About direct mail – Standing out from the crowd

| April 9, 2011 | 0 Comments

Email marketing is incredibly cheap. And it’s often highly effective. But a direct mail campaign can give your small business a massive boost.

Does direct mail still work? Yes!

For a start it helps you stand out from the crowd. Once upon a time businesses were drowning in direct mail. So much so that we stopped noticing it and response rates plummeted across the board. Today the marketing herd has migrated online, leaving the offline marketing field comparatively clear. And clever marketers are taking note.

These days if someone spends the time, money and effort to post me something, I open it. And it seems I’m not alone. A quick scout around shows healthy response and conversion rates from direct mail campaigns across all sorts of sectors.

It doesn’t mean any old rubbish will pull a big response. Bad direct marketing doesn’t work, even in an advantageous business climate. You need excellent writing. And attractive graphics if you’re sending anything other than a letter. A really good quality, up to date database with named contacts and job titles. An unbeatable offer at a fair price. And enough attention paid to direct marketing principles and practices to maximise your chances.

Here’s a handful of tips for B2B direct mail success

  • cherry-pick the most likely candidates from your customer and prospect databases
  • go easy… stamps are expensive but you can mail out as many or few letters as you like. There’s no rules. Just make sure you don’t take your stats too seriously until (and unless) you’ve mailed at least 1,000 of thre same offer because your numbers won’t be statistically valid
  • hand write your envelopes and use a real stamp rather than franking your envelopes – more people will open it
  • use a first class stamp
  • if you’re on a tight budget make your offer elegantly simple and express it on one side of A4. In plain English
  • personalise it with your contacts’ names rather than saying ‘ Dear customer’
  • sign letters yourself rather than pre-printing your signature
  • include registered company details, street address, landline number, website address, VAT details etc to highlight your credibility
  • give people as many ways to respond as possible: email, landline, mobile, website, Skype… even by post if that’s what your target market expects
  • use high street digital print shops to create low cost, low quantity, high quality leaflets if you need them. Or find an online print shop that specialises in generating DM campaigns
  • …but bear in mind a letter is often enough, especially when you’re driving people to your website to buy
  • dribble your letters out in tens so you’re not suddenly snowed under with enquiries you can’t handle. I say that because the last time I did a direct mail campaign I was absolutely swamped!
  • mail out so your campaign drops on doormats late in the week. People are happier and more open to suggestion on Fridays than they are first thing Monday morning
  • keep a spreadsheet of the number of letters you’ve sent and the total cost so you can work out your ROI
  • remove converters from your mailing list so you don’t irritate them by sending the same offer again and again

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Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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