With all the focus on digital marketing these days, it’s easy to overlook an old trusted medium that can play an important role in your marketing mix.
Direct mail isn’t dead.
If you’ve been in the marketing field for 20 or more years, you probably have plenty of experience using direct mail. The trick for making it effective today is to use direct mail as a tool to handle a single task, instead of running large-scale, expensive campaigns.
Those mass mailings of yesteryear generally aren’t effective, unless you’re a sophisticated consumer marketer with a big budget focused on building brand awareness, or unless you have extremely accurate tracking metrics to quantify marketing ROI.
Most newly-minted marketers entering the workforce spent their college focus learning digital marketing – social media, mobile marketing, search engine marketing and possibly email. If you’re one of them, and are looking for ways to improve your overall marketing results, think about using direct mail. With everyone getting bombarded by digital campaigns, a well-done mailpiece can really stand out.
Direct Mail Campaign Ideas
Here are some ideas for campaigns to get you thinking:
- Generate New Leads – Consider joining an industry organization where the members are your target market. Create a special offer – a quote, a discount, a pass for a seminar, etc. – and send them a special introduction with the offer.
- Direct Sales – Create a “special deals” mailing, run monthly or quarterly, that’s targeted to the specific needs of your audience(s). Direct them to your website to order, and use a PURL or offer code to track responses.
- Strengthen Relationships with Existing Customers – Mail a hand-written style thank you letter from your CEO showing appreciation for their business. The thank you letter is rare nowadays. Don’t provide any special offer – just thank them. It’ll stand out.
- Upsell to Existing Customers – Send a notecard with a special upgrade offer to your best customers. Everybody loves a deal, and make them feel that you appreciate their business by giving them a strong offer.
Tips for Effective Direct Mail Marketing
After deciding how you’re going to use direct mail, make sure to follow these 5 steps:
- Use a clean list. Your list is the most important component of your direct mail campaign. Incorrect addresses or old contacts create a wasted investment. Make sure that your names and addresses are accurate.
- Project conversion metrics. The general rule of thumb is that the smaller and more targeted your list, the more you can spend per piece. It’s better to make a strong impression to a few than to make a weak impression to many. Know your cost per unit, and project a conversion rate, so you can estimate whether your campaign will have a positive ROI before running it.
- Make the offer clear. Review your creative to make sure that the recipient will know exactly what action you’re asking her to take. If you scan your mailpiece and can’t determine the call-to-action within 3 seconds, revise your creative.
- Plan fulfillment. Know exactly how you’ll handle positive responses, and track each one
- Measure results. It’s always a good practice to measure your results after a campaign, to see how close you were to your original projections, and if you achieved a positive return on investment. This will also help you become a better estimator over time, and thus a more effective marketer.
If you need more creative inspiration, check out these examples of award winning direct mail campaigns.