Direct Mail Marketing is alive and well

Tangible, effective, trackable advertising still moves prospects through our doors, completing every marketing plan. Direct mail has been a staple of marketing for some time now. We get marketing pieces in our mailbox every week, whether at home or the office. Often we detest the “junk” mail stating that it is worthless and question why people still send direct mail. Yet, should the right piece of mail come across our desk we will stop and look to consider the offer. This is why direct mail is so effective, it doesn’t matter how much we receive we always stop to peruse through them to see if anything suits our needs.

Why Does Direct Mail Marketing Work?
To answer this, we must look at why businesses send direct mail. There is one thing that practically every person in the modern world has: a mailbox. Because of this you get mail, sometimes, a lot of mail. With the ability to filter your mailings via zip codes, you can filter out people to find only your exact target market. Direct mail is inexpensive when considering what some companies are willing to spend on television commercials or huge online advertising campaigns. You only need to provide the printed medium and postage and you have one of the most effective forms of marketing ever known to the human race. Direct mail works because it is personalized and inexpensive–allowing the return to outweigh the cost–and the results are measurable by keeping track of how many pieces were sent and comparing that number to the number of people who respond to the announcement.

What Format of Direct Mail Marketing Works?
With so many options it’s easy to get lost trying to decide what you should print and send out. Many people elect for the most basic form which is printed on newspaper-type of paper with a simple black and white ink. Or the standard flimsy postcard. There are four basic types of formats that work well with direct marketing: letters, postcards, sell sheets, and brochures. Trying to figure out what works best is often trial and error and the ability to be slightly different than everyone else. This usually means spending a little bit more on different sizes or using special coating that will feel unlike anything they’ve felt while rifling through the daily mail. Sometimes we need more room to explain our message to our potential or existing clients, that’s when we should use letter sized marketing messages. You can make your letter standout by using custom printed envelopes that are full of color that will stand out from the drab white that is standard for every business. Spending money on the printed letter or marketing message is worth every “George Washington” leaving your bank account. Remember when you’re sending a marketing message to someone through direct mail it’s all about presentation. You can’t be there to charm them or impress them with your skills, education, and awards.

What To Say?
What you want to say should drive your format, if you need to get their attention and drive them to call you or visit your website, then you should choose a postcard. If you’re welcoming new clients or potential clients to your firm, you should explain your services in a tri-fold brochure or maybe a larger brochure. The first mistake that most businesses make when doing direct mail is thinking that everyone needs to know everything about your firm with the first mailing. Why is that a mistake? Remember, this is a form of marketing that doesn’t do it’s job with one mailing. You will need to connect and contact your clients multiple times throughout the year. This is why having multiple types of mailings is helpful for your firm. It allows you to change up your messaging which means people will pay attention.

People receive the same exact type of mail everyday so when something is different they pay attention. If you’re doing a postcard you should focus on one message, not every aspect of your firm but one that might prompt your client to call you or come into the office. If you’re doing a form letter you should break up your paragraphs so it’s easier and seemingly faster to read. If a sell sheet (usually a single or double sided letter-sized ad) is your choice you should use real photography, ignoring any and all clipart, and focus on 2-3 messages but in much smaller fashion. If a brochure is your option then you really need to focus on the flow of information and the process that you’re wanting your clients or potential clients to follow. You could pose a question which then on the first page you begin to answer, then followed on the second page how your firm solves their problems and the third page on how they can contact you.

Tangible, effective, trackable advertising still moves prospects through our doors, completing every marketing plan. 

Tracking Is Easy
There’s no sneaky codes or links or programming to figure out with this type of marketing. If they come in with your mailing piece in-hand you can see that it’s working. You should use unique phrasing and wording to help you track where your referrals are coming from. If you’re tech-savvy you can even use QR codes (those ugly square barcodes) that can be a unique link to your site to help you track which mailing is working best. For the cost of mailing, printing, and your time involved this printed medium is still one of the most effective forms of marketing. Spam laws don’t apply to direct mailing which means you can buy lists of addresses in your area and send mailings without breaking any federal laws. The best way to track how effective your marketing is by simply asking how people heard about you. Yes, it can be awkward and difficult to remember for some people but every member of your firm should be asking how they heard about you, this helps you understand where you’re marketing is strongest and where you should be spending more money.

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