Even in today's wired world, old-fashioned direct mail has its place in an integrated marketing strategy. A marketing piece sent by e-mail can be deleted before it's even opened, but a postcard sent in the mail will at least get a glance. Direct mail is a form of communication that allows you to:
- Build your brand.
- Target consumers by locality, which is harder to do with e-mail.
- Measure marketing impact.
Build or buy the best mailing listBegin by collecting addresses from your existing customers. To expand beyond your current customer base, buy or rent a mailing list from a list broker. Their services are free; you simply pay for the list.
Use a one-stop-shop mailing providerDon't have time to deal with list rentals or to design, print, mail, and track your direct mail pieces? Lighten the load by hiring a mailing provider. Most offer a slate of services either as a package or a la carte.
Go with a professional wordsmithMany consumers will only read a few words, if any, of a direct mail piece before deciding whether to continue reading or to toss it. Up your chances of staying out of the circular file by hiring a pro to write sizzling, creative copy for your campaign, or at least to check for errors and clarity. Editorial gaffes can obscure your message, or make you seem unprofessional and sloppy.
Get the right look with a graphic designerA well-designed mailing can grab consumers' attention and entice them to give your piece more than a cursory glance. To build your brand, make sure the look of your mail campaign is consistent with other communications, including print ads, marketing kits, in-store pieces, and product packaging.
- Gather names for your mailing list by holding a prize drawing or offering a discount or gift for filling out an in-store survey.
- Use unique shapes and bulky packages to intrigue recipients.
- Put attention-getting words on the envelope, like "free gift inside" or "limited time offer".
- Take a different tack and make it appear personal by using a stamp and avoiding clues that it's commercial mail, such as address windows.
- Use postcards. The cheapest to send, they're sometimes the most effective because they don't need to be opened, and the information is in one place, easy to find.