The following article is based on an excerpt from the e-book titled "Getting Response in a Down Economy: 4 Key Principles to Boost Your Direct Mail Profits in Today's Difficult Market."

If you create or manage direct mail programs, the current economy probably has you pulling your hair out. Over the last couple of years, it's been crazy out there.

Budgets have shrunk. Response has been unpredictable. Costs have risen. And yet you need to make sales. What can you do?

First, take a deep breath, because the economy is beginning to improve. Second, don't do anything rash. Though closing down your direct mail programs would be an overreaction, taking huge risks wouldn't be the answer either.

Now is the perfect time to get back to basics and remind yourself of the following seven core principles of direct marketing.

1. Sell things people want

In general, direct marketing is not about creating markets, but about locating existing markets. It is a business-to-buyer avenue of selling that is streamlined, efficient, and profitable—but only when a market wants what you are offering.

For example, a few decades ago, only hardcore geeks would buy a computer via mail. Computers were neither understood nor wanted by the general public, but such purchases are now common because a wide market exists.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dean Rieck is a direct-mail copywriter and consultant, and publishes the popular Direct Creative Blog and ProCopyTips blog.