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How Direct Mail Companies Help You Get and Keep Customers: Top 5 Tips You Need to Know Right Now!

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.

The word count changes in the direct mail copy all formats

From WhosMailingWhat.com

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.

How to Send Direct MailSend 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.

How Direct Mail Companies Help Digital MarketingDigital calls to action are increasingly popular among direct mail campaigns in these three ways:

  1. Directing readers to a social media channel.
  2. Using a QR code, either to take the reader to a webpage or to even start a specific order or inquiry.
  3. 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 direct mail adGoogle 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 [email protected] or 602.223.3003.

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How to Pick the best Direct Mail Company: A Checklist

Top 5 Things Everyone Should Look For In the Best Direct Mail Company

Sifting through all of the companies as you search for the best direct mail company can be time-consuming. How do you determine if one is better than the other? What characteristics offer you the best opportunity for success?  

Before we get into finding the best direct mail company for you, let’s erase any doubt you may have about whether direct mail belongs in a modern marketing mix. When you review these impressive results, you will know that it’s among the most effective marketing methods today.  

Astounding Direct Mail Statistics 

Businesses with customer acquisition goals should utilize direct mail. With an average return on investment of 29%, mail campaigns are profitable. In addition, direct mail recipients tend to buy 28% more items and spend 28% times more than other buyers.

The reason for this high rate of return may have something to do with how individuals interact with their mail. About 77% of people report sorting and scanning their mail immediately after receiving it. With statistics like this, marketers can be sure they touch their audience.  

An informative postcard can also be the start of a mutually beneficial relationship with new clients because more than 50% say that they find postcards useful, and 90% say that marketers who contact them through the mail are trustworthy.  

Now that you know direct mail can be hugely beneficial, here are the five key criteria to use to find the best direct mail company.  

1. They Have a Track Record of Success  

OSM AChecklistThis is a key indicator if a company is even worth pursuing. You can usually see the type of clients they’ve worked with in past on their website.  

Review the testimonials on their site. You’ll be able to see whether their clients like their responsiveness, whether they deliver their services as promised, and whether they have great customer service.  

Whether they have testimonials or not, it’s a smart move to talk with a project manager or owner to determine whether you want to consider them further. One of your first questions should be about their track record. Here’s a shortlist of questions that can help you uncover whether a direct mail company has delivered success:  

  • What industries have your clients been in? Do you specialize in a specific area? 
  • Can you describe how you achieve success for your clients? 
  • What do you consider success for your clients?  
  • Can you describe a failure and how you overcame it?  

2. They are Reasonably Priced 

Budgets can be a tricky area. That’s why price should be one of the key things you ask upfront so you won’t be surprised after the working relationship has begun.  

Keep in mind that there is not a simple, static template for direct mail. There are ways to adjust things – the size of a postcard, lower or raise the print run, or adjust the printing requirements – that can help keep direct mail costs under control while still offering outstanding returns.  

If mailer personalization is on your mind, today’s printing advances put variable data printing within reach. It’s now a much more cost-effective strategy to connect with customers. (P.S. As a marketer, you want to personalize your mail because 99% of marketers say that it advances customer relationships).

No matter what the size of your budget, you want to make sure every dollar is adding to the end result.  

3. They Understand Your Needs  

direct mail company colleagues analyzing on an ipadOne of the simplest, yet most important things the best direct mail company for you can do is to grasp your unique circumstance and support that understanding with a solution that’s tailored to fit you.  

They must be willing to work with you to develop strategies, test tactics, measure outcomes, and make changes to optimize results so that they can gain bigger, better sales for your business. Your own situation requires unique strategies, as you’re interviewing candidates, make sure that you are being understood.  

4. They Know the Complexities of the “Game” 

While it sounds simple on the surface, maximizing direct mail results takes a lot of experience and insider knowledge. Look for years of success across a diversity of industries. This demonstrates an ability to navigate and assess the needs in a range of markets and provide guidance for reaching a specific audience.  

5. They are Customer Acquisition Experts 

Persuasion isn’t a given, even with the best product or service. Because there are so many distractions that compete for your customers’ attention, it’s easy to overlook product announcements.  

The best direct mail company has experts who can advise clients on the best lead generation tactics. They can recommend specific things, including the use of coupons and new customer discounts.     

In addition, they understand how to create memorable impressions with your mailers, so they stand out from competitors in a crowded mailbox.  

Getting to Know You 

direct mail company woman listening clientsIf after doing your research and asking questions, you’ve found the best direct mail company for the job, you’ll rightfully expect a bit of marketing magic. Understand that it may take a bit of research, trial and error, and practice to learn how to collaborate with outside experts.  

Your experts may ask questions about your business, industry, and goals to determine the best course of action. They may recommend cleaning up your house list if you’ve had lukewarm results from recent mail campaigns, even suggesting a customized list to better target your audience.  

Postcard images, specific phrases, and mailer colors may all be analyzed and considered, along with previous campaigns before a specific course of action is set.  

Setting the Course for Long-term Direct Mail Success 

An exploratory phase early in the relationship isn’t unusual. It’s all about finding the right path to maximize your results – and profits. And, after each mailing and campaign, the results will be analyzed and elements of mailers and campaigns may be tweaked, to get even more value from the next mailing.    

During the entire process, the company you choose should make you feel that you are in charge and driving your own results. The course must be transparent and your organizational expertise included to ensure that your mailer achieves incredible success.  

On your search for the best direct mail company, we are confident that One Stop Mail’s 40-years of experience and success will make your final list. In addition to unmatched direct mail experience, our customer service and gentle guidance will build your confidence in our partnership.   

Get started by calling Marty Morales at (602) 223-3003 or send us a note

Updated 10.12.2021

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