When Direct Mail Can Still be More Effective than Email

The WSJ made an excellent point in a piece posted last week about the continued importance of direct mail in the marketing mix of the average small business owner. The article goes on to cite examples of real small businesses who after briefly succumbing to the lure of saving money by cutting their partnership with the USPS, quickly re-instated their previously successful direct mail campaign.

Email sounds great on paper but for most small business, email lists are still an obstacle. They don’t have them and can’t afford to rent them or they can’t find one that matches their target demographics. But they’ve bought into the idea that dmail and postage is too expensive when email is cheap (or free) and so they reign in their dmail budget and do little or nothing in the email space.

Direct mail still deserves a place in your marketing plan though perhaps with a smaller part of your budget.

Gone are the days when dropping generic letters or cards to thousands of rented names each month makes sense. In their place small biz marketers are finding that customized communications to a smaller and more targeted list are not only more effective but can help them stand out. Don’t get discouraged because you don’t read “junk mail.” You are not your client and if your communication looks like junk, then you’re doing it wrong.

A personalized package with customized info sent priority mail to your target will stand out. A hand written note on company notecards will get their attention. A humorous postcard with an exaggerated graphic may be just the reminder they need to keep your name and your business top of mind. Complement the sales calls, emails and other tools in your marketing mix with a good dmail piece and reap the rewards ignored by your thrifty competitors.


One Response to When Direct Mail Can Still be More Effective than Email

  1. jdschulte says:

    Each business situation is different, and there are many formats of direct mail that can be used. This is where some direct mail and marketing training comes in handy.

    Email is good for communicating with customers you already have, yet it is still not guaranteed to make it to your customer’s inbox. Direct Mail makes it to the mail box 99% of the time. Much more reliable.

    Today everyone’s email box is filled with SPAM and other junk offers, it’s hard to get your message opened and read. You still have a better chance of standing out in someones snail-mail box.

    One of the key things when using direct mail, or any marketing tactic for that matter, is to make sure you have an idea of what the Long Term Value of a new customer is, and what is an acceptable cost to acquire these new customers.

    Some people new to direct marketing use direct mail one time and say it didn’t work for them because the amount of initial sales from new customers didn’t pay for the mailing. Yet if they figured in how much a new customer would spend over the next year or years, they may find out that the effort was hugely successful.

    If you are looking for direct mail marketing statistics to plan a successful marketing campaign, two studies are available from the National Mail Order Association, NMOA. They are, the DMA Statistical Fact Book, http://www.nmoa.org/catalog/dma/dma_stats.htm and the Response Rate Trends Report, http://www.nmoa.org/catalog/dma/dma_response.htm

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