For many companies, the focus tends to be on digital marketing for the bulk of their advertising and promotions. Digital tends to be easy to use and it is cost-effective. However, businesses are often overlooking some of the traditional tried and true marketing tactics that have worked in the past. Namely, they are forgetting about direct mail.
Even though direct mail may not draw the same attention that digital marketing is getting, it shouldn’t be ignored. It can still provide a range of benefits and work quite well, especially when you learn how to focus your direct mail campaigns.
What Is Direct Mail?
The term “direct mail” simply refers to any type of unsolicited advertising materials that are sent to potential customers through the mail. This could be coupon cards, flyers, brochures, etc. The goal of direct mail is to get the recipient to take some type of action, such as visiting your site, visiting your store, using a coupon, etc. Many different types of direct mail can be used today, and you will need to think about what will work the best for your current campaign and the customers you want to reach.
This type of advertising was used extensively decades ago before the Internet and email were as prevalent as it is today. Although you might think that direct mail would not have much of an influence in the modern world, the truth is surprising.
Is Direct Mail Truly Effective?
With the world being increasingly digital, is direct mail truly effective? Think about the last time that you opened junk email in your folder. Chances are that you simply deleted it, even if it might be from a brand that you thought you knew. If it were from a company they have never used before, most would just delete it.
People are inundated with advertisements everywhere online, so they start to become numb to them after a while. Good and clever ads for products they want will still work, of course, but most of the ads are simply part of the background clutter.
Direct mail, on the other hand, has data that backs up its effectiveness even in the digital world. According to information from the USPS report The Mail Moment, 56% of people who responded to their survey said that receiving mail was a pleasure. 55% of people said they look forward to receiving mail, and 67% said that they feel that mail is more personal than the web. Amazingly, 77% of millennials said that they pay attention to direct mail ads.
It’s estimated that only between 20% and 30% of marketing emails are opened. However, up to 90% of direct mail will be opened or seen by recipients.
What does this mean for you and your business? It means that when you have a direct mail campaign as part of your marketing operations that is properly targeted, it can net some great results. If you have neglected this type of marketing, it might be time that you explored some of the options. Of course, you likely still want to know more about the benefits that using direct mail will provide, as well as how to make it as effective as possible.
Best Reasons to Use Direct Mail in Your Marketing Operations
Why should you use direct mail? There are many benefits. Let’s look at a few of them.
- Affordable – Getting started with direct mail is far more affordable than many people realize. You can target the right customers, too, so there is not a lot of waste.
- Tactile – The mail is a real object that comes to the home of your customers. They will keep the coupons, magnets, etc. They serve as reminders about your company.
- Reuse Asset Materials – You can use the same assets that you are using in your digital marketing for your direct mail materials. You don’t have to worry about having another set of assets just for direct mail.
- Variety – You can create a wide range of types of direct mail including:
- Promotional Products
These are some of the best reasons to start using direct mail. You can start with a relatively small campaign or two and see how it all works. You can take the lessons that you have learned and then expand from there.
Ways to Use Direct Mail in Marketing Campaigns
What should you be hoping to achieve with your direct mail campaigns? The answer to this question will vary based on your current goals and objectives. Some of the most common types of campaign ideas are below, but do not feel limited by these. Think about what your business needs to achieve and then craft your direct mail campaign around those goals.
Here is a common goal for a campaign. You want to have more customers, and you want to get the word out about your brand. For this type of campaign, you will be focusing on new customers who have never bought from you and who may not have heard of your company before. You could opt for a wide mass mailing, or you could cultivate names from lists that best match your ideal customers.
To get people interested in trying out what you are offering, you want to do more than simply provide them with information about your company or product. You want to give them a good call to action and provide them with an incentive to buy from you.
This incentive could be a discount, a link to a free eBook, a free quote, etc. You can try out different types of incentives with additional campaigns to see what works best for lead generation for your company.
Often, direct mail campaigns are trying to increase the number of sales your company is getting. These types of campaigns might run every month or every quarter. They help to serve as a reminder to current customers, and they can attempt to bring aboard new customers, as well. The pieces of mail might have a direct offer on them that can be used online or in person. They might also have a call to action that directs people to go to your website along with a special code that can provide a discount.
The goal of these pieces of mail will be similar to the types of ads that are used online to get sales. The ads will typically be highly targeted toward the needs of your audience to provide you with the best results.
