“Direct mail was the basis of a lot of new Right organizations in the ’70s and early ’80s, and it actually led to the downfall of the majority of them. It’s very expensive, and you end up putting your organization more and more in debt if you’re not successful with it.” – Nina Easton
More than 60% of UK adults think that physical mail is serious, valued and a professional means of communication (compared to less than 20% thinking the same of email!). In the modern world, direct mail seems to have been forgotten at the expense of emails. Yet when used well, direct mail is still an effective method of communication and worth considering … you may be the only business actually communicating this way in your market!
Indeed, over 70% of us feel that we receive too much email and this is a trend that isn’t going to change. So emails will become less and less effective as time goes on … this is why 51% of people delete emails within 2 seconds.
Here at the Yorkshire Powerhouse, we recognise that direct mail can be expensive and frustrating. But we’ve seen some excellent case studies where businesses use digital communication (emails and website engagement) to identify ‘potential’ prospects and then use direct mail as a means of helping to increase the ‘squeeze’ on the prospect. This then gives a greater opportunity of enjoying a successful marketing campaign.
Here are a few thoughts to bear in mind if your business could use direct mail as part of its marketing mix:
Who are you going to write to?
If you already have a list of prospects then that’s great. If not, consider buying targeted marketing data where you can specify the type of business, their turnover, number of employees and location. This means you can be very specific in your mailing to get the greatest value for money.
Don’t buy cheap lists! These are cheap because they’re sold to everyone and the poor recipients at the other end are getting hammered with junk. Buy good quality lists from reputable data brokers and be very, very picky!
If you are writing to existing contacts, do check (cleanse) your database to make sure it’s accurate. There’s no point putting a stamp on something when they moved 2 years ago!
Download our marketing plan template
What’s your message?
Trying to say ‘everything’ in one direct mail message rarely works. Instead, work out what your ‘best’ message is (i.e. the one that will resonate the most with your client) and then focus on that.
Remember, please don’t ‘DIY’ your marketing materials – yes you’re ‘saving money’ but it’s rare to see a DIY letter and leaflet that doesn’t look cheap and this then reflects badly on your business. Use a professional designer and printer and get it done right!
The right designer will think about your message and your customer. And don’t scrimp on the quality of the paper / card you print on as this also reflects badly on your business … here at the Yorkshire Powerhouse, we recommend that headed paper should always be 120gsm thick, leaflets and flyers should always be on 170gsm paper as a minimum and card should always be 350gsm or thicker.
Remember to carefully proof read your mailing before sending it – consider using a professional copy writer or proof reader as you will almost certainly not see mistakes you make yourself! Your copy should be effective and written for the reader and should explain the benefits of your service or products. Don’t bore them with information they don’t care about but you want to tell them!
Personalise to connect!
Direct mail is an impersonal approach but it doesn’t have to be. Obviously, it’s essential to use the name of the recipient in your letter, but modern digital printing methods mean that you can now merge names onto leaflets and brochures. This can truly personalise them with different pictures, logos and messages depending on how well you know your audience. If you are interested in this, it will cost slightly more than normal, but the result might be worth the investment so talk to your printer about this.
To stuff or self-mail?
There are pro’s and con’s here. Using a plain envelope, hand writing the name and address and putting a physical stamp on it, virtually guarantees that the recipient will open your mail and take a degree of interest in it. Franking mail and either window envelopes (for the name and address) or mailing labels instantly look like a mailshot to the recipient.
But an alternative, linked to the personalisation option discussed above, is to print the whole message on a ‘self-mailing’ flyer. This would normally be A5 (double sided or sometimes A4 folded to A5 and ‘secured’ with a glue dot) and would contain the main message on one side and the call to action on the other, with the name, address and stamp on the design. Clearly using a professional printer is essential here to make it look right so seek expert help but this route can reduce the administration work of writing and stuffing envelopes!
First or Second class?
What does a second class stamp say about you – that you aren’t willing to spend an extra 10p on a first class stamp!
What about a Buzz Bomb?
This should get you thinking!
An old traditional marketing technique that is very expensive and only worth considering for very specific campaigns where the potential rewards are massive. The Buzz Bomb is an act of mailing something to the client that is so ‘outlandish and unusual’ that they simply can’t ignore it.
Here at the Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’ve seen amazing examples of Buzz Bombs over the years. From chocolate oranges to miniature toilets! The central element of a successful Buzz Bomb campaign is that is it linked to a much wider campaign and that the ‘Bomb’ is essentially the final ‘grand reveal’ that clinches the engagement of the target recipient.
Even if you can’t justify a Buzz Bomb, what about getting your direct mail designed and produced to be a unique shape or to incorporate cut out elements. The point here is to get noticed.
Ask for help and don’t DIY your marketing materials – your customers expect you to be professional! Use professional designers and printers to help you stand out from the crowd!