Remember when direct mail campaigns were cool? Remember when businesses relied on snail mail to get their promotional offers, brochures, and information to potential customers? Remember how that quickly turned into a real life version of spam?
It’s no secret that direct mail campaigns have suffered a serious blowback ever since…well…the Internet. Not only do consumers prefer the speed and accessibility that surfing the web provides them, but it’s much cheaper for companies to reach their audiences and advertise online. But even though just about everybody is online these days, they’re still walking to their mailboxes on a daily basis. And as long as people are doing that, direct mail campaigns still have a chance.
Here, you will find several tips that will help you get back into the direct mail game. You will be putting a new spin on a dying advertising channel, breathing new life into it, as well as your business. Get those stamps ready; your business is about to enter a whole new era.
Step 1: Put Together The Right List
I say the right list because any old list won’t do. If you’ve just had the brilliant idea of creating a direct mailing campaign and you’re eager to jump on the project like right now, you’re going to have to wait. Direct mailing means nothing if it’s not going to the right people, which would mean there’s nothing direct about it at all!
Many companies are tempted to buy a mailing list. There are firms that put together lists of thousands of addresses that you can legally use. And if you pay a little extra, you might even get a list that meets specific criteria, such as households with pets, singles, and so on. First of all, there’s nothing inherently wrong about purchasing a legal mailing list. One way or another, the people on that list agreed to be put on it and you are therefore entitled to mail them. But that “one way or another” usually means they didn’t read the fine print and lo and behold, they are now subscribed to hundreds of pieces of mail…mail they don’t want to read. Purchasing a list can be tricky because you often run into people who are simply uninterested.
So what’s a business owner to do? Cultivate a list. Talk to your customers, promote it on your website, your blog, and your social media profile. Offer a freebie or some sort of promotion to generate interest in signing up for your mailing list. You might not get thousands of subscribers right away, but you’ll get several highly interested subscribers that are more likely to buy back in.
Step 2: Craft Tempting Copy
When people read advertisement on the Internet, they’re in the mindset of getting information quickly and easily. Most Internet copy is short and sweet; it gets right to the point without the consumer having to wade through buzzwords and lengthy explanations. Direct mail, on the other hand, can take a slightly more relaxed approach.
For starters, snail mail is a lot more exciting to receive. I love it, you love it, and just about everybody else loves getting mail. Your subscribers are already in the mindset that they’ve just received something exciting, and therefore, worth reading. Take your time to craft copy that is intriguing, concise, and captures your company’s voice, or persona.
Long form copy, meaning several paragraphs worth, is much more likely to succeed in direct mail than in any other form of marketing. Send out brochures, informational pamphlets, success stories, and anything else that you wouldn’t have the chance to otherwise. Pick your words carefully, have a friend edit it down, and then edit it once more. Once your mail is in the right hands, it’s up to the very words on the page to sell them on your product or service.
Step 3: Integrate Digital
While direct mail was quickly beat out by the Internet, there’s no reason you can’t forge the two together. Add digital elements to your direct mail that will send your consumers from the paper to the computer. Include your website URL, talk about what your blog subscribers are enjoying reading about right now, list your social media profiles, and so on. Encouraging your direct mail subscribers to come back to the website either to purchase something or sign up for something increases their likelihood of converting. All of a sudden, that one little piece of mail has the support of many other powerful resources.
QR codes are also becoming a popular feature for printed advertisements. People just need to scan the image and their smartphone and tablets will immediately take them to the promotion, the website, social media page, or just about anything else that’s being advertised. Have a small QR code on your letter to get your subscribers more interested in your company.
Don’t think of direct mail as a thing of the past. With a little updating, carefully crafted copy, digital integration, and of course, a mailing list full of the right people, you can be marketing your company in a whole new way.
- License: Creative Commons image source