Creating a successful direct mail campaign can be a complicated process. There are many factors to be considered that can affect the success of your mail piece. So, before you lock yourself in your basement office and sit down with your favorite piece of outdated “layout” software, here are 5 key points to consider.

1. Communicate a Clear Message.

At some point, we have all heard the old adage, “you can’t be everything to everyone.” So often, I have clients that want to pack their direct mail promotions with multiple messages in fear that if they focus on just one message, they may lose out on prospects who do not identify with it. This is a valid fear. Every business owner wants their direct mail promotion to appeal to as many new prospects as possible, but when a promotion contains multiple messages, what you are often left with is an ineffective piece that does not communicate any points clearly. In addition, overloading your mailer with too many messages can be overwhelming to the reader.

Do not for one second fool yourself into believing that your business is so darn interesting that people who receive your direct mail piece will rejoice and say, “Hey, what a great company! Man, I would like to take some time out of my day and read about these guys!” If that is your perception about how prospects respond to a direct mail piece, then brother, you are lost. Throughout the day, people are bombarded by advertising. Messages come in from every direction and from multiple media outlets. The goal for your Direct Mail Piece should be to cut through the clutter and give the prospect a comfortable place to land, even if only for a few seconds.

So how do you choose a message that won’t greatly limit your ability to appeal to a mass audience? Well, the first step is to know the needs and wants of your client base. If you are a health club, and you are sending out a fall seasonal mailer, what would appeal to your new prospects? What are they going through currently in their daily lives and what void can your company fill? In the fall, family schedules are back in full gear, kids are back to school, and change is in the air. So, if you are in an area with a large middle class, perhaps you do mailer focused on women with the theme of “Now you have the time to get fit”, or “Now you have the time to make a change.”

Perhaps you own a small Karate Studio and you want to send out a mailer in January. Then you need to understand that the New Year is when adults have an overwhelming urge to lose weight and improve their fitness. So that is the perfect time to send the message that your studio is “A one-stop shop where adults and kids can get in shape.”

Choose a message that is current and appropriate for the time you are sending the mailer out and for the core market that you are trying to reach. The key is, once the main theme has been established, and the prospect now interested, then you can begin to communicate some of your additional benefits and amenities without bastardizing the original theme and message.

Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.jimthomasondemand.com.