Adding Direct Mail Advertising to Your Marketing Mix

By Elizabeth Snyder

April 8, 2014

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A strong direct mail campaign will generate impressive results.

Financial advisors rarely generate the positive activity necessary to make this type of advertising worthwhile and cost effective. Advisors have an opportunity to capitalize on direct mail as a marketing strategy, especially since it offers advantages over electronic marketing (such as email): Direct mail reaches people directly in their homes and provides physical documents that recipients can save and refer to later.

If implemented correctly, direct mail will be a powerful marketing tool that generates more awareness of advisors. Not only is it a way to reach prospects who aren’t accessible via email, it is also measurable (you can easily track who has responded to your offer) and, if you have a quality mailing list, can be highly targeted.

How do you create a direct mail campaign that is not just affordable but also effective at generating awareness and new leads for your firm?

Preparing for a successful direct-mail campaign

Many people fail to achieve the results they want from their direct mail campaign because they immediately start developing the direct mail piece itself, without undertaking the appropriate contextual analysis. Before jumping into copy and design, take time to address these critical campaign elements:

  • What are you trying to accomplish with the mailing?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What makes your offer different from your competitors’?
  • Which benefits do you want to communicate in the piece?
  • What is your budget for the mailing?

Position yourself for success

The biggest indicator of whether your direct mail campaign will be successful is your list. If you do not have the budget to purchase a list from a direct-marketing company, consider creating a campaign for your most responsive prospects as well as your current clients to take advantage of cross-selling opportunities and improve retention. If your firm can work with a direct-marketing company, look for one that offers a wide range of demographics and can provide data such as occupation, age and estimated income.

If you are looking for help choosing a direct marketing agency, I recommend Modern Postcard, ZUZA or ALLPRO Direct Marketing. Each of these companies can help you procure a list that matches your target demographics. They’re also able to assist with any design or fulfillment needs you may have when developing your direct-mail campaign.

Finalize campaign details

Now that you have a viable list based on your target audience, the next steps are to determine:

  • The offer, such as a complimentary consultation, portfolio review, e-book download, financial resource or admission to a seminar, luncheon or dinner.
  • The call to action, which tells the reader how to contact your firm to receive the offer.
  • The copy, which should address the recipient’s concerns or pain points. Do not exclude the benefits, but keep it simple. Too much text will overwhelm recipients and cause them to immediately discard your printed piece
  • Design, such as the format, layout and other imagery used.

The design and imagery are actually the least important element in your direct marketing campaigns. Other factors, like the list and the offer, have a greater effect on whether you achieve a high or low response rate from recipients.

Incorporate and execute

Now that you are equipped to plan and develop an effective direct-mail marketing campaign, you need to incorporate this strategy into your marketing mix. Start by leveraging the content your company has already developed. For example, if you recently created an e-book or whitepaper, direct mail is a great way to generate awareness of this new resource. Create a page on your website for your e-book and then use direct mail to help people navigate to your website to download the resource. Be sure that you build a custom landing page specific to the campaign, so you can track who is downloading the resource and can collect any new leads.

With direct mail marketing, repetition is key. While a great list, offer and call to action will increase the likelihood of a healthy response rate, consistency is very important. Set up a mailing schedule and systematically use your list at least three or four times in a quarter.


Elizabeth Snyder is the Marketing Manager for clients of Wealth Management Marketing, Inc., a firm specializing in outsourced marketing department services to Registered Investment Advisors and fee-only financial planning firms. For more information, visit www.wealthmanagementmarketing.net.

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