One of the biggest arguments against print media marketing these days is environmental impact. In a world where paperless offices are seen as progressive ideals, it’s important to make sure that your direct mail pieces are as eco-friendly as possible. Here are a few ways you can do that.
- Choose your paper carefully. Recycled paper, chlorine or chemical free paper, or tree-free papers made from non-wood based pulp.
- If you’re really interested in green papers, consider investigating seed papers, which have seeds impregnated in them, and can literally be planted after use. Not only is this better for the environment, it can be a feature of your marketing materials too!
- Postcards are a great green direct mail choice, because they’re smaller and available in ecofriendly versions.
- Use the right envelopes too. Reusable envelopes, and envelopes without plastic windows are far more ecofriendly.
- If you send out direct mail materials in plastic wrap, look for ecofriendly options. Plastic is one of the most notorious substances in landfills around the world.
- Choose lighter weight paper, and print on both sides if possible, rather than on a larger sheet of paper. Using less paper to achieve the same result is definitely a green choice.
- Consider incorporating technologically advanced features like QR codes, so you can make your mailing pieces smaller. Linking direct mail to internet or mobile marketing campaigns can reduce the size of your marketing materials.
- Include a request that recipients recycle your marketing materials after using them.
- Consider print on demand services, or other ways to reduce print overruns. Targeting your direct mail campaigns more carefully can help to
- Request that printers use ecofriendly inks. There are inks on the market that are vegetable based rather than petroleum based, which means that they have less impact on the environment.
- Maintain your mailing list. One of the most wasteful elements of direct mail is sending mail to customers who have moved, or doubling up messages to customers. Before you launch any direct mail campaign, you should evaluate and prune your list to remove outdated information.
- Allow customers to opt out of marketing if they choose to, and maintain an internal list.
- Consider implementing other environmentally friendly ideas to reduce your overall carbon footprint and offset the impact of direct mail. As an added bonus, these kinds of practices can be a marketing tool on their own, and are great for public relations!
- Plan campaigns carefully, for maximum effect. If you’re getting better results per campaign, by targeting your message and reaching the right customers, you are lessening your impact.
The truth is that direct mail marketing has had a bad reputation for a long time, because it was seen as not being environmentally friendly. There are changes in the industry, both on the part of marketing companies and organizations like the US post office that are set to change all of that, and organizations like the Green Marketing Initiative working on ways to reduce environmental impact. Direct mail still works, however, and if you discuss your environmental concerns with your direct mail company, you will be able to come up with workable, greener solutions, like the ones mentioned above.