Direct Mail Marketing
The definition - A type of direct marketing that’s delivered physically to a prospect’s door through the Postal Service or other delivery service. Postcards, flyers, and catalogues are common examples. Email marketing is the digital equivalent.
What is direct mail marketing?
Direct mail marketing is a physical correspondence you send to customers with a clearly defined goal.
All you need to have to send direct mail is something identifying you or your business, a call to action (CTA), and a way for your customers to contact you. The rest is left to you.
Why does direct mail marketing work?
On his blog, Neil Patel, an entrepreneur, marketer, and best-selling author, wrote about recent research that investigated the median return on investment (ROI) per marketing medium. It’s known that direct mail campaigns actually had a higher ROI than both paid search and online display ads. In fact, direct mail is only just behind social media, the second-highest ROI medium.
So why is direct mail, something considered by many to be on the decline, still so effective?
Direct mail is interactive.
The fact that customers can physically handle mail and look at it before deciding whether to keep it, helps get more eyes on your marketing.
If you include a promotional offer, discount, or a CTA that requires them to do something with the mailer such as bring it to a store or restaurant, your customers are more likely to keep it.
Getting letters in the mail can create nostalgia about the times friends or family has sent you mail. If you’d like to spark a more emotional response in the recipient, consider adding a personalised touch like a handwritten note or signature. Small gestures like this can go a long way and make your marketing more memorable.
It can have a bigger reach.
Direct mail can be beneficial if your target audience doesn’t use social media or email. This form of traditional marketing can turn some people into potential customers when all-electronic ads would have missed them completely.
It offers ways to become creative.
Pairing social media and digital content marketing with direct mail can create a seamless customer journey.
For example, a travel company ran a campaign during which they sent out a card and a voucher whilst encouraging recipients to use their discount on a charitable donation.
When receivers scanned the code on the rear of the card, it brought up a YouTube video and gave them a hashtag they could use when posting about their contribution on social media.
This increased people’s awareness of their brand and emphasised the company’s values to the public.
There are even more ways to introduce creativity with direct mail because its versatile nature gives you the chance to engage more of your recipients’ senses than digital marketing. Here are just a few examples of marketing techniques from various companies:
A Brazilian gym gave out calendars to their customers with cutouts in the shape of a man and a woman. As they flipped back each month, the silhouettes of the people got slimmer, showing the effects of consistently working out.
To promote World Water Day, one marketing team sent out direct mailers with a message that only became visible when soaked in water.
An Australian marketing firm sent out disassembled cardboard FM radios. The recipients who put them together were directed to tune the radio to a channel where they could hear an ad inviting them to join the national defence force.
There’s not as much competition.
Companies are reducing their physical marketing efforts in favour of digital marketing. Digital is a more environmentally friendly route, and it’s also easier to start seeing results with digital.
Not as many companies operate in the direct mail space these days, so it can be easier to get noticed.
Remember that most people will at least glance through their mail before throwing it away, and a colourful, creative piece of mail has a much higher chance of standing out in someone’s pile of letters than your website. People don’t expect direct mail as much anymore, and they don’t have the same distractions when looking through mail as they are when they’re online.
Even if someone doesn’t use your discount or special offer straight away, they might keep it, especially if it’s something they may need. They’ll pin it on a noticeboard. Then when they’re looking for a new pair of pants or a deal on power tools, your company will be more likely to come to mind.
Dos and don’ts of direct mail
Now that you’ve seen the benefits of a direct mail campaign, you might like to see how to start one. Here are a few guidelines that could help you save time, money, and energy.
Do: Define your audience.
Consider your product and who it would best be suited for and, focus there. While direct mail can have a great ROI and engagement rate, researching your target market can help you save money because it helps find where people live who are likely to become your customers.
Do: Run tests first.
Once you’ve defined your market and found your target area, send out a few test batches. When sending out tests make sure you have a way to track your customers’ engagement. This can be a discount code unique to the mail campaign that’s tracked online according to how many customers use it. Other options could be a phone number to call or an email address set up only for that campaign. That way you can keep track of who is engaging with your marketing.
Do: Make sure you have a CTA.
Most eye-catching mail delivered to the right people at the right time still needs a CTA. Think about what you want the customer to do and explain it to them in clear terms.
That can include buying something, using a discount code, donating to a charity, taking a survey, etc.
Don’t: Forget to proofread.
Your mailer will be the first impression of your business, so make sure it’s free of typos and grammatical errors. Take the time to double-check the copy.
Also, make sure it reads well. It should have a good flow and strike the tone you’re hoping to achieve, whether that’s professional or conversational.
Don’t: Forget to follow up.
Track how many people are responding to your mailers and note who they are so you can follow up with them at a later date. This creates a database of engaged customers who are more likely to be receptive to future marketing. You can also use this information to send out a short message telling them you appreciate their response.
Don’t: Forget to drive traffic to your online presence.
However, direct mail probably won’t be the bulk of your marketing efforts, and most of your business will probably take place online. Control that high response rate to get people active on your social platforms. This gives them options to follow your business and stay up to date without waiting for the next mailer.
You can also link your digital marketing campaigns with discount codes, hashtag campaigns, or giveaways on your social media channels.
A modern twist on a classic channel
Contrary to popular belief, direct mail is far from out of date. Although it’s one of the oldest forms of marketing, it’s still extremely effective in closing the gap between brands and customers. It’s also a good way to stand out, so if you’re looking to shake up your marketing efforts, give it a try.