As marketing budgets tighten due to increasing economic pressures, many business owners have cut down on direct mailing. The, relatively, high cost per lead makes direct mailing a big investment for the small business owner; however, when you look at the numbers, cutting back on marketing is the last thing you want to do! Direct mail services offer some of the highest rates of return on any advertising avenue. No matter how great your service or how terrific your store, if no one knows about you, you will not gain many customers. Marketing tells people about your company, and a letter, postcard, or brochure in the mail still carries more weight than a glossy in a magazine or an impersonal email.
Planning Your Direct Mail Campaign
Getting the best out of any direct mail campaign takes careful planning. You need to determine what you want to convey to your customers, long before you put anything in the mail. During the planning process determine:
- Your audience – Who you will be mailing to will help determine what type of mailing to use and how many addresses to include on your mailing list.
- Your offer – What you offer to your customers has a direct impact on what kind of response you will get. If you would not respond to what is being offered, do not expect your customers to. The trick is to offer something valuable enough to motivate customers to visit your store while still ensuring a reasonable profit.
- Your budget – Cutting back may seem to be the right course, but marketing is the one area where you might want to capitalize on other companies timidity. When others are cutting back, increase your marketing budget and reach as many, targeted, consumers as possible.
Choosing the Right Type of Mailer
After you know who you are going to send and what you will offer, you need to decide on the best way to convey that message. Postcards, letters, flyers, newsletters and catalogs are just a few of the available options. Cost versus benefit is the determining factor when deciding on the type of mailing to send to your customers and leads.
- Postcards – These cards are one of the most common direct mail services offerings. Many companies send out postcards to notify customers of service changes. To send out a coupon, special offer or quick notification, a postcard is a great way to go.
- Flyers/Letters – These one page mailers let you include more information. Flyers offer an inexpensive way to contact an entire neighborhood, while letters give you the option of a more personalized approach.
- Newsletters – Sending out information about your company and industry information helps with brand building activities. These are best sent to already committed customers, not to a new list of leads/prospects.
- Catalogs – Of all the direct mail services options, catalogs are one of the most expensive to mail. The weight and size of a catalog means you must carefully target the audience. These should only be sent to repeat customers, preferably those who have asked to be included on a catalog mailing list.
Making Mailings Show a Positive Return
If you plan carefully and judge your audience correctly, direct mail offers a very high conversion rate. Every type of mailing has its place in a larger campaign. Postcards sent out after a catalog offer discounts on select items. Flyers or letters tell consumers a lot about your companies brand image. Newsletters build a relationship with existing customers and catalogs help grow your sales numbers. Direct mail services offer an option that is right for any company or industry.