Why Direct Mail could be your business’s new best friend (Again)
March 2020 saw the world change in a way none of us could have anticipated. People moved from their offices to homes, schools shut and the world went digital – including marketing. With no exhibitions, face-to-face networking, or direct mail campaigns, if your business didn’t embrace digital marketing in 2020 then there was no where else to go.
But now that businesses are slowly moving back to offices and we are opening up to more face-to-face contact, is now the time to reembrace Direct Mail (or lumpy mail) to make a great first impression and start a conversation?
Yes, digital marketing is cheap and quick, and certainly isn’t going anywhere, but it’s not always the only answer – it is also extremely saturated with marketing messages and self help quotes, so it could be worth investing a little time and attention on a more tangible form of marketing.
How many emails do you get every day? And how many of them do you open? Mailchimp alone sends over a billion emails a day on behalf of companies trying to get your attention. It was reported over a year ago that the average office worker gets on average 121 emails a day – and if my inbox is anything to go by, it’s considerably higher now.
And when was the last time you received something lovely in the post? Apart from those Amazon parcels and pizza menus, hardly anything comes through the post these days.
People are wise to personalised emails, and clever tags and custom fields. However, there is still that childish joy in receiving a beautiful envelope, hand written and addressed to you.
Why not take advantage of that? If you want to make an impression, land on the doormat, not in the inbox.
So here are our top 5 tips for making Direct Marketing work for you
1. Be Selective
Mass mailings are expensive and often miss the target. Far better to really hone in on who you want to court. Is there a sector you are particularly trying to target? Are you looking for more clients locally or in a specific area? The tighter you can define your audience, the more you can send something perfectly tailored to them. Hand writing 50 quality envelopes to people you really want to work with, could well bring greater rewards than a printed mass mail out to thousands.
Spend some time whipping your list into shape, making sure contact details and addresses are all up to date, and you have the correct job titles and names.
2. Call to Action
Direct Mail does have costs attached, in both design, print and postage, so it’s vital that you know exactly what you want it to achieve, and that your customers know what you want them to do. Is it to visit your website? Phone? Make a purchase?
According to Royal Mail, more than 92% of direct mail is opened and 48% of UK adults took action after receiving direct mail before the pandemic:
• 14.2m bought something
• 10.5m used a voucher or coupon
• 2.8m tried a new product or service
• 3m made an enquiry by phone
Make sure your copy is clear and snappy, and that it compels your customer to take action. They are physically holding your message in their hands. Don’t waste the opportunity.
3. Know your target audience
You could have the best direct mail piece in the world, but if you are sending it to the wrong people you are wasting your time and money. I recieved a lovely package from a HR company recently – nice message and an interesting idea, but the thing is, they were promoting a service that didnt apply to a company of my size – I could never have used what they were offering. So like try to sell dog food to non-dog-owners… don’t waste your time and theirs by having the wrong people on your list.
4. Be Creative
94% of Direct Mail gets opened on average (compared to about 34% for Email) but you need to make sure it gets remembered.
This candle was sent to key business people by the WWF, to encourage them to turn the lights out during earth hour. Simple, but effective and memorable.
Even if your budget doesn’t stretch to gifts, then a creative approach to design and layout goes a long way. Here’s a mail out I sent recently which I wanted to be eyecatching, show my expertise and hopefully make people smile along the way. This was one of my most successful marketing campaigns and gained me two large clients from a mail out of just 200.
6. Don’t forget digital
Even though you are targeting a small group of customers, you can still amplify this message on your other marketing channels. Make sure your branding and messaging is reflected in your other materials, whether print, web or social. Take photographs and share them on your social media channels to show others just how creative you are, or prompt people to tag you on their social media when they receive it.
7. Track your results
Whatever your objective, you need to work out your return on investment. How many sales or enquiries does it need to achieve. Once you have worked on that, then build in ways to measure it. Some can be very direct, such as this voucher booklet sent out to potential customers. Otherwise, custom website urls to visit, or emails to contact can be an easy way to track where enquiries have come from – or you can just ask.
8. Include a letter.
Certain experts in direct marketing believe that no matter what you are sending through the post, including a personalised letter is vital. I tend to agree with them. The letter is like the silent salesmen for your creative piece. Imagine what a waste it would be if you sent something fun through the post, but missed the opportunity to explain why you have sent it?
9. Some other bits and pieces to remember
• Spend some time whipping your list into shape, making sure contact details and addresses are all up to date, and you have the names of the people you want to engage with, not just their job title.
• Don’t forget that large letter sizes and small packet sizes vary in price, so think about the dimensions you are sending. Objects such as coasters, keyrings, brochures and pens will cost less to send than bulkier boxes
• Make sure your marketing falls within Data Protection Act on Junk mail.
• Think about postage times, especially if it’s something perishable. Close to holiday periods are probably best avoided. Or during hot weather.
I’ve plenty more examples, so if you’d like to consider Direct Marketing to connect with your customers, then get in touch. We can help you work out your objectives and come up some creative ideas that will work with your budget.