With easy access to a range of free / low-cost email marketing tools such as MailChimp, there’s an assumption that printed Direct Mail is no longer worth considering. An email can be sent for free, versus the cost of print and postage. Design of an email can sometimes be a lot quicker and therefore cheaper than Direct Mail.
But if you think about your own experiences in receiving marketing emails, how many of them to do you actually stop and open, let alone read?
I subscribe to a range of updates, news, offers, you name it. From a wide variety of brands. But the only ones that actually get my attention are those that are relevant to me in that instance. Or those that have some astounding offer that I leave it in my inbox to open later. The rest? They get deleted.
That’s why printed Direct Mail still has its place and should be a part of your marketing communication plans whether you’re talking to existing or prospective customers:
- Printed Direct Mail provides you with an opportunity to stand out – as more and more brands go digital and ignore printed Direct Mail there’s less clutter to shout above.
- You’re more likely to get a moment of the recipient’s time – as they have to physically go through post this gives you more opportunity to grab their attention.
Here are 10 things you should ensure are on your check list when planning your next Direct Mail campaign.
- Who are you sending the piece to? Do you have multiple audiences (existing customers, warm leads, cold leads, etc)? If you can easily break your target audience down into distinct groups then consider tailoring your Direct Mail to each group. One size does not necessarily fit all. By knowing who you are sending it to you will be clear on what you want to achieve and therefore what to say.
- Your main offer. Ensure you are completely clear what it is you are offering. This offer is ‘the thing’ that resonates most with the recipient. It might be a price offer. It might be a new product or service. It might be awareness of a subscription programme. Can you sum it up in a sentence? If not, it’s probably too complicated.
- Your supporting message. Once you’ve captured attention, your supporting message(s) must give a bit more detail (so the recipient is suitably informed), provide proof and leave them reassured.
- Your call to action. What action do you want the recipient to take? Be clear what’s the easiest way for them to contact you. Are your traditional customers happier to call you, for example? But also consider what is the best way for you to receive incoming follow ups from potential customers. If you could get lots of phone calls, for example, are you set up to receive them?
- Your reference point. Make sure you include a reference code the recipient must quote when responding to your Direct Mail. That way you’ll be able to track its success. Equally you could use a unique URL or a QR code that points to a unique web page. Again, this ensures you can measure responses.
- The print quantity. What’s the size of your mailing list? Be clear on the number of people you want to send your Direct Mail piece out to. The larger the number, clearly the greater print and postage budget you’ll need to set aside. But equally with a larger print run you’re potentially capturing the attention of more people. Budget will often dictate your final print quantity.
- The print format. As with the size of your mailing list, your print and mailing budget will help direct the options open in terms of format. Your Direct Mail piece needn’t be a stunning piece of complex origami. Indeed, there are some simple yet effective formats that really are proven to engage with the recipient, whilst getting your message across in an ordered way.
- The envelope / mailing outer. Depending upon what you are trying to say, the market you operate in, your print budgets, etc, you’ll need to decide whether your Direct Mail piece is sent in a plain outer / envelope or in a branded one. There are pros and cons for both. The decision would be clear following your brief to your designer.
The wider context
- The campaign. A piece of Direct Mail should never be considered in isolation. It’s a single opportunity to get attention. Consider how this communication piece can work as part of a campaign, perhaps supported by a teaser piece, or advertising, or email marketing, for example. If your printed Direct Mail can tie in with your overall marketing communication plans then it has a greater chance of being successful.
- The follow up. Depending upon what you are trying to achieve, who you’re sending your Direct Mail piece to, the size of your database, etc, do consider what’s practical in following it up. If, for example, your campaign is to a small set of existing customers that’s attempting to increase registration to a subscription service, then a personalised follow up might be feasible. If it’s to a large number of warm leads, then supporting it with some email marketing or adverts in relevant industry publications might be an option.