Direct mail helps maximize leads, and, later, sales. While 81% of Americans read newspapers, 96% have phones, and 98% have TVs, everyone has a mailbox.

Three direct mail venues provide the most return: traditional “duster” cards, product campaign cards, and newsletters. This month, I'll tackle the product campaign card.

Product cards — with photos of baths, kitchens, master suites, or other projects —are more effective when used over a span of time and directed at a large audience. As with any marketing, you must appeal to the correct demographic and remember the basics.

These two product card direct mail samples use dramatic photos and a call to action to entice recipients to consider kitchen remodels.
  • The look. Outstanding photography, an attractive layout, and convincing copywriting are essential.
  • The timing. Don't mail during the holidays. Mail in conjunction with newspaper or magazine ads and articles. However, a 12-month plan puts something in a prospect's hand — and mind — every month.
  • The list. Using past clients, vendors, colleagues, and at least 2,500 others that fit your client profile, come up with as many as 4,000 recipients.
  • You can also add a little extra by including home maintenance tips or a quick statistic. For example, by correctly citing this magazine's annual Cost vs. Value Report, you can include information that lends near-instant credibility and help prospects justify remodeling investments. If you can tell prospects that kitchen remodels are expected to recoup 135% of investment in the Washington, D.C., area, you're giving them another reason to remodel. — Stephen Wilson is a partner in Biz-comm Inc., a marketing/communications firm specializing in the needs of remodelers,