What are the factors you take into account before developing a direct mail campaign? Marketing budget? Target audience? Or, maybe, delivery options? It is worth admitting that all of them have an impact on the results of your direct mail marketing. Still today, Inkit wants to offer another approach to launching a direct mail campaign. Before you find a direct mail vendor, create an appealing design, and start customized delivery, make sure to look around. Pay attention to other companies in your business niche to understand what approaches to direct mail they use. Such an outside perspective may come in handy to incorporate the best industry practices in your marketing campaigns.
Nevertheless, don’t forget that some of the common approaches may not work for your business. For maximum efficiency, direct mail marketing must be also adapted to market conditions that are peculiar in each case. To make your life easier and assist you with competitor research, Inkit has collected feedback from different companies. These people have already implemented direct mail marketing and are ready to share their experiences. Additionally, in this article, you’ll find out about common direct mail marketing mistakes and the ways to avoid them.
Case Studies: 12 Business Owners and Marketers Tell How They Organize Direct Mail Campaigns
Each of our respondents designed a unique direct mail campaign based on their industry, budget, and marketing goals. The interviews show that direct mail marketing is extremely popular within the real estate and luxury goods segments. Yet, if properly used, it can generate excellent results in any business field. Let’s see what businesses tell about their direct mail campaigns:
“We have used direct (multiple formats) for our clients. It really depends on the client and what type of program they are looking for.
Ex. One of our clients sells commercial properties, who they’re marketing to is a very niche market. Using digital methods (paid media as an example) wasn’t going to work. They are constantly updating their prospects on their success and soliciting opportunities they could take advantage of.
We have recommended using simple formats as postcards and letters. Only recently have they dipped into automating handwritten cards (which really breaks through to the decision maker).
We’ve been told that their clients: “They collect and hold onto your post cards” (Justin Farrell, Cowts).”
“The added advantage for real estate in particular is we can target our mailers and we’re likely to get in front of the right person since it’s going to an owner occupied mailbox. Yoreevo is working on lowering real estate commissions in NYC which is something most homeowners are going to be interested in, even if they’re not planning on selling at the moment.
We’ve actually had a number of people respond to our mailers at a reasonable cost per lead.
You can also be smart about the recipients. If someone bought last year or 30 years ago, they’re probably not looking to sell. You want to be in that sweet spot of owners of 5-7 years (James McGrath, Yoreevo LLC).”
“I’ve used direct mail at my last two companies. I have found that direct mail can garner better results than email when done right. The key is picking the right content and design for the direct mail piece. This can vary from professionally written and produced pieces to hand-written notes. Direct mail is an opportunity to differentiate and humanize interaction plus it provides a reason for follow-up via email to ask “Did you receive my package?”(Kevin Payne, Zest Labs)”
“I’m a full time real estate in Metro Detroit and I use direct response direct mail as my primary lead generation technique.
I purchase leads from a variety of sources each month and send mail to each new prospect. I’m relatively small in that I send on average only about 3500 or so pieces each month. I’m unique in my niche in that I do all the production in house. I have a high speed color inkjet printer and a bulk color envelope printing machine, as well as a machine that does the folding, inserting, and sealing of the envelopes. This setup allows me to customize my mailings on the fly without waiting on mailing houses or local printers (Dennis Fassett, MetroDetroitHomebuyer.co).”
“Our intention is that some will physically interact with the mailer and by doing so either call customer service for more information or to order…or they will go the to the website the learn more and ultimately make a purchase (Paul Miller, Lokus Nutrition).”
“We own a small retail jewelry business outside of Chicago. Each holiday season we do a direct mail post card with a coupon for our store. We sent out to about 5,000 customers at $0.78 per card. Normally we get back about 1/100 into store the store that bring the card. While it doesn’t sound like a lot, our average sale is right around $900, so it’s actually a great investment for us. We see sales above $50,000 each year from this campaign, so we plan on continuing to run with it this year (Jeff Moriarty, Moriarty’s).”
“We sent out personalized letters to see if we could grab a coffee and talk about a possible app for them. It’s a nice personal way to start a conversation and usually leads to high conversions if they respond to the letter (Max Falb, Fueled).”
“As a retailer of high-end blinds and window dressings, direct mailing also enables us to send out samples and examples of the quality of our materials and the craftsmanship that goes into them, in support of our wider marketing collateral highlighting the USPs of quality and luxury.
