Article | Marketing

Does Your Marketing Need Some Modernization? Surprise! This Old-School Approach Might Be the Answer

Kim Totty
Grandmother and Grandson with Greeting Cards
Grandmother and Grandson with Greeting Cards

What could be more old-school than direct mail marketing? Not so fast. Turns out that direct mail isn’t just alive and kicking, but that it’s also playing a significant role in generating revenue for businesses of all sizes.

This might seem strange given that our society leans toward digitalization. However, the fact that direct mail offers a tangible connection between a company and consumer is part of its allure. A full 70% of people say that receiving mail makes them feel valued. And Fundara’s research found that up to 90% of all direct mail is looked at by recipients. (By contrast, a good email open rate hovers in the 25% range at best.)

These aren’t the only impressive statistics related to direct mail marketing campaigns. Consider direct mail’s expected return on investment. It’s on par with the expected ROI of social media marketing initiatives — if not even more effective. Yet unlike digital marketing and paid search advertising, which can get seriously pricey depending on the traffic of your keywords, you can buy demographic-specific direct mail lists quite affordably.

Of course, you might still worry about measuring direct mail. Although it’s true that direct mail used to be tough to track, there are many modern ways to improve that visibility. For instance, QR codes have had a resurgence; they allow marketers to move audiences from offline to online spheres and capture engagement metrics.

In other words, you’re not moving backward if you’re thinking about adding direct mail to your marketing mix. You just need to understand how to make the most of this reliable advertising method. Here’s what to keep in mind to ensure a successful direct mail campaign:

1. Put enough dollars toward direct mail.

As with any marketing tactic, direct mail deserves its own line in your budget. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, you’ll probably want to put around 8% of your gross revenue toward marketing endeavors. Once you have money earmarked, you can identify your target markets and consider them from an omnichannel lens. It usually takes several points of contact for consumers to react to advertising, and direct mail could be one of those touchpoints.

Often, direct mail works well as a retention play or acquisition strategy. So if you want to keep customers in the fold or woo new buyers to your brand, direct mail might help. Just make sure you outline key performance indicators into your planning so you can know what’s working based on data. That data can then drive how much of an investment you put in each marketing channel during future campaigns.

2. Design the right messages for each direct mail target audience.

You don’t send the same email out to every customer segment. Why, then, would you send the same piece of direct mail to everyone on your marketing list? Messaging is critical to encouraging momentum from your direct mail piece. Even though you might be sending out large quantities of direct mail, you should still review the content for relevance to the consumer.

Consider creating and testing variations of messaging or design in sizable batches using A/B splits. This might include putting the recipient’s name in a strong color on the piece to more than double the response. You’ll be able to see which direct mail pieces resonate the most and should be replicated for future deployment.

As a side note, remember that your direct mail doesn’t always have to be batched. Some direct mail, such as birthday or anniversary greetings, can be used to boost your brand and foster relationships given that one-to-one marketing drives up response rates. In fact, in these particular instances, a format such as a greeting card can be far more effective than a postcard or business letter. Scatter these types of unique, individualized direct mail touchpoints in with your broader campaigns for maximum impact among your audiences.

3. Stay on top of your data.

Data tells all. Although it will take a few months (or even a year) to amass enough critical data on your direct mail efforts, have patience. The more data you have at your disposal, the easier it will be to identify exactly when to send out timely communications that mean something to recipients.

Timing is everything in the marketing world, and sending messages at precisely the right moment can mean the difference between someone completing a purchase or not. For example, many companies like their direct mail to reach mailboxes in the middle of the week because it’s more likely to be seen. However, you might decide that a different day works for your needs based on your own data.

Remember the old saying that everything old becomes new again? That’s certainly the case for direct mail. If you’re trying to add a sense of fresh appeal to your marketing mix, consider spicing up your campaigns with direct mail. You might just find it’s the secret to improving your return on investment.

For more innovative ideas surrounding using direct mail to boost response rates and build relationships, check out more insights here.