The growing number of channels in which to advertise your business online can be a tempting route to target your ideal audience. Businesses have flocked to digital media to gain traction for their brand, but they’ve dismissed an incredibly valuable and highly successful form of marketing – direct mail.
The preconceived image of direct mail as an unsolicited, unwarranted advertisement is over. Today, with limited competition through the letterbox, posted media is fast becoming the most appreciated and easiest way to build a strong and personal relationship with your existing and potential customers. The facts back it up.
We consider why and how direct mail is an essential asset for any company with the aim to grow their business.
Amongst the careful dissection of bills and bank statements, receiving additional mail from a company becomes an intimate procedure for people. Cutting out the middleman of social media and mobile phone screens allows you to create a physical and direct connection between your company and your target customers – literally placing your business in their hands.
Again, direct mail stands strong in the face of the new tradition of online advertising. Statistics show that direct mail creates a larger impression on customers than online techniques:
94% of people engage with mail in some form – opening, reading, and demonstrating further interest in what they have received through the letterbox. Emails only have an open rate of 20.4%.
In fact, 41% of direct mail deliveries drove target customers to carry out additional research into the organisation, products or services that had been posted to them.
Many consider receiving mail as a lost art form, and avoiding the saturated competition of email and online advertising, direct mail allows you to break through the noise and walk straight into your target customer’s house.
Locally centred businesses trying to break ground on their own doorstep can create a stronger impression of being a community-focused organisation. Direct mail can create the perception of a business that has made the effort to deliver results to a provincial neighbourhood – an effort that is appreciated.
Alternately, your organisation can achieve an authoritative status. Mail through your letterbox is not so much rude as it is impressionable, reminding people of your presence and dominance in the marketplace. Your ability to enter the domain of your customers is that extra step that will help you surpass your competition. A recent report shows that 84% of professional marketers believe that direct mail improves advertising campaign performance. As part of a multi-channel campaign, direct mail helps drive results and conversions.
The same way that online advertising has developed to target specific audiences, direct mail services have developed a greater ability to direct your advertisements to key target customers.
However, the ability to target a smaller pool of your audience allows for greater personalisation in your marketing campaign – you can name your customers and address them as individuals. To your customer, direct mail applies a focus on them as a solitary and desirable customer. The advertisement becomes exclusive. The benefits of this range depending on your target audience but can be adapted to maximise their impressionability.
Millennials – and their lack of loyalty – were cited as the number one concern of retail industry leaders. The same survey that also found that 95% of millennials expect organisations to continually attend to them with coupons and regular communication. Direct mail addresses this opportunity directly.
In the age of online discount codes and websites, placing the discounts into the hands of young people becomes a physical ticket to future custom. Placed on a notice board, the option to reject vouchers is limited – it becomes an object that must be redeemed.
Being the largest audience group that is accessible online, it is easy to ignore younger generations when it comes to postal advertisement. For ranks of young people who have only experienced digital advertisement, direct mail can create a unique and special experience.
Of course, older generations are an obvious choice for direct mail services. However, the reasons to target people through the post are becoming evidently more beneficial. For a community that uses fewer online services than young people, routes of communication to the older generation are diminishing.
For example, the reduction of road traffic has reduced the impact of billboard, poster and street advertising. In the first week of August, UK bus use has fallen to an average of 39% when compared to March 1st. The ability to communicate with an isolating group is invaluable, and direct mail is the most viable option to reach a group that is presently falling under the radar of many businesses.
The audience also affects how you should produce your direct mail. Younger generations favour the quality of service, so using a thicker paperweight or premium finish demonstrates how you are offering a superior service or product. Plus, if competitively priced, you will be recognised as good value for money.
Younger generations are also more likely to carry out independent research into a service or product before they buy, so an emotional response will have a larger impact on this type of audience.
On the other hand, older generations prefer formality and information as to why your service or product is essential. They are less likely to explore alternate options. Therefore, you are more reliant on creating a good impression through your mail, as they are most likely to communicate with you directly for any additional information. Make your contact details clear and distinct, emphasising that you are easy to get in touch with.
Your communications shouldn’t just be limited to what work you do, but also how your organisation values itself within the community. What does your company do to help people beyond fulfilling contracts or delivering good products? Charitable achievements and community assurances add as much value to your company as a simple job well done.
Style and design are important considerations for direct mail. On social media, you may be restricted to fonts and formats that are not representative of your brand. Existing brand guidelines should be used with your direct mail to establish the identity of your organisation. Additionally, using colour print and showing consistency of style through all channels your organisation represents itself on allows the customer to recognise the professionality and regularity of good work.
Remember, direct mail lasts longer than any other form of advertisement. TV or radio spots can last 20 seconds, but your direct mail may remain in a customer's house for weeks or months. The mail you deliver is less likely to inform your customers of one single product or service – it is representative of your entire organisation. This helps it to become more memorable in the eyes of the recipient, who will recognise the effort put into their post. Certainly, direct mail is less abstract than digital advertisements and an essential route to take when building a growing business.