Direct Mail Makes a Return
I’ve always been a big fan of direct mail. Even though over the past decade or so fewer and fewer companies have been using it as part of their marketing activities. However, that trend now seems to be changing. Direct mail is coming back. But why is that the case, and why should you be interested?
There’s no doubt that one of the key reasons why direct mail faded away was because of the costs. Printing and posting can be expensive. Emails are far more cost effective. But when all businesses go for the more cost effective activity, it means most people tend to get pretty bombarded with messages in their inbox every day.
This factor alone is an issue. How do you compete with hundreds of other companies that are also emailing your target audience? How do you get your email read, when people simply don’t have the time to read all the emails they receive?
GDPR has definitely made companies re-think their use of emails. But I don’t think this is all bad. I read an article just before GDPR came into force that argued ensuring your audience has ‘opted in’ is a good thing. It means they actually want your email. It’s far more likely they’ll read it if they want it. The marketing then has to make people want to sign up for your newsletter, rather than being about making people want to read it.
But even with people opting in, it’s still hard to fight for attention in a busy online word. This is where direct mail can shine.
Do you remember the days when you got loads of post? I did a few temping jobs during my time at university that required me to open the post, and it would take ages. Or at home, you’d hear the slap of letters against the mat. This just isn’t the case anymore. We all get most things electronically now.
But I think this means it’s exciting when we do get post. We take the time to look at it and read it, because it’s different. There have been numerous studies done over the past year or two looking at why there’s been a sudden growth in direct mail again. One of the factors reviewed was open rate, and there was a definite signal that pieces which have been physically mailed get read far more than emails. Even if we bin that bit of post straight away after we’ve opened it, we’ve still taken some time to look at it. We actually open post before we bin it. We don’t always do that with emails.
If you can get your audience to even scan over a key marketing message, that’s fantastic. Even if their eyes just brush over your logo, it starts to sink in. You’ve made contact. That’s a huge plus. Then with the right research and the right content, you stand a good chance of your audience properly reading things too. That’s a win!
Direct mail pieces are more expensive. This means you have to be choosy about who you send the pieces to, and you probably have to keep the numbers down. But that’s a good thing too, as it forces you to segment your audience more. How many times have you sent the same email to a vast audience, without really thinking who’s on your list? It’s easy. As soon as you factor in the price of a stamp, it’s time to get serious.
If you’ve got a little bit of budget, I’d highly recommend direct marketing. You need to do your research first. Make sure you’re contacting the right person, and make sure you have up to date details. Think carefully about numbers, about the message and about the impact of the piece you’re posting. If you pull all the elements together properly, you can get a really good return on investment.
But, whatever you do, don’t just send something out and forget about it, hoping that your prospects will pick up the phone. Follow up what you do and make it count. Grab their interest and then make them remember you. That’s the power of direct mail.