The relevance of direct mail in modern marketing has been debated since Al Gore invented the internet. It was thought that with the increasing reach of the internet that email marketing would completely wipe out the direct mail industry. In fact it almost did. Direct mail and the printing industry as a whole severly diminished in the late 1990's and early 2000's. It hasn't been until the last four or five years that the industry has started to make a noticable comeback. One of the mail reasons for this resurgence is what I call "e-fatigue." We as consumers grow tired of the seemingly endless stream of emails flooding our inboxes on a daily basis. More than 60% of all emails we receive are sales based. Delete. Delete. Delete.
I don't think email marketing will ever fall out of favor (someone probably said that about direct mail at one time too). When mail was the primary means of reaching prospects, those prospects became desensitized to the messages they were receiving. The same happens now with email. You shouldn't rely on direct mail your only communication with your customers. Nor should you rely souly on email marketing, or facebook, or SEO as your only marketing efforts. One dimensional marketing simply doesn't work. Variety is the spice of life they say.
Direct mail should, however, be part of your overall marketing plan. Including traditional outbound marketing activities such as direct mail and cold calling as well as Inbound Marketing (blogging, email marketing, SEO, social media, etc). In fact, combining direct mail with other marketing activities increases campaign payback by up to 20%. But how? It's simple, not necessarily easy, but simple. Here are a few imporant points to keep in mind:
- Your list - Data makes all the difference. Scrub your lists regularly for bad addresses and incorrect information. The more obvious is that you're purchasing a list, make sure you are getting the data you really want.
- Design - Is this piece an accurate representation of your brand? Would you open or read this piece if it was in your mailbox?
- Copy - Concise and to the point. It only takes a half a second for the prospect to decide if they will keep reading or trash the piece. The goal is to get them to engage your 'Call to Action'....
- Call to Action - The entire point of your mailing campaign. This is the action you are directing them to engage your organization. "Call today supplies are limited", "vist our store this weekend for the big sale", "enter this code on our website for 10% off your next order".
- Analysis - As with any marketing activity, this is the most important step. We offer a service called "Track N Trace" which tracks when the pieces are actually delivered. A poor response rate can sometimes be be attributed to a slower-than-normal mail cycle. If you are showcasing an in store offer, make sure your Call to Action notes they must bring the mail piece in to receive the discount. Then you collect the mail piece and count them. Pretty simple right? If it is a web-based offer, set up a landing page on your website for the campaign to gather information.