When you stroll down to your mailbox to grab the mail, what do you usually come away with? Most of the time it’s a couple of bills, a poorly constructed piece of advertising and that same tattered-looking bundle of coupons that arrives every other day, right? But, once in a while there’s always something that causes us to stop while thumbing through the mail and really take a look at what’s staring back at us—generally, a beautifully designed, well thought out piece of direct mail.
Direct mail was once the best way to put your advertising message right into the hands of the people you’re advertising to and today, it still remains a highly viable, severely underrated way to accomplish that same task. In fact, direct mail is making a resurgence in marketing brainstorming sessions behind the doors of companies big and small. Why? Because the core idea of direct mail is a sound one and today’s modern resources have made it even easier to track, convert and entice potential brand advocates through a simple direct mail campaign!
Modern advances in direct mail
Once, direct mail was the marketing equivalent of fishing with dynamite: drop your message into a sea of customers and hope that when it lands you’re able to snag at least some collateral. Today, direct mail has taken a bit more of a refined approach and now, it’s more like casting a net to see exactly who you’re able to reel in. This paradigm shift is the result of some great innovations in targeted dissemination and tracking:
- EDDM: Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) campaigns are the newest and best way to get your direct mail out to people in a quick, cost efficient way. Businesses partner with the United States Postal Service to target a group of mailing addresses for a direct mail campaign: the business creates the marketing collateral and the USPS carriers deliver the message directly to these recipients during regular routes. In this way, the cost of obtaining mailing lists and creating variable data printing runs is eliminated, while the message still reaches customers.
- QR codes and unique URLs: Tracking was one of the major downfalls of direct mail campaigns in the past, simply because after the campaign went out, the only metric to track success was conversions. Today, tracking is made simple through QR codes and unique web URLs that give marketers insight not only into conversions, but also in queries and interest. Any interaction with a piece of direct mail can be tracked as soon as the recipient bridges the digital gap, making it much easier to gauge a mailing’s effectiveness.
Growing your business with a successful direct mail campaign
While a direct mail campaign can be used to market just about anything, it’s best leveraged as a tool to help grow your business and generally, this come in one of two forms:
- Reactivating old clients/customers that are no longer active.
- Bringing new customers through the door and creating brand advocates.
While accomplishing either of these objectives will help to bolster your business’ platform, it must be understood that they’re two distinct groups and require two distinct forms of messaging. For new customers it might be easy to draw them in with the allure of a deal or sale; to reach older customers, you might have to showcase something new—it’s all relative to understanding what your customers want to see and what will make them stop shuffling through the mail to digest your direct mail message.
Some examples of traditional direct mail campaigns that have proven tremendously successful in the past include:
- Sending redeemable coupons that can be used either in person or online, prompting new and returning customers to take action by interacting with your business.
- Advertising a product or service with a high value proposition. Giving people information about something they deem valuable can incite action.
- Singling customers out and creating the illusion of exclusivity. If direct mail feels personal or exclusive, people are more likely to act.
- Creating a sense of urgency, whether it be about a limited time offer, sale, product, etc. Urgency breeds action and can create rapid returns if executed properly.
The bounds of a direct mail campaign are nearly endless and their ability to grow your business both in the short term and the long term are invaluable when utilized properly. If your business isn’t currently utilizing direct mail, make sure you’re taking steps to make it a core focus of your next campaign. Let AlphaGraphics help you with the design and execution of your next direct mail venture and we’re certain you’ll see the value in this time-tested form of marketing.