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Marketing is More Than Just a Website: The Case for Direct Mail


By Allegra Denver

How postcards, letters and mailers can tell the rest of your story

You’ve got a website and people are “liking” you on social media. You might have lively dialog on your Facebook page, but are you seeing foot traffic as a result?

Digital marketing tells only part of your story. Pair digital with direct marketing – like traditional direct mail – for a more powerful plan to reach your target buyers and drive sales.

Many had predicted the demise of direct mail as a marketing communications channel as the world began to go digital. But direct mail has maintained its sold place in the marketing toolkit because it is such a flexible medium and the wide availability of prospect lists.

The good news about direct mail – like, postcards, letters and self-mailers – is that it’s a tried-and-true method of communicating with potential and long-term customers. It can be done cost-effectively while making your marketing message more targeted.

Ready to get started with direct mail? It’s simple. Review your current marketing efforts. Consider what you want to achieve and define your target audience. Select the direct mail option that will add value to what you’re doing now digitally . . . and craft a solid offer.

Your top 3 formats
Postcard – This direct marketing dynamo costs pennies to produce and send. Of all direct mail formats, postcards are most like billboards and are perfect for fast, easy messages. However, they do have a lower response rate than larger formats, most likely because of their size. Consider postcards for announcements of all sorts: a sale or special offer, open hours, new product or service, new location or as a “thank you” for a recent purchase.

Envelope package – The envelope package is the most commonly-used type of direct mail, and it typically delivers a higher response rate and better ROI than other formats. It usually contains a letter and envelope, and perhaps a small brochure and business reply card. Try it for a new product launch or an introduction to your company capabilities. The letter serves as the introduction and states your offer, the brochure outlines the feature and benefits of your product or services, and the reply is your call to action.

Self-mailers – Also called fold-overs, these pieces are simple and generally inexpensive to produce and mail. In a tri-fold configuration, for example, you can use two panels for sales copy and the third as a detachable mail-back piece or redeemable coupon. This format is great for events and seminars, offering enough “selling space” for a relatively simple message.

You’ve mailed it. Now what? No matter which format you choose, there are a few things to remember once your audience has received your mail.

Tip #1: Consider following up with a phone call or email. You can also send direct mail as the follow-up to phone calls.

Tip #2: Keep mailing. As a general rule, it takes a minimum of three mailings to maximize responses. You can anticipate 60% of your responses from the first mailing, 30% from the second and less than 10% from the third.

Tip #3: Measure your results. Keep track of the number of calls or reply cards you receive or the number of coupons redeemed.

One thing is certain, marketing works best when everything – digital and direct – works together.