In a world where marketing efforts mostly favor search engine advertising, email and social media, it can truly help a business stand out to use old-fashioned direct mail — printed marketing materials stuffed into envelopes. Consumers tend to remember direct mail far better today, because they see so little of it.
Unfortunately, direct mail is often identified as junk by consumers, an accurately applied description in most cases. Businesses tend to cast a wide with their mailing lists sending their communication to people who have no interest in their products. It can take a highly evolved instinct for mailing list creation to make sure that direct mail reaches exactly the right consumers. How does one do this?
Work hard to build the right mailing list
It’s hard work finding a list of potential recipients to put on a mailing list. The search can start online, say, through building an attractive resource website that offers excellent information to consumers. Even once you do have a mailing list of consumers interested in newsletters and other information, it’s important to constantly work on it to make sure that it remains relevant.
The average newsletter list tends to consist of the email addresses of business contacts, all customers who have ever bought anything or complained about anything, email addresses of business contacts and so on. It’s important to carefully go through every name on a list to make sure it belongs.
Aim for usefulness
You should certainly be creative and tasteful with the mailers that you send to the people on your list. It’s important to understand, though, that people who open mailers look for answers to their problems — they don’t want to see bland advertising. At the very least, if you’ve targeted your mailing list well, your product, by itself, should turn out to be useful enough, and your recipients should appreciate seeing the information that you have to offer. You need to do more, though:
Say it on the envelope: It isn’t enough to make sure that you have attractive envelope. Printing a concise and descriptive message on the envelope should let your recipients know what it’s all about and if it’s worth their time.
Put useful stuff in there: When you give people things, they don’t tend to think of what you send them as junk mail. Whatever you decide to throw in — a fridge magnet, a pen, Post-Its and so on — make sure that it’s useful and acceptable in quality.
Make a genuine offer: While putting something useful in the envelope is a good idea, there should be more that you offer — a simple freebie to each person who calls in for a quote is a good idea.
Make it personal: Rather than simply sending out hundreds of pieces of mail addressed to a generic Dear Customer, it can help to take the trouble to address each individually to the recipient. Along with personalized offers based on purchase history, these can work.
Use the magic words
There are a few words that people truly pay attention to in a direct mailer. It’s important to include these words, and to mean it when you do use them:
You won’t have salespeople calling you: This promise tells people that you are a class act, and that you care about their privacy.
Free: While it’s an overused promise, the freebie is always a crowd-pleaser; you need to make sure that your offer is good, though.
No obligation: When people come calling on your business, they want to be in and out, with no fuss, whether they decide to buy or not. A no obligation guarantee will help customers know that they won’t be given the high-pressure treatment.
Include a letter
A proper letter personally addressed to each recipient can work wonders. It can help customers see a personal touch. You must make sure the letter includes an offer — it can be have a powerful effect.
Don’t be superficial
Most business owners tend to be surprised to hear that monochrome brochures with nothing more than text can pull in twice the number of interested respondents then attractively printed full-color ones. People appreciate in-depth information.
A few simple areas of care is all it takes to get direct mail to truly deliver on its promise.
Patricia Davies has been working in a diverse range of marketing roles over the years and enjoys the chance to share her ideas on modern marketing methods with an online audience. She writes frequently for a number of different business and marketing websites.