Contrary to its pricey reputation, direct mail is an effective and AFFORDABLE way to sell and advertise. Affordable was never a word attributed with direct mail but now it is one of the more cost effective mediums of messaging. When digital options first emerged, advertisers could reach consumers for pennies, which made direct mail seem like a fortune.
Times have changed and the cost of digital can range from a few cents to upwards of $20 for an impression. In addition, the digital environment is so saturated with pop ups, banner ads, sponsored feed and in-mail junk, consumers have become desensitized to the digital clutter appearing on their screens.
Enter the comeback of direct mail – or for some sales professionals (like me), it has never left.
Direct mail, when implemented correctly, can be the most impactful way of causing consumers to take action. At direct mail’s average bulk cost of $0.35 apiece, it is an affordable way to capture attention.
So how is a good campaign established?
Look at your CRM or your research. Establish whom your key customers are, what they look like (age, income, geography, etc.).
For consumer retention, use the list from prior targeted purchases. Specific lists may cost a little more in postage than bulk but it’s worth retaining previous purchasers.
For consumer acquisition, you can purchase a lists by specific attributes of each recipient or by carrier routes that have the qualifiers you are looking for. Usually, the more specific your list: the higher the postage rate. There are also shared mail programs like DAL cards offered by publications. DAL-like cards are cheaper (sometimes as low as $0.10 for print, prep and post) but you don’t get the freedom of choosing your target audience qualifiers.
Target your customers when they are buying. Look at your sales reports. When are your highest sales? This is the time your consumer is buying so this is the time you should be targeting them. Timing varies for different products and industries.
Determine what it is your consumer values; then offer it. If you can afford to customize your message to each recipient, do it. If not, that’s okay too. Whatever you do, keep your message simple and make the headline appealing and relevant.
If you are a restaurant offering a free appetizer, make it pop. Don’t bury the offer in small writing amongst all the other entrees you are offering. Keep your offer clean, concise and engaging.
Nothing is less appealing than receiving a mailer that has a ton of tiny images with small text telling the consumer everything about your business. I recently received a mailer with a message for deck cleaning, lawn care, painting, lighting and windows all on one 5×8 post card! That’s great if your company offers all of those amazing services but too much information and pictures can be overload and garbage material. Look at your sales – which service or services are the most popular? Feature the top one, maybe two.
One mailer is not the answer to all of your advertising needs. Consistency is key and the rule of thumb is three times is a charm. It takes three impressions for a consumer to make a decision. You can reach out three times via direct mail or you can mix up your advertising mediums – maybe email, mail, engage them on social, or pay for the creepy ads that follow them around the net.
Direct Mail can be a profitableadvertising strategy if done correctly. The recipient has to look at your offer and register it before deciding to keep or toss your piece. That holds a lot of value in today’s cluttered digital environment.
By: Edan Gelt, CMD, MBA
Edan Gelt is an award winning, innovative, energetic, highly creative and consumer-centric advertising leader with successful results in increasing sales and traffic.
Her experience includes business-to-business and consumer advertising, media-buying, branding, public and community relations, strategy creation/implementation, budgeting, grand openings, trade shows, grass-roots advertising initiatives and special event planning.