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Direct mail marketing isn't on the top of any marketer's priority list these days. But like the in-person shopping experience, direct mail isn't completely dead. In fact, the fact it's no longer the norm makes it new, fresh, and a unique tool for marketers.
While online marketing takes the world by storm, there's still value to be had in TV viewership and offline marketing.
What is direct mail marketing?
Letters, postcards, and brochures are all examples of direct mail marketing. And while you personally might think leaflets through the post are a little spammy, there are plenty of other people who disagree.
What can direct mail offer that online advertising can't?
If you're thinking, 'well I already use online marketing, why do I need something else?', there are actually several things offline marketing can offer that simply cannot be replicated in the online world.
When customers receive a coupon or ad via email or social media, the personal, interactive experience is lost. Something through the post that has to be picked up and read could easily capture their attention more so than the 35th email of the day dropping into their inbox.
It's less effort for the customer
According to a study by Canada Post, it takes 21% less cognitive effort to process physical ads, than it would if the same was posted online. Direct mail is simply easier to understand, meaning it's got more chance of resonating with the customer. If your customer has to dive through hoops to understand an online ad, there's less chance they'll see it through.
There's a stronger emotional response
Direct mail advertising feels more personal. Everyone gets a tiny bit excited when they see they have a letter or parcel; it's one of those simple pleasures in life. By sending something in the post to prospective customers, the ad is more memorable.
Contrary to what you might think of millennials, they actually feel a stronger emotional response to physical marketing campaigns rather than something that fills up their social feed.
There's a higher response rate
As with all marketing, the goal is a higher response rate. And unlike online marketing (0.12%) or email campaigns, direct mail has a 4.4% response rate. Essentially, if you solely depend on your online campaigns, you could seriously be missing out.
It's also worth mentioning that direct mail can often be more cost-effective than online campaigns. Add that to a higher response rate, and you're saving yourself time and money.
How to create an effective direct mail campaign
So, if the three statistics above are making you consider direct mail, here are three dos and don'ts for creating an effective campaign.
There's nothing more embarrassing than a marketer who spells something wrong. And yet, a spelling error on a Facebook post can easily get corrected without anyone ever noticing. An error on 1000 copies of a leaflet? Not so much...
Proofreading is particularly important if you're speaking directly to the customer. Make sure you've definitely got their name spelled correctly. Otherwise, you'll lose them before you've even had the chance to make a good impression.
Do: Get creative
While people enjoy a physical piece of post, that doesn't mean they'll be enthused by a boring leaflet showcasing price and product.
These days, paper isn't particularly expensive. Meaning you have plenty of budget to get creative when it comes to your offline campaign. A plain envelope will just get lost in the pile of bills and letters. You need to create a memorable experience from the moment they receive your post.
Everything from origami to customized postcards can create an effective campaign. You could even take it one level further with interactive content. Perhaps the customer has to run water over the letter to reveal the message.
Do: Be Emotionally engaging
Marketing is all about making the audience feel something. If you're not sure you yourself feel emotionally connected to the products you buy, just take a look at Psychology Today's post about the way emotions impact consumer decisions.
Don't: Forget to test for the best
Before throwing money at a printer, test, test, test. Tailor your campaign by defining your audience and understanding which products will work for them. You could also create a trial run. Choose a small number of people to send the direct mail to, and use QR codes or custom URLs to help track the response rate.
Don't: Pester your customers
Remember, just because people like post, they don't like too much post. Nothing will put a customer off faster than constant pestering. Keep mail marketing to a 'few and far between' style so that your message maintains its value.
This should've given you a lot to think about. Before you schedule your next social campaign, take a moment to step back and think how great your message could come across via mail. With a snazzy physical piece of post or a handwritten note, and you could have customers queuing round the block, not to forget the emotional connection and higher response rate these marketing tools create.