In 2017, almost 3 million pieces of direct mail passed through our building. That’s a lot of mail! Among them were catalogs, oversized postcards, standard mail, letter sets, etc. That’s three million chances for businesses to get their potential clients to take action. How well will it work? Let’s take a look.
As a business owner, you may have heard that direct mail made a comeback after the recession slump. Well, it never really left as a viable option; the recession just reduced the competition!
Direct mail is doing well today with or without recovery. Check out these stats from the Data and Marketing Association Response Report that we gleaned from Compu-Mail:
- Direct mail household response rate is 5.1% (compared to .6% email, .6% paid search, .2 online display, .4% social media). This is the highest response rate the DMA has ever reported, since coming out with the Response Rate Report in 2003.
- At 6.6%, oversized envelopes have the greatest household response rates over other mediums (followed by postcards at 5.7% and letter-sized envelopes at 4.3%).
- At 37%, oversized envelopes have the greatest household return on investment over other mediums (followed by postcards and letter-sized envelopes at 29%).
- The response rate for direct mail among people aged 18-21 years old is 12.4%.
The top response rate tracking methods are online tracking such as PURLs (61%), call center or telephone (53%), and code or coupon (42%).
So, what if you aren’t getting the responses for your direct mail that you see in these stats?
It all comes down to two things: 1. Foot-in-mouth problems 2. Attention to your target market and where they are in the 5 stages of awareness. This dictates copy (words), design, and timing of your mail piece.
Let’s start with the obvious issues. We’ll call them Foot-in-mouth problems. Everyone makes these mistakes and it’s something we all should learn from and then move on to the next thing.
- Don’t forget about repetition and following up. One-and-done is not an option when the squeaky wheel gets the grease. The more often a potential client sees your mail, the more your brand builds credibility over time. It takes a lot of persistence. Following up with emails, phone calls, more mailings, whatever is appropriate, will ensure that your hard work pays off.
- Make sure your mailing list is up to date and targeted. Don’t try and sell organic beef delivery to your vegan friends. Also, make sure the people getting this mailing are a) still alive, b) have the correct address or that the house is occupied, have correct names and job titles. This is why in-house lists instead of rented or purchased lists are best. You know more about the people on the list you have curated than anyone else.
- Design. People take in colors and images before they even begin to read text. Make sure it is appropriate and eye-catching for the situation. Above all, make sure your design is consistent with your brand image. Remember that one of your goals is to get your brand out in front of as many eyes as possible so that people recognize it. If you use inconsistent styles or your logos and other important images are blurry, you may as well tell people you don’t care about their business; after all, you don’t care about yours!
- Be friendly. People respond well to hand-written (or at least appearing personalized) notes, first class stamps, and other images or text tailored just for them. You can accomplish most of this with your data list.
- Get to the point. The main message is what you need to lead with. It needs to be the first thing people see. Is that an image that conveys an emotion or is it text? These things are most important: What, why, then a resounding how. These must be compelling so that people read everything else you want them to read.
- Proofread! Have some pride in the face of your business. Have many people proof read.
- After your call to action…Provide a way for them to take the next step, and add your contact information.
- Timing. Send your offer at a reasonable time before the client needs it or becomes aware of the problem they have that you can solve.
Now for your Target Market.
You’ve probably heard of “Target Market” many times before; you must know who you are selling to or you may as well be carpet bombing (figuratively). But are you actually paying attention to your target market? They are more than a list of demographics. Did you know that people aren’t always ready to hear or understand your message, even if they are your ideal customer?
Speaking to potential customers at the wrong time about the wrong thing can get you into the trash can. Read the next post for the 5 stages of awareness that you must lead your client through in order score that sale.