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How Effective is Direct Mail? Guest Post By Aparna Mulchandani

01/23/2017 7:47 PM | Lisa Pisano (Administrator)

Have you seen one of these lately?

Chances are you probably have one – just like it - close by. I bet you empty it regularly.  I am sure you look through its contents as you walk away from it, every day. Then you separate out what is important, what is interesting and what is obviously destined straight for the recycling container. And every once in a while – it prompts you to do something.

Yep! You guessed it. It’s a mailbox.  And we are talking DIRECT MAIL!

According to a recent Epsilon Research Study, direct mail remains the No. 1 choice of consumers for receiving information. The same study found that social media and blogs are considered the least trust worthy channels by consumers. These findings highlight a challenge that small businesses face today: how to effectively balance marketing strategies both online and offline.

With 50% of consumers reporting that they pay more attention to postal mail than e-mail, both forms of marketing are essential for reaching your audience. The misconception that direct mail is “outdated” has been shattered, but simply employing direct mail is not enough to guarantee results.

Some of you may not know that I worked in one of the largest direct mail design agencies when I first graduated from college. I designed those “balance transfer” offers from large banks and credit card companies you are so quick to shred. I earned a great starting salary and felt very glamorous in my office in the John Hancock building in Chicago --- sadly I only lasted 6 months. Yes – it was awful. Here’s what I learned.

To implement direct mail successfully, here are 10 things that you should consider.

1. Determine your budget.   Whether you have $500 or $50,000, a budget will determine what you can (and cannot) do. The USPS has recently introduced many innovative cost-saving solutions.

2. Define your goals.  What are YOU looking to accomplish? Do you want to build your database? Do you want more customers to buy a certain product?

3. Develop clear, concise content. If you are in the service industry, focus on a particular problem your customer may be facing and offer a solution.

4. Use a clean list that is less then 6 months old.  A bad mailing list can kill a very clever, expensive campaign. The best list is one that you create yourself from existing clients and prospects.

5. Consider an interesting dimensional mailing.  Anything that is an unusual shape, size, thickness draws attention. They score the highest open rate.

6. Don’t be afraid of a design with color and varying text sizes.  An attractive design that draws attention to key points is VERY powerful.

7. Include an offer they can’t resist. A strong offer, and a direct, clear call to action is key. Example: “Stop by our store for your free goodie bag”!

8. Include an expiration date on your offer.  A sense of urgency prompts action.

9. Social media icons may be included –  and can be tied to your offer for example: “Like us on Facebook to get a free sample”.

10. Repetition will keep you in the forefront.   Be in front of your prospects minimally 4x a year.

Remember—a Direct Mail campaign can consist of an e-mail, a postcard, a letter, a brochure, a product catalog, a gift… and may be a combination of all these.   

To learn more click TwoByTwo Design’s Communication Packages.

Aparna Mulchandani

Two by Two


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