Prior to the advent of the internet and online advertising as we know it, businesses and organizations relied heavily upon direct mail as their main marketing channel. It was a time-tested and reliable way of driving new leads and foot traffic through the front door.
Over the past few years, the costs of paid online advertising have gotten so competitive and cost-prohibitive that many companies are now once again turning to direct mail.
Unlike paid ads, of which someone can instantly delete with the click of a mouse button, direct mail is a physical, tangible connection to your business. Designed and executed properly, it can create an emotional connection and generate new leads and business.
Segment Your Lists
Long gone are the days of sending out mass mailers to a general audience and expecting a flood of new business to walk through your front door. People and consumers nowadays want personalization, and the best way to achieve that is through list segmentation.
By segmenting your lists and crafting a message that solves a particular pain point or issue, you’ll capture the attention of more people.
For example, if you’re a dentist and can segment your customer list into individual buckets, you can tailor your direct mailers to individuals who are due for their annual teeth cleaning.
The response rate will be much greater than if you were to send out that same mailer to a general audience, as only a fraction of those people would respond.
Include a Call-to-Action
Your call-to-action (CTA) can either make or break your direct mail campaign. If your CTA is too weak, or not appropriate, people won’t know what to do after they’ve read your mailer. CTA’s are vital because they ask people to take a specific action:
• Call us!
• Visit our website!
• Stop by within 5 days to use this coupon!
Keep in mind that if your CTA’s are too complicated people will most likely ignore rather than take the time to figure it out. Your call-to-action should be simple, clear, and straight-forward.
The design of a mailer is another critical aspect that can dramatically affect response rates. This is why many businesses leave direct mail design up to the experts. The proper way to design a direct mailer can take up a series of blog posts, so in the interest of time and space we’ll look at the elements you should take into consideration:
• High-quality materials (texture, shape, feel of the mailer)
All of the above elements combine to make a direct mail piece stand out and irresistible to open. Glossy coupon books and postcard size mailers are just two of many examples of how you can make your mailer look and feel different than the standard catalog or flyers that people are so used to receiving.
Encourage a Website Visit
Many companies and organizations are engaging in hybrid direct mail campaigns with great success. Just because direct mail is old school, doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of new technology.
You should also encourage people to visit your website or Facebook page in the body of your message or the CTA. A great way to entice them to visit your site or page is to create an online-only offer.
If you’d like a more complete demographic picture of your clients or customers, you can add a form to your site that will offer a coupon if they provide personal information such as age, marital status, or anything else you can think of that will give your business a leg up when it comes time to re-market.
Track and Measure
If you view direct mail as putting a message in a bottle and throwing it into the proverbial ocean, you’re doing it all wrong. Direct mail can and should be tracked. You can buy custom phone numbers or sign up for specialized call tracking services that will give you an indication which mailer/demographic/message is driving the most traffic.
You can also have multiple websites set up that have analytics tracking software running in the background. This way, you can see exactly which landing pages people visited, and that will give you a clue as to which mailers are performing the best.
As time goes by, keep testing and refining until you have a winner!