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Direct Mail

3 Direct Mail Marketing Best Practices for Small Businesses

Lori Stafford Thomas

In today’s digital age, some say that direct mail is dead. Research, however, suggests otherwise.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, the direct mail open rate was 3.4 percent in 2012—markedly higher than the 0.12 percent email open rate in the same year (1). While the digital marketing formats of mobile, email and paid search are all growing in advertising budgets, companies are still giving direct mail a slightly larger slice of the pie. Two separate Winterberry Group studies found that direct mail spending increased by nearly 3 percent in 2014 (2). Costs of direct mail will likely remain steady this year, which could spur a 1 percent growth in volume.

That being said, here are three simple direct mail marketing best practices for small business owners to keep in mind:

  1. Understand and target your ideal customer: Take advantage of the back-end reporting that your payment processor provides in order to better understand your customers and their purchasing habits. Using these insights, you can create a tailored message that targets your desired audience, which often includes both your most loyal customers and others within that high-spend demographic.
     
  2. Stand out from the crowd: Whether it's through sleek design, a catchy message or an irresistible offer, the success of your direct mail program absolutely hinges on whether the mailer immediately grabs your target audience’s attention. If you can successfully catch their eye as soon as your target opens that piece of mail, you are one step ahead of your competition.
     
  3. Encourage customer action: However you choose to grab your potential customer’s attention, it’s key to include a call to action so the mailer is not a dead-end. Coupons are a traditional and effective way to drive the customer to visit your brick-and-mortar location, and require the customer to physically manipulate the mailer. Any type of interaction with the piece of direct mail prompts the potential customer to think more about your business, beginning the process of building brand recognition and loyalty.

1. Direct Marketing Association, http://www.marketingcharts.com/print/direct-mail-tops-email-for-response-rates-costs-per-lead-similar-22395/dma-response-rate-selected-media-june2012png/ (June 2012)

2. DMA, http://www.dmnews.com/marketing-strategy/where-will-marketing-grow-in-2015/article/391699/ (Jan. 9, 2015)

 

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