Direct Mail is Not Dead

Incredibly, 205 billion email messages are sent per day – that’s almost 2.4 million emails sent every second! Email marketing, in particular, has experienced a renaissance of sorts with advent of smart phones and there’s no debating that it’s a very cheap way of reaching people quickly. But there’s also another way to boost your response rates: direct mail.

On the whole, and it may surprise you, people almost always glance at their snail mail and think about what to do with it (rather than just tossing it into the trash). In fact, according to the Data & Marketing Association (formerly the Direct Marketing Association), 70-80% of consumers say they open almost all of their mail – including “junk” mail — and 79% of consumers act immediately on direct mail (versus 45 % for emails.)

Direct Mail Stands Out

Because marketers have been increasingly relying on email – a mail piece landing on your prospect’s desk really STANDS OUT now. You can also do more with direct mail because it comes in all shapes and sizes: a 4-color postcard, a business letter on company letterhead, or a clever giveaway or direct mail piece delivered Priority Mail or via FedEx can be especially effective.

To create a direct mail piece that will garner a response, you need to consider the following: your list, your message, defining a clear next step, your success metrics, and the possibility of the direct mail piece as one component of a larger campaign effort.

The Target List

You must have the right target list. Period. 50% of the success is based on the quality of the list, 30% is the offer or promotion and only 20% is attributed to the creative. It’s the list that matters most.

The Message

Next, you need to have a clear message that addresses the decision-making stage of the prospect. You must reach your target audience with the right content, at the right time. Remember, direct mail can be personalized as easily as email.

The Call to Action

Your call to action must be clear. What do you want the prospect to do next? Call today. Visit a website. Redeem a promotion. Make it as easy as possible for your prospect to take the next step. Make this call to action very explicit on the marketing piece.

The Measurements

Get clear on your success metrics. Use unique URLs and phone numbers to capture the exact response rates for your direct mail efforts. Keep in mind, people hang on to their mail pieces for longer than email – it has a longer shelf life. Track the quality of your converted customers. Did they bring in more revenue that your typical campaign? Finally, monitor overall phone and website activity. This can be an indicator of the ‘halo effect’ the direct mail piece had on overall awareness for your company, products and services.

An Integrated Approach

According to NowSourcing for United Mail, customers spend 25% more when businesses use both direct mail and email marketing in combination. A follow-up email or print ad to your direct mail piece may be a trigger for the customer to act. It takes repetition for consumers to remember — and believe — your marketing messages.

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