Direct Mail as a Marketing Strategy has gotten a bad rap lately. I think a big part of the reason for this is that internet marketing and social media have been hyped to the point that they overshadow the more cost effective, tried and proven marketing method: Direct Mail.
I’ve spoken with a lot of people about direct mail to market their business and I hear two common negative themes: “We tried that before and it didn’t work.” and “I heard it didn’t work.” This type of knee jerk reaction usually boils down to a lack of understanding concerning the essential elements of direct mail. If you’ve tried direct mail with poor results, chances are you were overlooking one or more of the following essential elements:
1. Define your Target: There are many ways that companies miss the mark with the results they expect and the most common one is a poorly defined target audience. More on that here.
2. Expectations/Consistency/Patience: Direct mail marketing is not a magic bullet, but it can be very effective in building your business, attracting new customers and retaining and re-selling existing customers. More on that here.
3. A/B Testing and Tracking: How can you possibly improve the results of your next campaign if you send the same piece to everyone? You need to have a system in place to track everything before you mail the first piece. I’ve spoken with people who decided that direct mail didn’t work for them but had no idea of what their R.O.I. was. More on that here.
4. Your Offer: Too many people overlook having a strong call to action. On the other side of the coin others try to beat you over the head. There is a balance that needs to be reached to be effective. More on that here.
5. Postcards or envelopes? I recommend postcards for 99% of direct mail applications for several reasons. One is that it’s cheaper to print and it’s cheaper to mail. Another problem I have with using envelopes is that you now have an additional dilemma: how to get them to open it? I don’t know about you but the first time I received a piece of (let’s call a spade a spade here) junk mail that looked like a check was inside I felt a bit slighted after I opened it. Not as much as getting socks and underwear for my birthday when I was 6…..but I still felt slighted.
The real question is what did I do with it after I opened it and discovered that there was no check was inside? I threw it away. Did I open the next one that looked like that? Nope. I also didn’t win the Irish lottery but I am looking forward to my next big payoff: 10% of 60 million from a former Nigerian king. (Details in another post)
Is trickery a good way to start a business relationship? Of course not, but a well-planned direct marketing program incorporating these 5 elements, can be a great way to find new customers and grow your business.
by Matt Fortenbery
CEO Total Printing Solution