Cultivate Current Customer Relationships
Another type of campaign that you can run is to send direct mail to customers that already have a relationship with your company. With this type of campaign, you do not need to provide any special offers. Instead, this mail is to serve as a reminder to them that your company exists and that you appreciate the business that they have shown you in the past. It can still include a call to action that directs them to your website or blog, or that provides a link to information about a new product in your lineup.
One of the benefits of not including an offer on these pieces of mail is that it seems less like a sales pitch. They will appreciate that you are simply acknowledging them and thanking them.
Upselling and Cross-Selling to Customers
This type of direct mail will also be aimed at your existing customers. Instead of getting a new sale or just thanking them for being customers, though, you are trying to get them to upgrade or to buy a new product that will work well with items they already own.
This could be something like an upgrade to a current subscription service, for example. Provide them with a discount for the upgrade, and they are more likely to follow through. You might also try to sell customers products you make that are related to their past purchases. Again, you will want to provide them with a good offer if they decide to buy. After all, everyone loves a deal. Doing so will help to spur many of those customers into a purchase.
Remember that these are only some of the options for direct mail campaigns. Think about other ways that you can get your customers more involved, engaged, and buying from you. Craft a campaign around those ideas.
Making Direct Mail More Effective
Direct mail marketing has the potential to work quite well. However, you do need to make sure that you are following some of the best practices if you want to get the best possible results. Below are some tips you will want to keep in mind when creating and sending the mail.
Personalization Works Wonders
People do not like to be thought of as just a customer or a walking bank account. They want to feel special, and this means that you should strive to take a personalized approach to your marketing material. This applies not only to emails but also to your direct mail campaigns.
When people receive the mail, they won’t view it as junk. When you take things a step further and provide a personalized offer, they will see your company as one that cares about its customers.
It becomes easier to provide more personalized offers when you start to segment your audience into smaller groups. You will have a better understanding of what those groups of customers need and will appreciate, so crafting an attractive offer should be easier.
Make It Stand Out
One of the mistakes that some companies make is creating poor-quality pieces of mail. You need to be sure that the mail contains all of the information that it needs, and then go beyond. Consider your goals for the piece of mail and make sure that it contains all of the most pertinent information.
Make sure that the graphics and the text are easy to read, and that they work well with your brand. You need the mail to convey the most important things about your products and services. You should also be sure that you are using high-quality, clear images that will draw the eye.
Remember to focus on the customers' needs and how your product or service will help them. Be sure that you have all of your contact information, website, etc. on the piece of mail, as well. Give people options on the way they can contact your company.
A Clear Call to Action
Your direct mail should have a call to action that is compelling enough to make a customer take the action that you want. It should be clear and simple to understand. Ideally, you will have the call to action repeated at least twice throughout the text of your ad. For example, you can have it in the body of your text, and have the same CTA located near your contact information. Using them in sidebars or a post-script could work, as well.
Integrate It With Other Marketing
Although this article is all about the wonders of direct mail marketing, this doesn’t mean that your marketing operations should pretend that it’s 1990. You should incorporate direct mail marketing into your other marketing efforts, and they should complement one another.
Align direct mail with your online ads, newsletter, social media promotions, and emails. Be sure to use the same assets with your direct mail that you use in your online marketing. This will help to unify your brand across all of the channels you are using.
The Right Martech Helps to Make Direct Mail Campaigns Easier
Martech tools have the potential of helping with your direct mail campaigns. You can use technology that will capture data about your customers, giving you a better understanding of which consumers should receive the various marketing materials you are sending out. The greater your knowledge of the demographics of your customers, the better.
These tools can help to make personalization easier, as well, particularly for current customers. You can send these customers information about new products or services, or you could send them discounts. When they receive personalized mail, they are more likely to respond and to look favorably on your company.
Get Professional Services for Your Direct Mail
As you can see, direct mail is filled with potential when used properly. However, if you aren’t working with a company that can help to make running your campaign as easy as possible, you might run into some issues.
Choose a professional company that can take care of the printing, sorting, and sending all of the materials to the proper recipients. Working with a company to help with your direct mail can sometimes result in reduced postage rates, as well. Whether you are sending out marketing materials, compliance material, or other direct mail, working with the right company will help to make it much easier.
Always take the time to explore the service you are considering and see what they offer. Can they provide you with lists? Can they ensure the security of your materials? Does the company provide other types of services? Look at the options available and choose the best for your marketing operations.