We’re all easily distracted by shiny new things. From the time we’re babies through our whole lives there’s nothing easier than being distracted, and often things that are new and exciting get all of our attention, and things that have been reliable our whole lives get forgotten.
Direct Mail marketing is like that. The Internet came along and captured our attention, and sometimes it can feel like all marketing is online these days. The fact is, Direct Mail is an effective marketing strategy, and there are plenty of advantages to it. The bottom line is, you should be including Direct Mail in your business’ marketing despite its old-school feel, and here’s why.
Direct Mail is laser-focused. You can purchase mailing lists that have as narrow or broad a focus as you need, or build a list yourself from your own customer tracking. With Direct Mail, you send out only as many pieces as you need to reach the specific consumers you want, and you can tailor every mailing to a specific sub-segment of the list, as well.
With email marketing, most of your efforts wind up in a Junk Folder. With web-based marketing, people can click away with a twitchy finger. Direct Mail gets you inside the house, and once there is guaranteed to be handled and viewed. Even if your mailing piece isn’t opened or actively engaged in, the chances that it remains out in the open are high – meaning that everyone who comes into the house will see and potentially interact with it.
Many people think that effective tracking of marketing can only be accomplished online, but it’s very easy to design your mailing pieces so that responses are trackable. Simply by adding date-specific data to your mailing, you can easily see how much of a response your mailing gets.
Even more important is the ‘follow-up’ that Direct Mail allows. Even if your mailing piece is ignored, you can use its arrival as an excuse to phone or email your prospective customer by referring to the mailing (which they saw and handled) and describing your sales call as a ‘follow up’ to ensure they saw the mailing, and asking if they had any questions.
Modern technology allows you to create a Direct Mail piece that feels very personal to the targeted consumers, including addressing them by name so that your mailing has the feel of a personal appeal, creating bespoke pieces for different segments of the mailing list (for different neighbourhoods or areas, for example), or referencing specific events or landmarks to give your mailing a very local flavour.
Design of Direct Mail pieces can often be done in-house on home computers, and printing and mailing costs are low. While the appeal of online marketing often includes the supposed lack of costs, Direct Mail is actually not much more expensive, and can have a much greater impact as it’s not so easy to divert it into ‘junk folders’ and has a physical permanence that works to your advantage.
Direct Mail can be configured to be as wide or narrow in its reach as needed, which means it’s very easy to create ‘test’ runs of very small batches to gauge the effectiveness of your approach. If a small test doesn’t yield a high return, you can revise your designs or examine your mailing list data with a critical eye, and only go wide when you’re confident you’ve got the right approach.
Direct Mail can be as splashy and expensive or as minimal and budget-friendly as you want. At the low end are simple postcards printed on an office printer and mailed as bulk mail. On the high-end are full-colour brochures printed on heavy stock. In-between are every other option, allowing you to tailor your marketing to your budget easily.
Direct Mail is far from an ‘old-school’ approach past its prime. It remains an exciting and effective marketing approach that cuts through the noise and commands attention, while offering a much more flexible approach than most online marketing. The bottom line: Any business in the modern day that wants to stand out from the crowd needs to consider adding a Direct Mail component to their marketing.