How to Use Direct Mail Marketing Out of a Crisis

By Kent Moon,
business.com writer
|
Jun 18, 2020
Image Credit: Sushiman / Getty Images

With the recent ease of restrictions, businesses should take full advantage of direct mail marketing opportunities to amend customer relationships and pursue new customers.

As the country slowly begins to reopen, it is essential for businesses and organizations of all sizes to market themselves to their audience. The coronavirus has taken a toll on every single business, but in the coming months, it is very important to stay in contact with your target audience to ease the transition back to normalcy. 

There is so much uncertainty in our world today because of the pandemic, and it has affected the business-as-usual lifestyle we are accustomed to. There are restrictions in place for day-to-day life, what products or services are available, and the state of your own business. To combat these concerns, you need effective marketing strategies now more than ever. Direct mail is a great way to reach an audience that is stuck at home, as it adds a personalized human touch to the interaction. 

What are the advantages of direct mail?

Even in our world of digital advertisements, direct mail is still extremely effective. According to a recent study, direct mail marketing has a higher median return on investment (29%) than paid searches (23%) and online displays (16%). It is the largest expenditure for U.S local advertising, which means if your business isn't interacting with customers through direct mail, it's likely your competitors are. 

Direct mail is also the preferred form of marketing contact for many customers. In a recent study, 73% of American consumers said they favor being contacted by brands via direct mail because it is the most convenient for them to consume. Direct mail also incentivizes customers to take action, as 76% of Americans admit to having been influenced by direct mail to make a purchase.These statistics provide further evidence that direct mail will continue to be very impactful to a business's customer base, even after a crisis. 

Is it appropriate to market for your business right now?

If government restrictions have been loosened or completely lifted for your sector of business, it's a great idea to restart the marketing process. With these unprecedented circumstances in place, it is essential to promote your business post-pandemic to not only keep loyal customers but also reach new ones.  

Consumers won't immediately return to your business, given their potential hesitations related to the crisis, so you must pay extra attention to craft an effective marketing strategy. A great approach could be to elaborate on what your business is doing to minimize the risk of spreading the virus, which would give your customers more peace of mind and further incentive to return to your business. If you focus on marketing, the demand for your business will increase as restrictions begin to lift and a semblance of normal life returns. Direct mail can help you take advantage of this important time in your business's reopening.  

 

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How to market with direct mail

As your business starts the reopening process, postcard direct mailing methods can be instrumental to a successful transition. Postcards are all but guaranteed to be opened, and they add a sense of accessibility and convenience that is difficult to replicate in other forms of direct mail. 

Postcards are also cheaper than most forms of direct mail. During the pandemic, many small businesses struggled economically. There must be an emphasis on restrategizing a marketing budget in order to effectively survive in the long run. By using postcard direct mailing, you can reduce your advertising budget to allocate funds for other purposes. In a study by The Direct Mail Association, postcards have a lower cost per lead than any other marketing strategy at an average of $54. With other methods (like telemarketing) exceeding $190 per lead, it is in your business's best financial interests to invest in postcard marketing. 

Direct mail will be effective during this post-crisis time period because of its potential impact on your customers. The lifespan of direct mail, such as postcards, is much longer in a household than other marketing methods. On average, an email sent to a consumer list would last 17 seconds in their inbox; a piece of direct mail's lifespan in a household is 17 days

Let's use the reopening of a restaurant as an example. The establishment is planning its outdoor seating opening in the coming weeks and needs to promote this new aspect of its business that former customers are not aware of. A postcard will not only detail the safety adjustments the restaurant is taking but also inform customers of the new hours and products. While customers may not immediately act and go dine at the restaurant, the postcard remains in a customer's household for days. The restaurant could also add a discount offer on its postcard to increase the chances of that postcard being saved for later. 

At The Addressers, we have witnessed a general trend of small businesses taking advantage of our circumstances. For instance, due to the exponential growth of pet adoptions during this pandemic, pet shops have been sending out postcard mailers, informing new pet owners of their hours and location and offering coupons to incentivize their business. One would optimistically believe that when pandemic restrictions lift, new pet owners would continue to hold these pets and drive a consistent and growing demand for pet shop products and services.

Another great example are businesses involved in trade shows. Trade shows are not a viable option right now, so many of these businesses and organizations are sending out direct mail postcards to potential customers. In general, these small businesses are adopting new marketing solutions, including postcards, to replace trade shows.  

Another exciting feature of postcards is the customization capabilities, including variable data printing and Post-it note mailers. The first method uses digital printing software to personalize each printed piece. Possible enhancements to the postcards include names, text, graphics and images to help the postcard stand out from the crowd. Post-it note mailers are ordinary postcards with a Post-it note affixed, containing either handwritten or pen-addressed personal notes to the recipients. These personalized methodologies for your postcards go a long way.

Postcard mailing can be daunting to take up on your own, as the cost and time of beginning your own mailing campaign will add up. However, there are full-service mailing companies that can handle the entire production of your personalized postcard. Generally, the costs of using a mailing company will be less than handling the task on your own, especially considering the valuable time and opportunity cost that should be focused on other aspects of your business. Mailing companies can also supply full mailing lists, exciting designs and assistance throughout the entire process. 

In conclusion 

The country is beginning to reopen, and to return from this pandemic successfully, small businesses must take personalized marketing strategies like direct mail very seriously. It is in your hands to manage your audience and return your business to its pre-pandemic state. These changes in marketing methodology won't happen on their own, so it is essential for your business to realize the situation and tackle it head-on. Thankfully, there are direct mail companies like The Addressers that can handle your entire postcard mailing campaign. 

As an expert in the direct mail industry for over 40 years, I believe postcard mailing is a strategy that most businesses should leverage. Hopefully, it has become clear how effective and important direct mail can be during this reopening time in the market. Consumers need unique and impactful advertisements to ease the transition back to normal life, and direct mail is the best way to achieve that for your business. 

On a final note, stay positive, stay in contact with your clients, and stay afloat by marketing your business!  

I have 30+ years of experience in direct mail industry. For first 10 years, I worked for several national direct mail companies. Since 2002, I owned and operated, Addressers, a direct mail and fulfillment company located in Southern California. Even in declining direct industry, Addressers had been growing steadily since the beginning. Currently, Addressers have 50+ employee and mail about 50 millions pieces per year.
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