In our technology-driven world where digital marketing reigns supreme, many believe direct mail has gone the way of cassette tapes and rotary dial phones. However, it is precisely because direct mail is fading from the scene that the right, cleverly crafted campaign can help your brand stand out from the crowd.
Ready to make direct mail cool again? Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your next campaign.
Focus on the Right Audience
While it’s true that printing and shipping generally make direct mail a more expensive option than digital marketing, research shows that giving your audience something tangible to hold in their hands can also help you make a deeper, more memorable impression.
The key is to focus on a narrow, carefully selected audience. If you’re selling bacon, don’t squander your valuable direct mail dollars on lifelong vegetarians. If you’re selling prescription glasses, leave the people with 20/20 vision off the list. You get the idea. Do your research, and save your direct mail investment for the most qualified potential customers.
Go Beyond Postcards
The more narrow your audience, the more time and money you can invest per direct mail piece — creating an opportunity to make an even greater impact. Instead of sending out a million forgettable postcards, send out just a few of something much more captivating.
Consider a mailer in an unusual shape, or maybe even something three dimensional. We once helped a banking client send out cellphones with the CEO’s phone number preprogrammed in. How’s that for a way to showcase their personal, responsive customer service? Of course, you don’t always need a big or flashy idea to capture attention. Something as simple as mailing handwritten notes can help you stand out and show your audience you care.
Include a Clear Call to Action (CTA)
Imagine you’re Jim, human resources director at a midsize corporation. You receive an eye-grabbing direct mail piece, so you decide to take a second out of your busy day to look it over. It provides an overview of a software program designed to help HR departments organize information about job applicants. “This looks kind of interesting,” you say to yourself, and you toss the mailer into a drawer to revisit when you have more time. Two months later, it’s still buried in that drawer, never to be seen again.
Most of us are like Jim. We’re busy, making it all too easy to set aside anything that isn’t an immediate priority — especially when we aren’t sure exactly what to do with it. Including a clear call to action on your direct mail piece gives your prospects an obvious next step to take and helps inspire them to reorder their priorities. Imagine if Jim’s mailer had said something like, “Call by Oct. 1 to get your first month free.” This clear call to action, combined with the urgency of the offer, might just have been enough to save that mailer from the junk drawer.
Launching a direct mail campaign without implementing a way to measure results is a bit like doing a scavenger hunt blindfolded. There are plenty of clues along the way to help you succeed, but you’ll probably miss most, if not all, of them. Let’s say you’re two months into your direct mail campaign, and you’ve seen an uptick in customers. If you aren’t directly measuring campaign results, how will you know whether your increased sales are due to direct mail, other marketing efforts, or just a happy coincidence? And if you don’t know what’s causing the change, how will you know whether or not your direct mail campaign is paying off?
When it comes to tracking direct mail success — and differentiating the results of the campaign from the results of your other marketing efforts — you have a variety of options. For example, you could create a special landing page URL that’s only shown on the direct mail piece, or you could include a unique code recipients can enter to receive a discount. Whatever method you choose to track success, make sure it won’t create confusion for your customers or make it difficult for them to follow through on your call to action.
Sometimes, even the most compelling direct mail campaigns aren’t enough to drive action on their own. Direct mail is typically most effective when it’s part of a larger marketing campaign. Let’s go back to Jim from human resources. Say he’s about to call to request his free month of service, but then a co-worker walks in with a pressing, time-sensitive problem. By the time Jim finishes handling the problem, the direct mail piece is likely long gone from his mind.
Once you’ve gotten someone’s attention with your direct mail piece, it’s important to build on your momentum. Follow up with a phone call, email, targeted digital advertising campaign or even a second mailer. Reinforcing your messages over time across multiple marketing and sales efforts creates a bigger impact than any single campaign element alone can provide.
Excited to start your next direct mail campaign? We’re here to help with everything from developing a successful strategy and brainstorming clever concepts to creating eye-catching designs and seamlessly managing implementation.