How to Start a Direct Mail Business

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There are many companies that would benefit from direct-mail campaigns. Many lack the time, funds or resources to execute a successful direct-mail campaign. This need provides an opportunity for a skilled entrepreneur to start a direct-mail business. Focus on one industry and acquire mailing lists. Market your services and provide quality direct mail-services to your clients. Over time you may want to consider expanding your services to serve other industries.

Research your market carefully to determine which industries may need direct-mail services. Focus on one industry and research it thoroughly. Find sources of direct-mail lists to acquire, plan a marketing strategy to gain recognition and compete within the market.

Write a detailed business plan based on your research and planning. Develop a mission statement to define your business goals. Provide a detailed description of your business. Explain how you will acquire direct-mail lists and clients, design your direct-mail campaigns and market your business. Write a detailed analysis of your market and competition. Include financial statements and projections for your first year in business. Attach any documents at the end of your business plan that will be necessary to establish your business. The business plan should cover your first year.

Fill out and file a business and tax registration form as well as any other documents necessary to establish your business as a legal entity at the local, state, and federal level. A direct-mail business may be required to file for licenses at the local and state level. If you are unsure, you can contact your local and state officials. For more specialized legal and accounting advise, consult a lawyer and accountant.

Set up a small office space in your home. If you do not have an adequate office space in your home you may want to consider leasing a small space. Refer to your business plan and financial projections so that you stay within your budget. Equip your office with a desk, phone, fax machine, computer, high-speed Internet access, filing cabinet and other basic office supplies.

Acquire direct-mailing lists based on your research for your target industry. A knowledge of the industry's target consumers and demographics will be necessary for you to provide your customers with a successful direct-mail campaign.

Learn about graphic design and marketing prior to starting your direct-mail business. Take classes, workshops and seminars, and read as much as possible to stay current. If you do not plan on designing the direct-mail materials, you may need to locate a graphic designer to work with on your projects. Look for a graphic designer with direct-mail expertise and enter into a business relationship with this professional. Add in costs for the graphic designer into your overall project quotes. Locate a print shop to work with and negotiate direct-mail rates. Finding a reliable and professional print shop should be your focus in your search.

Advertise your direct-mail business in trade magazines and other publications specific to the industry you seek to serve. Join your local chamber of commerce to take advantage of networking opportunities as well as collective advertising resources. Join trade organizations within the industry that you would like to serve.

Work with a Web designer to build a website for your direct-mail business. Use the website as a virtual brochure. Provide information about your services and contact information. Post regular blog articles focusing on marketing and direct-mail campaigns. Encourage interactivity and host industry experts on your blog for guest postings on occasion. Launch the website at the same time you begin to advertise your business.

Tips

  • Direct prospective clients to your website for examples of your work and a previous client list.

Warnings

  • Consult an attorney to ensure that your business is in compliance with mailing laws prior to starting your business.

References

Resources

About the Author

Jonah Morrissey has been writing for print and online publications since 2000. He began his career as a staff reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Morrissey specializes in topics related to home-and-garden projects, green living and small business. He graduated from Saint Michael's College, earning a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism and mass communications.

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