If you think online advertising, email marketing and social media have made direct mail obsolete, think again. Last year, 65 percent of consumers made a purchase as a result of direct mail, the Direct Mail Association (DMA) reports. The cost of direct mail is no higher than that of print and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, the DMA says. Most important, direct mail’s average response rate—4.4 percent for both B2B and B2C mailings—is far higher than email marketing’s average response rate of 0.12 percent, according to Direct Mail News.
Ready to add direct mail to your marketing arsenal? Follow these tips to get results.
- Get carded. Postcards are an affordable way to test direct mail. Try oversized postcards to grab attention. Make sure your design elements and colors are in line with your brand. Keep the postcard from getting too “busy” by putting an image and eye-catching headline on one side, then the details of your offer on the other.
- Try flyers. An alternative to postcards, flyers folded in threes and sealed can be an inexpensive mailing option (or can also be left on doorsteps in a door-to-door campaign). Choose attention-grabbing colors for your paper.
- Envelope, please. If you’re in an industry, such as financial planning or tax preparation, that doesn’t lend itself to a postcard or flyer, mail a sales letter or brochure. You’ll have to work harder to get the envelope opened, so try testing different marketing copy on the outside of the envelope to see what works best. Surprisingly, envelopes without copy on the outside often work better, since the recipient is curious and opens them to see what’s inside.
- Get personal. Direct mail pieces can be personalized with the recipient’s name or even information about specific products he or she has expressed an interest in. For instance, suppose someone visits your furniture store and talks to a salesperson about bedroom furniture, but doesn’t buy. You could send that person personalized mail about an upcoming sale on bedroom sets.
- Integrate online and offline marketing. Of course you can use direct mail to drive customers to your location. But it also works to drive traffic to your website. Try putting a landing page URL on your direct mail to appeal to customers who want to buy or get more information online.
- Make the deal worthwhile. In general, specific dollars-off offers do better than percentage-off offers. Also consider sending one direct mail piece with multiple offers good for different time frames. For example, an auto service center could send a postcard with discounts on oil changes in May, air conditioning service in June and brake work in July.
- Test your options. It’s cheaper to do two small mailings testing different marketing copy, different images and different offers than to spend a lot of money on a campaign you haven’t tested.
- Track results. Customized landing page URLs will show you which direct mail pieces work best to drive traffic. You can also use offer codes on direct mail to track which pieces drive in-store visits or purchases.
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