I found my old Trapper Keeper over the weekend. (If you’re under 35, Google it). I thought my Trapper Keeper was the coolest thing ever back in the day (still kinda do) and couldn’t wait to show it to my daughter, who I thought might want to use it for school.
As I opened and closed and opened and closed the Velcro flap, hearing that familiar thwip, thwip, thwip, thwip, I imagined my daughter walking down the hallway of her school, suddenly the coolest kid in her class because she had a genu-ine Trapper Keeper in almost-pristine condition. It would be a beautiful bond we share, like when and if she wants to wear my wedding dress down the aisle.
“What is it?”
After explaining the wondrous thing I was offering her, all she could manage to say was, “No, thanks,” before giving me a strange look and walking to her bedroom. Teenagers.
Why do I mention my Trapper Keeper? Because my daughter, and most people her age, are obsessed with all-things digital. If I wanted to give her my Smartphone or iPad she would have been more than happy to take them.
But just because you don’t have to charge a Trapper Keeper or can’t text on it doesn’t mean it’s obsolete. Far from it. Kids still take notes and get handout sheets. They still need to keep their paper-stuff organized.
Typically the idea of launching a direct mail campaign gets the same sneer and quizzical look my daughter gave me. And why? Because it’s a bit old-fashioned? Because the tactic has been around awhile? Many marketers assume direct mail no longer works, and/or they believe postage rates are outrageous.
The truth is direct mail very much works and it’s very affordable.
According to a recent USPS Household Diary Study, 42% of recipients scan or read direct mail pieces. This means that close to half of your target audience is going to actually stop what they’re doing to read your message. Even more exciting: if you’ve designed your direct mail campaign optimally (I’ll get to that), you might actually achieve a one to two percent (heck – even a 10%) response rate. Yes, that is totally achievable with direct mail.
Now let’s compare that to an average digital banner ad. You’re lucky if you get a 0.14% clickthrough rate. Even then, once someone lands on your landing page, you’re lucky if you convert 2%.
Now let’s discuss cost.
Many will say to their media buyers who are crazy enough to suggest launching a direct mail campaign, “But a digital banner will be seen by millions of eyes and it costs less than a direct mail campaign.
Let’s do a little math to dispel this misconception:
If you execute a direct mail campaign to 10,000 targets, and achieved only a 1% response rate, you would have gained 100 new customers. Not too shabby. Remember, with direct mail you can rent or create a highly-targeted list of prospects inexpensively so you don’t waste precious circulation. With direct mail, you ONLY send your offer to households that meet your criteria.
In order to gain those same 100 customers with your digital banner ad, it would have to reach 3,035,700 pairs of eyes. Not only is that a whole lot of people, but you can bet a good majority of them are non-targets, meaning they are not and never will be interested in what you have to offer. Wasted money.
So, which scenario is a better way to spend your ad dollars?
3 Ways to Create Revenue-Generating Direct Mail Campaigns
Now that you understand direct mail is not only still an incredibly effective and affordable way to get your offer in front of the right people, let’s look at three ways you get can the most bang for your buck:
Even if you send a plain-old enveloped mailer you’ll likely get a good response. That’s because most people get very little mail these days. But imagine the response rate you could get if your mailer was creative and attention-grabbing?
Consider using heavier stocks and coatings that invite people to notice your mailer. Maybe use a #10 envelope instead of a standard. Or forget an envelope altogether and try something that folds in a unique way. If you make it fun for people to open your mailer, chances are they will. Make it like a game or a gift and watch your response rate soar.
By all means take advantage of technology that will help you personalize your mailers and increase engagement and response. High-resolution inkjet, four-color inkjet and digital 1-to-1 print offer hyper-personalized mailers. Perhaps more importantly, this technology allows marketers to create individual versions of offers instead of mailing general messages to large groups.
Ask About Postage Discounts
Speak to your media buyer about ways you can save money. He or she might suggest processing your piece in five-digit delivery sequences or a carrier route. They might also discuss drop shipping, commingling and co-palletization with you, all great ways to help you save, and all can be combined to come up with a personal delivery system that fits your budget and gets your offer in front of the right people at the right time.
Ignore what you’ve heard about direct mail campaigns. While everyone is fighting online to get consumer attention, you can quietly and cheaply get their attention offline.