In the digital age, the last method on your mind for generating leads and impacting customers may be direct mail. But it turns out direct mail is a tried-and-true marketing method that's still alive and well. In 2016, the Data and Marketing Association reported that direct mail response rate increased by 43 percent.
Better yet, because of the rise of paid search, social media marketing and online advertising, fewer companies are using direct mail as a means to test ad campaigns, develop new customers and interact with their community. In 2016, overall mail delivered decreased 2 percent, according to data from the USPS. That leaves an opening for your campaign.
If you're interested in starting a direct mail campaign, there are a few steps you should take before getting started. Companies can provide you with the tools and services to design mailers, acquire mailing lists and manage the actual mailing. As with most small business services, it's important to define what you're looking for and what you can afford. The best direct mail marketing services provide a variety of products to choose from, design tools or services and good turnaround time.
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Brainstorming and the nature of campaigns
If you want to start marketing through direct mail, it's important to start brainstorming some ideas for your campaigns. There are some good tips for creating campaigns, like focusing on a call to action, coding batches of your mail and building a local mailing list. That's all before you have to actually come up with an idea and design it.
While marketing services can assist with design, direct mail marketing experts suggest writing person-to-person, writing a compelling first paragraph, breaking up text with bullets and adding a sense of urgency.
There is a right way to directly market to your community, so brainstorm a few different ideas and then test them. Testing marketing campaigns is a valuable aspect of direct mail. Once you have a mailing list, you can try out different types of advertisements and see which perform the best.
What to look for in a direct mail marketing service
There are a bunch of direct mail marketing services, so it's important to know which are the best for your business and why. If you're interested in direct mail marketing, you can check out our reviews for companies with great direct mail marketing offerings. As for marquee features to be aware of, there are a few that stand out.
- Design tools and services: The best direct mail marketing services handle design or provide you with design tools to create your mailers. These can be in the form of flyers, postcards or brochures. You should try and find a service that can support a range of color options and has versatile design features.
- Mailing lists: Many companies already have mailing lists ready for you to utilize, for a fee. You can usually buy or rent these lists, depending on what company you partner with. If you're interested in developing your own mailing list for your local community, you can do so by visiting the USPS website.
- Speed: Great direct mail marketing services have quick turnaround times. Look for a company that can get your order ready within two to seven business days.
- Tracking options: Some companies will offer tracking options for your campaigns, like call tracking or mail tracking software. This can allow you to take a closer look at the effectiveness and reach of your email campaign.
- Support: Look for services that offer FAQs, live chat, phone or email support. This way, if something goes wrong, you'll have a direct avenue to fix your problem. Customer support can vary from company to company, so make sure you get a feel for your new partner somehow before signing up.
Direct mail is a viable marketing avenue for small business. As a dynamic tool, you can test advertising campaigns, target specific areas of your community and reach new customers. Using a direct mailing service means partnering with a company that will handle the assembly, addressing and sending of all your marketing mail. It's important to try and find a company with extra features, like added support, quick turnaround times and design services. By working with a direct mailing service, you can take some of the headaches out of direct mail marketing.