5 Ways to Use Direct Mail More Effectively
Every day, without fail, I collect my postal mail from my mail box and open it. Can I say that for my email? No. In fact, I have an email account that I created years ago for the sole purpose of collecting spam emails, while my “real” email address is only provided to friends and family. I don’t look at 95% of my “spam” email and I’m guessing that this may be the case for many other consumers that suffer from email overload. This is why direct mail is a winner in our household. I open and look at just about every piece of mail that appears to be important, interesting or beneficial. I don’t find it overwhelming or obtrusive and I actually like getting my mail…and I’m in good company. According to an International Communications Research study, 73% of consumers actually prefer direct mail over other forms of advertising. So, if direct mail is not a current tactic in your marketing strategy, perhaps it is time to consider adding it to your lineup. When done right, a direct mail campaign can generate better ROI, help improve brand awareness and increase sales. Here are a few tips for helping you make your next direct campaign more effective:
Use the right marketing list.
A house list of prospects or former customers is best for direct mail campaigns as it traditionally will provide significantly better results than a purchased list. A house list normally ensures that you have the correct contact name, that they may already have interest in your product/service, and can be easily filtered. You could also purchase a list from a third party supplier, however, you’ll want to do your homework beforehand. How do they get their information? How often is their info updated? Can they provide a list that is focused on the market or geographic area that you are trying to target? Testing a smaller list can help you determine if the vendor is a good list source before sinking more of your budget into a larger list purchase. Without a good list, your direct mail campaign will flounder.
Get your envelope opened.
A few months ago I published an article regarding this very subject. Here, you can get a lot of good tips on how to get your direct mail opened. The bottom line is, you have to make it appear to be important. Whether that means printing your envelopes with “Do Not Bend” or creating unique packaging that piques the recipient’s interest, you don’t want it to look like a throw-away piece of junk mail. As a card vendor, we (of course) advocate including a plastic or paper card in the mailing to help boost lift. A card adds perceived value that will get your mail opened 9 out of 10 times. Even as a card industry professional, I open every envelope that includes a card for fear that I might miss something important – like a new EMV credit card!
Target your message to your list.
In today’s digitally connected world, personalization is key to successful marketing. Consumers expect tailored marketing messages that are in line with their interests, their purchasing habits and even their career aspirations. The message of your direct mail piece should be targeted and specific to your audience. For example, if you are a lending company and are targeting young mortgage applicants, use imagery and copy that will help them visualize themselves in their first home. Use variable data to address them by name, include a pre-approved loan amount or a menu of targeted offers specifically for them. The days of “spray and pray” are gone forever. Personalization now reigns.
Include a Call To Action (CTA).
A Call to Action (CTA) is the second most important part of your direct mail campaign (remember, the mailing list is always first!) Without it, you will not get good results. Your CTA should tell your prospect what to do and it should be simple, clear and direct. Perhaps you want drive them to your website to sign up for an event or submit an application to be considered for a loan. A simple “Register on our website” or “Submit your application today” is enough to direct the prospect to take action. Also, CTAs work well if you create a sense of urgency, such as “Respond by May 31st to get your…” or “This offer is only good for 10 days from the postmarked date.” Providing information is not enough – you must direct them in what to do next.
Consider taking a multi-channel approach.
Any great marketing strategy should include more than one tactic to get the best results. Although direct mail can pull great results in a digitally-saturated world, it should not be your only method for driving sales. Consider that not everyone owns a smart phone or (gasp!) has internet access, and that some consumers simply ignore all of the digital advertising that they receive on a daily basis. Utilize both traditional and digital marketing strategies and focus on those that resonate with your target audience.