.

I would be curious to here some thoughts from the direct mail gurus on cycling mailings to markets that do not have postal delivery… i.e. when you do bulk mailing it is by full zip code not carrier route. Is it possible to split zip codes and do something like the 6 week cycle?

I can mail to one zip code which is PO boxes in our downtown post office and reaches businesses and residents. This is about 55% of the addresses in our area. The other post office is about another 25% and is all boxes too. The remaining 20% is delivery to cluster boxes.

Total of all addresses is about 10,500. However… since I have two businesses and a home, I have three mailing addresses… there is some duplication in reach.

Is it just a co-incidence or what?..I have not seen a pizza menu in my mail box for months and then last night I get 2 from the chains in my area…I have always favoured spreading out distribution but both chains here do it all at once…

Hi bodegahwy,
Within a 3.16 mile radius from your physical location here are the numbers. (**This is based on the address from your FB page, I am not psychic, ha)
**Note there is one carrier route that is partially inside this radius but partially way outside.

There are 10,732 Total Addresses in 3 separate zip codes of (80477, 80487 & 80488)

• 9,215 Residential
• 1,517 Businesses (You can choose to remove businesses)

Out of the 9,215 Total Residential here is the breakdown

• 6,087 Residential PO Boxes,
• 2,261 Single Family Homes and
• 867 Apartments

Now with regards to bulk mailing we never mail by zip code. 100% of the time we mail by carrier route regardless of type of route, eg. Below

  • B = Post Office Box
  • C = City Delivery
  • H = Highway Contract
  • R = Rural Route Delivery

In your specific case there is a large quantity of PO Box routes, but you do not have to mail to them all at once just because they are classified as PO Boxes. For example in the 80477 zip code there are actually about 60 different PO Box Routes totalling 5,141 addresses. Based on postal guidelines you have to mail a minimum of 200 addresses at a time. On our program we would have to mail a minimum of about 500 each drop.

So to answer your question you can very easily take this market of Physical Residential addresses, Residential PO boxes and Business and divide them over 6 Weeks +/- whatever fits your budget.

With regards to duplication with reach, there is of course the potential for duplication if you have 3 completely separate addresses. I have to assume this is the exception as opposed to the norm?? That said your option is to remove businesses all together or mail the businesses with the mindset that although you as the owner got a mailer to your house, your employees at the office will get the mailer and potentially order lunch together or in your case get fired if they order from someone else, ha. Hope this helps.

Josh Davis
Vice President of Sales
Mail Shark
4125 New Holland Road
Mohnton, PA 19540
Direct: 484-948-1611
Mobile: 484-269-3715
Fax: 610-621-5241