Words will only take you so far when describing high-end goods; but being able to demonstrate them can only be achieved by means of a true sensory experience, which only direct mail or brick-and-mortar retail outlets can achieve (Mark, English Blinds).”
“I work for Pavilion Broadway, the foremost destination for luxury homeware and designer furniture. I’ve used direct mail in some of my previous roles and current role to great effect.
This drove an ROI of over 6:1 due to the lookbook reaching prospective customers at a highly engaged point when they were actively searching for furniture and home accessories for their new homes (Nathan Thompson, Pavilion Broadway).”
“We use direct mail marketing on occasion to promote discount codes and offers to our mailing list. Due to the nature of our product, customers are likely to make recurring purchases over and over – and so sending exclusive offers & discount codes can be very effective at driving sales (Lewis Peters, Online Rock Salt).”
“Our company uses direct marketing as a way to thank current clients and engage local prospects. One of our most popular campaigns is a direct mail package to new members of our local Chamber of Commerce. We have unique marketing collateral specific to the Chamber and the local services we offer. We send these materials in a package, along with some small swag. The unexpected nature of this mailing has made it very popular.
We also use direct mail such as postcards or handwritten cards for special events and thank-yous, like award wins or holidays. Handwritten cards are very unexpected, especially from a business, and they add a personal touch (Keri Lindenmuth, KDG).”
“I mail a print newsletter every month to my current clients, former clients, and the attorneys in my network. The list grows each month. These physical newsletters help keep me at the top of their minds. I find that a physical newsletter works much better than an email newsletter. I’ve found that the return on investment from physically mailed newsletters far exceeds that of email newsletters. Physical newsletters are especially effective in today’s day and age when most companies have switched to electronic newsletters (Prosper, The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked).”
Top 4 Don’ts To Consider When Running a Direct Mail Campaign
You’ve just learned the opinion of those who use direct mail capabilities for their business needs. Inkit’s direct mail experts have analyzed these approaches and prepared several quick tips on what can be improved and optimized. Consider the following don’ts before starting your direct mail campaign. Yes, the prevention over inspection principle works for direct mail campaigns as well.
Direct Mail Mistake #1: Overusing DIY Practices
It’s great when you are eager to do mail printing and delivery on your own, but, at the same time, such an attitude brings certain problems. Since most business owners and marketers have limited expertise in direct mail nuances, they are likely to make mistakes. As a result, a company may waste a considerable share of marketing budget and resources on mail pieces that don’t attract the interest of target audiences. Therefore, it’s better to use third-party services specializing in direct mail marketing that can handle your campaign. You won’t only be able to focus on your core responsibilities but will also cut mail expenditures using professional help.
Direct Mail Mistake #2: Ignoring Automation
Many businesses believe that since direct mail is a classic brick-and-mortar marketing approach, there is no way to automate it. If it’s your case, try out the functionality of Inkit’s mail automation tool to realize how mistaken you have been before. You can easily integrate it with a CRM to upload customer lists and send your mail pieces to specific audiences. Moreover, Inkit offers a custom postcard builder in which you can create appealing designs without hiring a professional designer. Once you are ready with the design and click the Send button, the mail printing and delivery are no longer your concern. Inkit will automatically mail postcards and other mail pieces to the necessary people from your CRM list.
Direct Mail Mistake #3: Trying To Target Everyone
Although the understanding of your target audience usually comes with experience, there is one thing you need to remember from the very start. Different groups of people have different preferences. Whereas teenagers are nuts about QR codes with AR/VR functionality, baby boomers value simplicity and clearness. Make sure to define the segment of the population that is most likely to choose your service. Once you know your target audience, think about what kind of direct mail can melt their hearts. According to the Trends and Future Of Direct Mail Through 2020 report, 77% of providers mention personalization as a very important direct mail opportunity. They also stress the importance of postage expertise and greater automation.
Direct Mail Mistake #4: Being Afraid of Unusual Solutions
Many of our respondents mentioned that they mailed product samples, handwritten letters, and other mailers less common than classic postcards. They acknowledge the high effectiveness of such mail pieces. Make sure to borrow this approach from your competitors and never neglect mail options that seem too unusual. Thanks to unique solutions, you can gain a competitive edge over other companies in your niche that are too boring to experiment and surprise their target audience.