While a lot of attention is paid to digital marketing, direct mail is still a valuable marketing tool.
As a dynamic tool, you can test advertising campaigns, target specific areas of your community and reach new customers. To help with this type of marketing, you can partner with a direct mailing service company that will handle the assembly, addressing and sending of all your marketing mail. When searching for direct mail service, it is important to understand the features they offer and benefits they can bring your business.
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What is a direct mail service?
A direct mail service helps you design, print, send and create mailings lists. Direct mail is a very common form of marketing that involves sending physical mail through the postal service to a residential or business address. Many people refer to direct mail as “junk mail” because the letters, flyers, brochures or other promotional material is seen as unsolicited.
However, when direct mail is done correctly, and you work with a good company, it can supplement your digital marketing efforts and foster a positive relationship with your local community. [Looking for a direct mail service to partner with? Check out our recommendations for the best direct mail services.]
What to look for in a direct mail marketing service
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. Here are some of the key features to look for when choosing a direct mail service.
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.
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 a mailing list for your local community, you can do so by visiting the USPS website.
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.
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.
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.
What are the benefits of direct mail services?
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%.
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. Here are some additional benefits of working with a direct mail service:
- It's easy, and affordable, to get started. Unlike most modern marketing channels, there is no learning curve to get started with direct mail. There are fewer elements to learn and metrics to track. While there are more complicated and clever direct mail tactics, you don't need extensive knowledge to start shipping promotional material across the U.S.
- You have less competition. Direct mail was once one of just a few avenues businesses had to reach new customers. But with the advent of online marketing, fewer companies invest in a customer's physical mailbox.
- It can easily supplement your digital marketing efforts. Even with less competition in the mailbox, people still want to search for your company online. Connecting your promotional material to your website and social media channels is a great way to increase your online traffic.
- Quickly expands your brand's reach. Most consumers see dozens of brands and hundreds of ads online every day and it can be easy for them to not give them a second thought. With a tangible piece of mail in hand, you build legitimacy to your brand and foster stronger brand recognition.
How to brainstorm 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 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.
Additional reporting by Matt D'Angelo