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5 Common Challenges in Direct Mail Advertising and How to Overcome Them

5 common challenges in direct mail advertising and how to overcome them

The idea behind direct mail is simple: reach out to existing and potential customers via a printed document that arrives in their mailbox. However, the reality behind every successful direct mail campaign is more complex. Most businesses encounter a variety of obstacles during their first mail campaigns.

In this article, we will examine five common direct mail challenges and the best ways to overcome them. Our knowledgeable staff at Troi Mailing Services are happy to answer any additional questions that you may have.

Challenge #1: File Quality

File quality and data transfer are two challenges faced by many businesses. Ideally, you should be able to quickly transfer multiple, large, high-quality files to your printer. 

Sending dozens of small piecemeal files can be time-consuming for both you and your vendor, resulting in unnecessary delays. However, sending a single lower-quality design file is equally problematic. It may transfer faster, but the quality will be far worse.

Low-quality files lead to poor-quality artwork and designs, which is bad for your business. It makes your company look unprofessional and can be off-putting for customers. Quality means everything when it comes to direct mail marketing.

Before you transfer your “print-ready” files to Troi Mailing Services, ensure that all images are at a resolution of at least 200 DPI (300 DPI is best). We recommend high-resolution PDFs from Adobe InDesign and Illustrator.

At Troi Mailing Services, we work with our clients to ensure that your direct mail piece’s design and artwork are high quality and visually impactful.

Challenge #2: Outdated Databases

It is imperative to have an up-to-date database for customers and recipients. An updated, high-quality customer data or marketable database is essential for a successful direct mail campaign. After all, you need to know exactly who is receiving your mailers to know how to best market to them.

Furthermore, it’s impossible to add personalization variables to your campaign if you don’t trust your data.

Maintaining an accurate customer base is challenging, even with modern CRM tools and marketing automation platforms. Furthermore, buying a list can come with its own hurdles, as it’s difficult to perfectly guarantee sourced data accuracy on your own. Plus, some of that data may be outdated by the time you’re ready to launch your campaign.

At Troi Mailing Services, we provide two database services to help keep your mailing list up to date:

  1. Using Canada Post address validation software, we identify and remove duplicate and invalid addresses. We will provide a duplicate address file and invalid address file that you can use to clean up your database.
  2. NCOA (“National Change of Address”) processing uses the postal database to identify clients who have moved or passed away in the last five years. This process should be done periodically to keep your client address records current and accurate.

We also offer a merge/purge service that identifies and isolates duplicate records within databases to eliminate data redundancy. This reduces costs associated with mailing duplicates to the same recipient. Mailing duplicates can also be seen as sloppy.

Challenge #3: Keeping Costs Down

When done correctly, direct mail can be an incredibly cost-effective marketing tool. Unfortunately, those new to direct mail advertising often make preventable mistakes that come with a large price tag. 

Conversely, others cut corners in ways that ultimately damage their campaigns. For example, although it may be cheaper to use low-quality paper, doing so can impair your credibility.

When you work with an experienced printing and mailing company like Troi Mailing Services, you benefit from our wealth of knowledge. We know the best strategies for keeping costs low without compromising the quality of your campaign.

Planning ahead, choosing the right format, keeping your mailing list up to date, and personalizing mailers can also help to keep production costs low. To manage postage costs, opt for standard-sized mailers and affordable postage options. 

Remember, too, that duplicate addresses are a waste of money.

Working with a one-stop print and mail shop is another way to ensure a cost-effective mail campaign. Troi Mailing handles every aspect of your campaign (we can even help with design).

Challenge #4: Tracking

Yes, it is possible and very important to track direct mail accurately. Tracking your direct mail campaigns allows you to know if your campaign is actually working. You need to track your results so you can calculate your return on investment. We offer a free ROI calculator here.

Including custom codes, personalized URLs, dedicated landing pages, and QR codes on your direct mailers can help you track your results more easily. These features enable you to keep up with each customer’s interactions and connections.

Understanding the successes and shortcomings of a direct mail campaign is crucial; however, many businesses have no idea where to begin. Troi Mailing Services can help. Ultimately, direct mail success can be measured and analyzed more precisely than other mediums.

Challenge #5: Testing

Testing plays an essential role in achieving consistent and reliable direct mail marketing results that meet your goals. Through robust or simple testing, you accumulate invaluable data that allows you to identify weaknesses and strengths in your strategy. You can then refine your campaigns to increase the likelihood of success.

Without testing, you leave the success of your campaign up to chance. It’s thus crucial to be testing continuously. However, this is a challenge for many busy business owners.

Fortunately, Troi Mailing can help you run your A/B tests and analyze the resulting data. Initial testing works best by creating two versions with just one element changed. By cross-examining the data, we can identify trends, patterns, and preferences that will inform your future direct mail campaigns. 

We also offer digital variable printing, which simplifies customizing printed documents. Using variable printing, we can personalize a document with unique content to meet the needs of your target segments. Consequently, variable imaging is an excellent way to conduct A/B testing.

Contact Troi Mailing Services for Direct Mail Fulfillment in Toronto

If you can overcome these challenges, your direct mail campaign will be positioned for success. Luckily, Troi Mailing can help. After more than 30 years of direct mail and fulfilment experience, we can offer comprehensive solutions that will make your next direct mail campaign easy and effective. No matter the challenge, we have the solution.

To learn more about direct mail fulfilment in Toronto, call Troi Mailing Services at 1-866-486-0423 or contact us here.

About: Seamus Barton
Seamus Barton - Author
Seamus Barton joined Troi Mailing Services in 2014 after graduating from York University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Writing. As a manager of print and direct mail solutions, he sees how words play an important role in personalizing any experience. Seamus’ passion for writing motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that supports each Client’s individual needs. Please chat with Seamus about commercial printing and direct mailing campaigns, or about how to marry digital and physical strategies for optimal Smartmail Marketing success.

You can connect with Seamus on LinkedIn or by calling Troi Mailing Services at 1-866-486-0423 or via email at Read his latest article featured in Direct Marketing Magazine on “Dimensional Mail: Marketing’s Buffet Lobster

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