When businesses talk about marketing today, a lot of the focus is on social media, web content and things like search engine optimization. What businesses sometimes forget is that there are some tried and true “old school” marketing methods that are still effective for the right businesses and when they are used in the right way.
One of those old school methods is direct mail. And while untargeted, poorly done direct mail is far too expensive, highly-targeted and well-thought-out direct mail campaigns can have impressive impact for certain businesses. Here are six reasons you don’t want to overlook direct mail for your business.
1. Promote walk-in traffic for a retail shop. If you have a retail operation that relies on walk-in business, a direct mail card with a special offer can be the impetus that drives customers into your shop. Make sure your mailing list contains those who are within walking distance (or are shopping at other stores in your neighborhood). And make sure you have a compelling offer that will pull them inside.
2. Generate traffic for a website. You already know that if you don’t exist on the Web, it’s as if you don’t even exist. But just having a website doesn’t mean someone will visit it. A good direct mail card mailing that pushes people to your website can make sure that people know about you—and how to find you. But don’t just dump them on your home page. Take them to a special landing page and give them something of value. Then you’ll have a reason to contact them with additional information.
3. Target customers who distrust the Web or aren’t online. Believe it or not, not everyone likes to do business online. Some customers have had bad online experiences and would rather deal with a medium that they consider less invasive (direct mail). Some people are apprehensive about giving out personal or financial information (credit card information) on the Internet. Give them the option to call or visit.
4. Showcase products and services in ways email can’t. If you offer a lot of different products, it may be difficult to feature those in an email. And some people don’t like scrolling through pages of an online catalog. Use direct mail to offer your physical catalog to those who prefer to read it this way. And if you don’t know which of your customers prefer hard-copy catalogs, you can use your mailing to find out (instead of mailing a physical catalog to everyone on your list, you can only mail it to those who request it).
5. Special (personal) invites to a select audience. You don’t have to treat all of your customers the same. If you have truly “special” customers, treat them differently. Send them a personal letter or card (make it really personal—not just a general letter that has their name sprinkled throughout it). This is a little more expensive and time-consuming, but you’re not doing this with a large quantity. These are special customers. Treat them differently. and they will most likely reward you by doing more business with you than your other customers.
6. Promote an event. If you have a special event, nothing captures customers’ attention better than a hand-addressed, invitation-sized envelope. You can almost be certain that it will get opened (we all like being invited to special events!). Again, this isn’t the cheapest way to market—but it’s a very effective way to invite people to a truly special event.
You’ll want to be selective about how you use these ideas. They’re not for every business and they may not be right for every marketing goal. But don’t forget about them. For the right audience and the right business, they can get you great results.