How to Win with Direct Mail Marketing
“With the efficacy of many digital channels coming under increasing scrutiny, marketers are making direct mail an integral part of their strategy that uses many different channels to reach the hearts and minds of their customers.”
– Francois Martin, World Marketing Director, HP Graphics Solutions
The emergence of internet marketing tactics was once seen as a serious threat to the direct mail marketing landscape. And while the internet has offered an inexpensive alternative to direct mail marketing over the last decade, the benefits of digital marketing may have been overstated. With few barriers to entry, the internet has quickly become flooded with promotional offers bombarding consumers at every turn. As a result, marketers are beginning to turn to a more multi-channel approach:
Direct mail marketing has become more personalized, more affordable, more efficient, and more data-driven in recent years. And thanks to digital printing technology, direct mail is easier than ever to integrate into multi-channel marketing campaigns.
Best Practices for Effective Direct Mail Marketing
Creative – The First Impression
The difference between what mail gets read and what becomes “junk mail” is the creative. While a potential customer is flipping through their pile of mail, it takes something special to grab their attention – this is why having a strong creative approach is crucial to your success.
Keep it simple – Just because a direct mail piece has a simplistic design does not mean it has to be boring. Cohesive creative concepts help the reader understand the message faster while preventing recipients from becoming overwhelmed. Avoid hard-to-read fonts and any elements that will make the piece look too busy. Leverage white space and bulleted lists to help break up the copy on the page.
Consider how the recipient will interact with the direct mail piece – A typical recipient will glance at the mailer for a few seconds, focusing on the things that grab his or her attention the most. Therefore, every direct mail campaign should have a clear design hierarchy that tells the consumer what they need to know and what to do next. If you grab the prospect’s attention, your direct mail piece will actually be read…
Related: The Role of POP Displays in 2017
Content – Get Their Attention
Here are a few common guidelines that marketers should observe while writing direct mail copy.
Keep it simple (again!) and focus on key elements – The average direct mail recipient won’t read a full page of copy consisting of buzzwords and unsubstantiated claims. Keep the piece simple, use concise messaging, tell the truth (and prove it), describe “what’s in it for them,” and tell them what to do next/how to get in touch.
Get strategic – Always keep the end goal of the direct mail marketing campaign in mind… and map the campaign accordingly. If the goal is to expand your existing customer base, find partners and leverage each other’s mailing lists. If the goal is to re-engage previous customers, perhaps try a loyalty offer. If the goal is to drive channel partner sales, include instructions for how channel partners can leverage promotional material. Whatever your goal – have a clear strategy, make sure you know how to handle responses, and have a plan in place for how success will be measured.
Differentiation – Breaking through the noise
Personalization – In today’s saturated marketing landscape, it takes a personal touch to cut through the clutter. Marketers must meet their potential customers and communicate with them all along their buying journey. Today, marketers can personalize messages to prospects in different stages of the buying cycle – increasing the likelihood of conversion. Additionally, using direct mail postcards, including a hand-written note, signature, or a photo of the company leader, can help build trust between the brand and the consumer.
Utility – Incorporating a promotional item in a direct mail campaign can extend the length of time that a brand is top-of-mind. For service-based businesses, offering a free trial or consultation (and of course, making it easy for the customer to take advantage of that offer) can accomplish the same goal.
Don’t forget these basics:
- Include your company website and social media handles on every direct mail piece
- Create a sense of urgency and include a clear call-to-action (CTA)
- Clean up your mailing lists prior to sending to minimize waste
- If a reply is requested, include prepaid business reply envelopes as part of the mailer
- Get a second opinion before finalizing the direct mail piece
The rekindled interest in direct mail is best described by Marco Boer, VP of research at I.T. Strategies:
“E-mail marketing did not kill direct mail, and neither has social media — which is what many had thought back in 2010. However, what social media has done is re-oriented how direct mail should be used. More relevancy was one effect during the last five years; in the next five years it will be more timely messaging.”
According to Boer, “The most important people in the industry today are the print service providers who are the early adopters of new technologies, helping their clients reach new limits, making the impossible possible and reducing the environmental footprint.”
Recently, Drummond Press was named as one of Bell & Howell’s Top 200 Direct Mail Providers for 2017. This award, coupled with our recent investment in digital printing technology, points to our commitment to innovative direct mail solutions for our customers. To learn more about how we can help your business with your next direct mail initiative, contact us.