Everyone gets mail, from consumers to businesses, so direct mail reaches everyone, especially those who are not yet digitally connected all the time. In some ways, direct mail stands out – and works – because it is not digital. Though that doesn’t mean direct mail companies can’t help digital businesses. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Since it takes an average of eight touchpoints to convert a prospect to a customer and a sale, direct mail pulls its fair share of the marketing load. Below are some ways that any business can use direct mail to gain customers and keep them coming back.
5 Ways to Make Your Direct Mail Work for You
1. Pay attention to design. White space, imagery, fonts, placement – it all matters in direct mail campaigns, especially postcards with more limited space. If you aren’t already working with a designer, One Stop Mail can help direct you.
Along these lines, also consider A/B testing for your direct mail designs. Changing a single variable, such as a call to action copy or how an offer is presented, can offer valuable insight into how to boost the success of future campaigns. You can also change more prominent and cost-effective elements, such as postcard size and paperweight or texture.
2. Keep it concise. WhosMailingWhat.com reports that word count in direct mail copy is on a steep decline. Campaigns that once used 1,000 words in 2000 are now closer to 500 words. More streamlined copy is easier and faster for readers to take in. People also respond better to visuals over or in conjunction with the copy.
3. Direct mail is tangible, so take advantage! One of the primary reasons direct mail works is because readers can touch it and turn it over in their hands. It can easily be pinned to a refrigerator or passed on to a neighbor. To that end, play with different sizes, shapes, and textures. The more your piece stands out, the more it will get around.
4. Try out trends. Green is a growing trend in many industries, print and mail included. This could mean printing on recycled paper or using “eco” and sustainability language in your copy. QR codes are also picking up steam and are easy to incorporate in any direct mail campaign (more on those below).
Another trend to think about is the COVID-19 pandemic. While we all thought it would be over by now, it’s showing signs of sticking around for quite a while. That likely has a direct impact on your business and your customers’ spending. Consider addressing the elephant in the room head-on, including adding safety precautions you may be taking or potential delays in shipping. And if your business is all digital or can be virtual, definitely promote those benefits.
5. Classic still counts. While it’s great to try new trends to see what may work for your specific company in your unique industry, don’t overlook the classics that have proven themselves time and time again, such as postcards.
Direct mail postcards have been around for decades and decades because they are smaller (read: more cost-effective to print, no envelopes) and faster for consumers to read. They also force creativity, since less is more and you are limited in your messaging by the physical size of the page.
When and How to Send Direct Mail
Timing and logistics can mean everything for a direct mail campaign. Send too much mail and your ROI will dwindle. Send too little or at the wrong times and you miss opportunities to grow. Here are three tried and true tips for mastering your marketing calendar.
Send During Holidays
Since people are expecting to receive gifts and cards, they are more likely to carefully shift through the mail. This applies to the traditional winter holidays as well as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Bonus: Beat the rush and send an offer in your mail just ahead of the holiday. You may capture those last-minute shoppers who suddenly realize they need to buy something now!
Send on Customer Birthdays
Blend direct mail with variable data to automate this process. Have cards sent directly to your current customers when again, they are anticipating more and better mail. You also get the added benefit of personalizing your interaction and thus, making it more memorable for your customer. Add an offer or freebie to make it even more memorable.
Send When You’ve Carved Out Time for Follow-up
Sticking to a marketing calendar only works if you have the time to follow up with your potential and current customers. It’s not just about sending mail – you have to connect or follow up when people respond (multiple times). So sending a campaign in the middle of your busy season may not be ideal. Instead, plan ahead and have the direct mail marketing campaign ready to send by the end of your busy season, so that you’ll have the time to track results and serve those potential customers the way you would like.
Use Direct Mail to Introduce Digital
While direct mail and digital advertising can be employed separately, they often work best when they support each other. For those consumers who are not digital dominant, direct mail is an easy way to introduce them to a website, service, or app.
Digital calls to action are increasingly popular among direct mail campaigns in these three ways:
- Directing readers to a social media channel.
- Using a QR code, either to take the reader to a webpage or to even start a specific order or inquiry.
- Encouraging readers to visit a website. More than 60% of people visit a website in reaction to direct mail.
Digital interactivity through direct mail benefits both businesses and nonprofits, as it makes donating much easier. The more ways you give readers to interact with you and the easier you make it, the more likely they are to become and stay a customer.
Who Uses Direct Mail Companies?
Think about your own mail – what companies do you receive direct mail from? Local services, like HVAC companies, dentist offices, and carpet cleaners may come to mind. And these are certainly industries that traditionally see the value in direct mail. However, new and non-traditional industries like SaaS (software as a service), disrupters, and e-commerce are tapping the direct mail well.
Google has been consistently using direct mail for nearly two decades. The company’s trademark white space – also an important design element – translates well to the printed page and helps to capture the reader’s attention.
E-commerce powerhouse Amazon also uses direct mail. The company’s holiday toy catalogs are rivaling the famous FAO Schwartz and likely reaching more potential customers. Activities and stickers are cleverly placed among the toy ads, giving the mail piece a longer life span.
You may think an app would advertise vial direct mail, but DoorDash chose to send direct mail postcards in an attempt to separate itself from the mounting competitors. In good postcard form, the text was minimal over strong visuals and included a discount for first-time users.
Likewise, Uber used local direct mail campaigns to promote its disrupter expansion into those new cities. A great example of how direct mail companies and marketing campaigns can work for non-traditional industries.
LinkedIn’s campaigns illustrate that direct mail is not just for consumers. The networking giant sends mail to companies and businesses explaining how to take full advantage of the SaaS services, such as posting a job or an ad. Some mailings also include enticing offers.
How to Get Started
These mega-companies, and so many more, work with direct mail companies because they see the ROI and know it works. However, you don’t need to be an Amazon or Google to reap the rewards. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or a startup in your garage, direct mail can help you get and keep customers.
To learn the best ways to reach those new customers, request a quote from one of the top direct mail companies in the industry, One Stop Mail. We’ll provide you with the information you need as we walk you through all the options for you and your business. Reach out to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602.223.3003.