When looking for ways to promote their company’s products and services, many entrepreneurs and small business owners come across the term “direct mail” and wonder what type of marketing activities it applies to and whether their business could benefit from it.
The simplest definition of direct mail is: “a marketing activity using a mail service to deliver printed promotional materials to a targeted audience.” It applies to all types and formats of marketing materials delivered by mail, including postcards, catalogs, sales letters, brochures and anything else that can be sent by mail and promotes a company.
Advantages of Direct Mail
When compared to other “offline” advertising channels, such as billboards, radio and TV ads, direct mail has some unique advantages that are particularly useful for smaller businesses with limited marketing and advertising budgets.
With direct mail, you have full control over who your message is sent to, when it will reach them, what it will contain, how many people it will reach and the area where they’re located.
It also forms a more direct, one-on-one contact with the recipient, providing unique opportunities to capture their attention and encourage them to respond to your mailing.
Learn How to Create Your Own Direct Mail Campaigns
The specifics of how to create a highly effective direct mail advertising campaign will vary depending on what type of business you’re running, which products or services you’re promoting and the type of audience that you’re promoting them to. However, there is still a lot of advice that applies to any type of direct mail campaign.
Direct marketing experts all agree that the most important step an entrepreneur needs to take before beginning any direct mail campaign is to get some education on the topic. This doesn’t mean you have to register for classes at the local community college or university. There is a lot of free information about direct mail available online and in books.
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is a trade organization for direct marketers. By visiting their website, you can quickly find valuable resources on the topic of direct mail, such as books, online courses, free reference materials and seminars held across the nation.
Another simple way to learn about direct mail is simply to look at it. Get your address on as many mailing lists as you can, particularly those from companies that offer products or services of a similar nature to yours.
What you may have previously seen as junk mail can turn into useful learning materials. By getting direct mail advertisements, you can see how they’re designed, how you reacted to each type of mailing and which elements of the materials caught your attention.
What Every Business Owner Should Know to Make Their Campaigns More Effective
If you want to get the best results from your mailings, it is essential to use materials that match the image of your business. The choice of color is particularly important. Businesses providing products and services that are considered fun and recreational often use bright neon colors. Party planners, toy stores, and sellers of gift baskets would fall in this category.
For businesses that are a lot more “serious” in nature, such as financial planners, attorneys and insurance brokers, colors such as gray or ivory will fit in much better with the professional image they hope to convey.
Taking advantage of follow-up opportunities is another highly effective strategy. If you’re mailing out materials to existing customers or to prospects that have provided their phone number, use this to your advantage.
Give them a follow-up call a few days after your mailing has reached them. You can make an additional sales pitch by phone to complement your mailings, which can sometimes convince those who had some interest in your offer, but weren’t yet fully convinced about it.