Direct mail marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to influence buyer decision making. Think about it: with so many consumers overloaded with digital information and prospecting, a direct mail campaign is able to stand out from the noise and get leads to visit a webpage, encourage customers to buy online or collect information (including email addresses) from prospects.
Benefits of Direct Marketing
Consumers engage with physical mail
A study by Epsilon found that consumers overwhelmingly prefer direct mail over email marketing. 77% sort through physical mail as soon as they get it. And encouraging data from the U.S. Postal Service shows that 98% of people check their “snail mail daily.
Compare this to the number of people who find checking their email inbox overwhelming and, more often than not, hit “select all” and then “delete.” How many email marketing messages are never read? But with physical mail, you have a much better chance of having your sales piece read.
Direct mail offers a personal touch
In order for a campaign to be effective, and for you to see a return on your investment, your sales piece needs to connect with customers and prospects on a personal level. Except for door-to-door sales, it doesn’t get much more personal than direct mail.
Direct mail is tactile and a physical presence in someone’s home. They open your sales piece and sit down with it at their kitchen table to “listen” to your sales pitch. When opening an email sales letter, there is always that screen separating your business from their reality. There are also a host of digital distractions (notifications going off, banner ads flashing) that may take their focus from your message.
People are becoming more and more leery of digital communications because of a concern for privacy and security. How many news reports of hackers breaking into networks and phishing scams does it take for someone to become suspicious of attachments and links in emails?
Direct mail is not faced with these same challenges. In fact, the more “attachments” you include and the thicker the envelope, the more interest you elicit from consumers who want to know what’s in there.
Direct mail pieces can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. The same can’t be said for display ads or email or text messaging. Brightly-colored and interesting-shaped envelopes, handwriting font, and real stamps (instead of mass advertising indicia stamps) are a few ways you can send cues to consumers that your piece of mail is worth opening NOW.
Now that you know the benefits of direct mail marketing, you’re most likely eager to get started. Here are some tips to put you on the fast track to success:
Tip #1 – Buy a quality list
In the direct mail game, a quality list is definitely needed to help you win. Because mailing information changes frequently, be sure you purchase your list from a reputable company that doesn’t sell out-of-date lists that result in undelivered mailings and lost revenue.
Tip #2 – Have a single goal
Don’t try to do too many things with your mailing or you’ll end up confusing your prospect. Before mailing anything, be sure your correspondence has a clear goal. Some goals are:
- Sales generation – Use your mailing to obtain an order, schedule an appointment or reservation, or induce some other action that directly creates revenue.
- Lead generation - In B2B messaging, a typical lead generation mailing might ask for the reader to make an appointment; in B2C mailings, the goal may be to get someone into a brick-and-mortar store or visit an online store.
- Customer retention - In addition to presenting special offers (all customers like getting in on a deal), these mailings are focused on customer retention and often include newsletters, updates on loyalty program status, and announcements of exclusive, customer-only buying opportunities or special services.
Tip #3 – Consider postcards
Besides the low cost, another big advantage of sending postcards is that there is no envelope to open – hence – no barrier between your clearly-crafted message and your prospects’ eyeballs.
Tip #4 – Personalize it
Personalizing your direct mail campaign will give you the highest response rates. Variable data printing allows direct mailers to not only insert the recipient’s name in the address and greeting, but also to match text and imagery to the recipient’s purchasing history and/or demographic information.
Tip #5 – Repeat, repeat, repeat
Repetition is key to a successful direct mail campaign. Of course you don’t want to mail so often you annoy people. Generally speaking, mailing once a month is a good rule of thumb. And don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a response after your first, second, or even third mailing. They call it snail mail because slow and steady wins the race. Keep at it and eventually prospects will begin to see your company as credible and worth doing business with.
Tip #6 – Measure your success
Every campaign, whether digital or offline, must be measurable. Consider using a unique phone number or store coupon for accurate tracking.
If you want to stand out to prospects and get a high response rate for your efforts, you’ve got to do something different than what your competitors are doing. Because everyone and their uncle are sending emails and using Facebook ads, direct mail can be seen as something very special.