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When and How to Use Direct Mail Effectively

When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? If you’re like many people, you might be caught off guard by the appearance of a handwritten letter in your mailbox. But, before America Online’s iconic, “you’ve got mail,” soundbite fundamentally changed popular communication, mail was a very different experience. Most people’s mailboxes were filled with bulk mail postcards and letter SPAM. But, spammers have since moved online, and now our email inboxes are crammed full of SPAM, phishing attempts, malicious viruses, and empty value company newsletters. Leaving good, old physical mail a communication medium that is much easier to cut through to reach your target. But, it’s important to know when and how to use direct mail effectively to put your business ahead of the competition.

When to Use Direct Mail

Bold Entity is first and foremost a digital marketing agency, which is why we understand the benefits of sometimes going non-digital when it comes to marketing. We love digital marketing, but year after year, it gets more cluttered and a little more challenging to cut through all the noise and endless distractions. Especially as technology changes and consumer attention spans become shorter and short. So the question is, are you having difficulty reaching your target audience through digital marketing? Changing your marketing angle of attack may be just what you need to reach your target audience. 

Direct mail offers a great solution to reaching a target audience differently. The more specific your target audience, the easier it will be to target direct mail. For example, a local business with a 10-mile service radius will be significantly simpler and more cost-effective to target with bulk mailings than a B2C company with a national audience. Another consideration for direct mail campaigns is buyer value. While digital marketing is relatively inexpensive, physical media production and mailing have a cost associated with them. There’s a reason you don’t see many advertisements for chewing gum, but certainly for car dealerships. The buyer value is significantly different, and converting just a few buyers through a marketing campaign can make up the cost. So consider the value of your target audience.

Some companies have a sour taste for direct mail based on experience.More often than not, we find these companies ran stand-alone, single-run direct mail initiatives. To have the best chance for success, any direct mail marketing initiative needs to be a part of an integrated solution. A single exposure to your company through a postcard is unlikely to generate conversions. However, it can significantly aid an integrated campaign that uses email marketing, social media ads, and even outdoor billboards. Together your marketing and sales efforts are more than the sum of their parts.

Speaking of integrated marketing, direct mail is a new and different way to practice retargeting your marketing efforts. We generally think of retargeting as a digital marketing function, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you received a high-value prospect’s information that hasn’t converted, sending them a physical piece of mail can help you stand out and grab your prospect’s attention. Learn more about increasing your marketing effort efficiency and effectiveness with Retargeting

How to Use Direct Mail Marketing Effectively

Just like email marketing, the success of your direct mail marketing is heavily dependent on its foundation, your mailing list. The best direct mail campaign in the world will fail if your mailing list is junk. Do not waste your money buying lists to SPAM strangers. Purchasing lists is a poor business practice, and the quality just isn’t there. They are often out of date and include people who have zero interest in your company’s offerings. You are better off creating your own qualified mailing list. 

First and foremost, follow best practices for lists by using opt-in and double opt-in criteria for creating your mailing list. You should also avoid blasting out direct mail to your entire list. Segmentation is key to increasing your conversion to cost ratio. Target only those prospects that most closely match the ideal customer for your marketing initiative. Segmentation will also help you make mail more personalized and specific to the recipient to run smaller, more intimately targeted campaigns. Thanks to technology, this is easier than ever by utilizing variable data printing that can allow you to print the most compelling offer for each prospect based on lead data you’ve collected.

Creating an Effective Direct Mail Deliverable

Think about the last time you went to the mailbox, what was in it, probably a lot of white rectangles. Most mail comes in white, standard-size envelopes and glossy postcards. Spend the effort to create something that breaks that mold. Non-rectangular shapes, vibrant colors, and texture can all help to make your direct mail piece stand out from everything else in the mail. 

Sending three-dimensional mail also helps cut through the noise. There is old direct mail marketing wisdom in “everyone opens a package.” You probably throw away letters and postcard mailers all the time. They often have less than a second to capture the recipient’s attention before they’re chucked in the trash. But a package, people don’t throw away packages without opening them. Of course, you need a target audience with a high enough value where sending a package makes sense. You have to consider what to put in the package. For successful direct mail marketing, you need to send a gift your target wants, will keep, and actually use. Direct mail packages are not the place to cut corners and send branded tat. What you send in your package and its quality tells your prospect how important their sale and ongoing relationship is to your business. If you received an ugly, cheap plastic pen, how much do you think that company will value you as a customer?

Most direct mail pieces have minimal real estate for getting the point across to your target. Great design with compelling copy and visuals that ends in a clear call-to-action that’s easy for the reader to act upon is essential. Avoid including a long website URL the person will need to type into their phone. Instead, use a QR code they can scan with their phone and promise value for doing so. An example of such is by offering a limited promotion or discount using a specific QR code. 

If you are targeting especially high-value prospects or specific accounts, don’t be afraid to get personal. Writing and signing a personal note as part of your direct mail can make a big difference with valuable prospects. When you show a real person took the time to put together a piece of mail by hand and send it to them, prospects feel valued and are more likely to covert. 

Effective Direct Mail Marketing Follow Through

Effective direct mail follow-through starts with planning support for your direct mail initiative. It’s essential to create an infrastructure around your direct mail campaign to improve its effectiveness and develop a logistics plan to guide the target audience through your campaign. 

What you do after you send out your mail is just as important as the direct mail piece. Have a follow-through plan in place. Where do your conversions go? You need to make it easy for your prospects to convert once they take the intended action from your direct mail. Creating easy conversions can include streamlined landing pages and forms that are easy to submit. You may want to set up dedicated phone lines or highly monitored email accounts to respond to your prospects while they’re hot. Consider adding responsive prospects to a hot leads list for more direct contact and selling. 

Are you going to target prospects who did not respond? If they don’t complete a purchase event, how will you retarget them to keep their momentum down the marketing funnel? You can create follow-ups with these prospects through mail, email, or phone calls. Start the conversation by asking if they received your direct mail. Another idea is to segment your non-responsive prospects into a specialized digital retargeting effort.

Getting Started with Direct Mail

It’s important to remember that direct mail works best as part of an integrated marketing effort, most often a digital marketing effort. Direct mail can be a great addition to your marketing mix as a follow-up to your content marketing strategy generating leads through gated content for your business. You can then follow up on your direct mail efforts with digital ad retargeting to keep prospects engaged with your business and traveling down the funnel to conversion. 

If you’re a B2B company looking for new and better ways to find prospects and turn them into clients, Contact Bold Entity. As a B2B-focused branding and digital marketing agency, we can help you advance specific marketing initiatives or help you plan an integrated, broad-spectrum marketing strategy to serve your entire business.

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