If you are doing direct mail, you can cut costs

So you'd very much like to cut your mailing costs, if possible?

But you don't want to drop revenue. You don't want to lose market share. And you certainly don't want to negatively impact your customer relationships.

Well, there are a few things worth considering.

1. Think again about email

OK, it's true, email is not always ideal for initial prospecting. But that does not mean it should not be used at all.

For follow-up communications, email can be the best choice.

In conjunction with an initial direct mail piece, email can work well - say, for a reminder contact.

For renewals, maybe try email first and only invest in mail for the people on your database who are very slow to renew.

2. Provide a PURL for response

Personal URLs are likely to increase your response rate and therefore cut the cost of your follow-up mailing. And PURLs also make it easier for people to refer a friend.

3. Let them choose the channel

Can you introduce a 'preference centre' on your website? If so, customers and members will then find it easy to let you know how they want to be communicated with. Every time anyone chooses email or SMS, you save heaps.

4. Make sure you are 'spot on' with your list cleaning

Prior to mailing, you need to be full bottle with the latest tools for making your list 100% up-to-date. Your mail house should be able to advise. And watch the timing on this. If you clean your list two weeks before mailing, almost certainly changes will happen in the intervening time. You'll end up annoying people (and wasting money) by mailing to them when they have only just unsubscribed.

5. Work harder at identifying segments that won't respond

It's terribly obvious, but a great way to save is to avoid mailing people who are not going to respond! Ongoing testing is essential. Be diligent in continually testing segments and sub segments. If you are not testing, you are not really doing direct marketing. And if your management won't allow you to test, maybe it's better for them to drop direct and invest money in something else. Perhaps solariums.