By Andrea Techlin, Internet Marketing Consultant
With the growth and success of online marketing over recent years, you may find yourself tempted to cut out traditional marketing methods like direct mail to reduce your marketing budget. Although digital offers many advantages over print, like performance tracking dashboards and affordability of scale, it doesn’t mean it would be wise to focus all of your efforts only on this channel.
Every channel has its benefits and limitations. Direct mail allows you to interact with your target audience in ways that pay per click ads, email, and social can’t. When done strategically, it can be used to complement your digital strategy for a more comprehensive plan.
Here are a few reasons direct mail should still be part of your marketing strategy:
1. Personalized Reach
Direct mail allows you to communicate one-on-one with your potential clients. It’s a conversation directed at them personally, in a space that is isolated away from the competition. There isn’t the distraction of something else being only a click away, the chance of automatically being filtered into a spam folder, or being mass-deleted without a glance.
You know your customer better than you think, and by personalizing your content, you can make your printed materials much more impactful. Personalized direct mail helps to increase response rates. With variable printing, using the recipient’s name to not only personalize text, but also images, can make your pieces both eye-catching and relevant to your recipients.
Creating an effective direct mailing list is a lot like building an effective inbound marketing database. It allows you to segment prospective and returning clients and alter the message of your marketing campaign to capitalize on special events, new services, upcoming specials, and more.
2. Physical Interaction
With fewer people taking the time and spending the money on direct mail, it gives you an opportunity to stand out. You’ve got the advantage of not being an unwanted bill, but how can you prevent getting thrown out with the junk mail?
Because someone will physically interact with your marketing, use the medium to your advantage. Invest in an attractive design to grab attention and offer an experience that appeals to their senses by putting attention to detail in your paper choice, mailer shape, folding, and printing effects like embossing or foil. It’s also a great opportunity to send a free branded item like a magnet or notepad -- something “extra” that you can’t deliver digitally.
Getting creative and doing something different will not only keep your marketing materials at the top of the pile instead of at the bottom of the trash, but provide clients with an incentive to pay attention and engage with the materials they find in the mailbox.
3. Tangible Is Hard to Ignore
Your piece has arrived to the right person, at the right time, and made it to their table, desk, or refrigerator. If your message gives them a reason, it could sit where they will look at it every day until they contact you. They can easily take the piece with them to show someone else, and you’ll have a new referral.
Make sure you give them a clear benefit or call to action to make it valuable. This could be a free consultation or special offer. It could also be helpful information or a resource they want to keep for reference, like a reminder, calculator, or fact sheet. The combination of clear language and strong visuals communicates value, so the message of the mailer must inform the client how to receive that value (such as contacting your office or scheduling an appointment).
For the client, this brings the experience full-circle. It bridges the gap between contacting them through a marketing channel and making it possible to serve their needs and goals in the real world.
Still Not Convinced?
If you’re still not convinced, consider that even online behemoth Google still uses direct mail. If you’ve claimed your business listing on Google (and you should!), you’ve likely received postcards offering discount offers for their advertising services.
Small business owners who dismiss direct mail as dead have never used it or used it improperly, and they are missing valuable marketing opportunities. Direct mail enables you to keep your offers open to all audiences rather than just the generalized majority who fit your online strategy.
Direct mail is still an important component of a comprehensive marketing plan. Just as advances in technology have improved and given us more options for digital marketing, they have also given us more strategic and effective ways to reach customers through direct mail. For a successful marketing plan, make sure you create a multi-channel strategy that includes both digital and print channels.