In today’s digital era, some marketers believe direct mail is old-fashioned, lacks attractiveness, and costs a fortune to send. That’s not quite right. Just think for a moment. How many promotional emails you receive during the day? How many of them do you actually open? Probably, no more than one or two. We are so used to misinformation and deceptive headlines in emails that we stopped trusting them.
Busting the Myths about Direct Mail
Direct mail is more personal and trusted , especially among the younger generation. Millennials and Generation Z often consider email as ‘junk mail’, but when it comes to direct mail stats are impressive: 36% of people under the age of 30 look forward to checking their mailboxes every day. So if you’re looking to grow your business, this is high time for you to consider using direct mail campaigns.
According to the Direct Marketing Association’s Response Rate Report direct mail’s average household response rate is 5.1% (compared to 0.6% for email, 0.6% for paid search, and 0.4% for social media).
One more interesting fact: direct mail has a longer shelf-life of 17 days versus two-second email view.
Another misleading thought about direct mail is that it’s expensive. In reality, it is the most effective, fast and cost-effective marketing strategy. If you build it correctly you will get guaranteed response from your customers. Studies have shown that for every $167 spent on direct mail in the US, marketers sell $2095 in goods (a 1,255% return).
Make the right steps before starting a direct mail marketing campaign
If you’ve decided to use direct mail marketing campaigns to promote your business, here are the things you need to pay special attention to.
Mailing Lists for a Growing Business
Your mailing list will drive the success of your direct mail marketing campaign. The mailing list you use impacts every decision you make while preparing a campaign. If your company has an existing mailing list, use it. If you are just starting your business, start compiling the lists, too.
When you start your own business from scratch, your personal lists are always a good starting point. These will be mostly comprised of people that you are familiar with: either existing customers, acquaintances and/or business partners. These people know you in person, so your chances for a good open and response rate are pretty high.
Secondly, you must keep records of everyone who have contacted your business, left their contacts, requested a quote or additional information, visited your booth at a conference… Anything that brought you new mailing addresses. Collect contact information each time a purchase is made via your website and gather it in one place, e.g. CRM. With a detailed database you can target your audience more accurately and get more sales. When combined with a direct mail automation platform like Inkit, the CRM integration will help you streamline all processes and ensure data accuracy. As soon as you launch the tool, all required user data will be automatically transferred to the system.
What Types of Messages Will Grow Your Business?
There are many types of direct mail, including postcards, letters, newsletters, catalogs, flyers, brochures or free samples. Which type to send depends on your direct mail marketing campaign goals. Your copy needs to:
- Correspond to the mail type size constraints
- Include a relevant call to action
- Cater to your target audience’s preferences
These points are also important for the design part. For example, if you wish to target younger audiences, design your direct mail piece in the style of an Instagram post that the majority of them ‘liked’.
Regardless of the type of mail piece you’ve chosen for your campaign, the message should be specific, short, and easy to grasp. To cover all the bases, we recommend to include the following information:
- your phone number
- email address
- social media
- mobile barcodes
- product visuals
The way all the elements are placed on a mail piece is also important. Inkit provides software that gives you the possibility to easily customize mail templates. Now you don’t have to plan additional expenses for a custom design. Just insert all the information you need with a drag and drop function.
Track the Performance
It’s not a secret that – if compared with digital channels – offline campaigns are always harder to measure in terms of their effectiveness and results. Calculating the results of a direct mail marketing campaign are the same. You don’t get to see the click or open rates, engagement, or other metrics. Still, there are proven ways to track direct mail performance.
For example, you can create a specific QR code, a special discount code, a dedicated email, 800-phone-number or a trackable URL, and use it for your direct mail campaign only. The type of metrics to track will vary depending on the call to action that you include into the copy. The important thing is, it will be used for one specific campaign, so all the results received via this channel can be easily attributed to it. The easiest way to track performance is to use a unique URL for your postcards. It should be different from the one you’re using for digital marketing, but still easy to type in, and related to your brand.
How Many Postcards to Send? And When?
Don’t overload your customers and leads with overly frequent mail pieces. One offer per month is more than enough. Otherwise, instead of building brand loyalty you’ll start losing the customers with a good buying history.
Choose the best time to send your direct mail. Customers always appreciate it when they receive special discounts and offers on their birthdays. If these are seasonal greetings, invitations or promotions make sure to send them in advance. It’s definitely better to receive such a piece of mail before the start of the season or holiday to get the best advantage of it.
Automate to Save Time and Efforts
Despite the fact that direct mail is an offline, physical type of marketing channel, automation is still available to make your direct mail campaigns more effective. With the advent of direct mail automation technology and better production capabilities, sending data-driven automated postcard mailers is just as easy as triggering an email.
You don’t have to waste your time and money on hiring designers and visiting postal offices any longer. With Inkit’s CRMs integration and postcard templates builder, you can send out a mail piece with just one click and enjoy automatic printing and shipping.
Be Ready to Follow up
Following up your customers is an important part of any marketing campaign, be it a digital or an offline one. Offline marketing also needs a certain response on the business side. If you included a certain call-to-action into your message, be ready for customers to call you (within and out of business hours), visit your website or mail you back. It is crucial to respond to their queries as soon as possible. If you don’t, you will most probably lose a client.
Analyze the Results
One of the most important stages of any marketing campaign is metrics analysis. If you are tracking the performance of your direct mail campaign, you need to analyze and store this data for lessons learned, future references, further goals setup, and so on.
First of all, check whether the final results meet your expectations, and which mailing list segmentation has the best response rate. Not all direct mail campaigns are launched with sales in mind, you can also send out direct mailers for brand strengthening, customer retention, building customer loyalty, or deepening your understanding of your database.
In order to launch the next direct mail marketing campaign, try building a marketing plan at least half a year ahead. It should include information on what types, messages and mailing lists you will send your direct mail to.
Direct mail may become the strongest part of your overall marketing strategy, especially if you are running a small business or pivoting of your existing company. It’s a good chance to introduce your products or services to potential customers. Printed materials are usually better appreciated as they are fewer, attract more attention, and seem more personal due to their offline nature.
With an up-to-date mailing list, thoroughly constructed direct mail campaign and Inkit’s software you will reach your goals easily and effortlessly. Track and analyze your direct mail marketing campaigns to determine your future goals that will help grow your business.