I know what you’re thinking—we live in a digital world, full of social media posts, videos, and blog posts. So why should we spend money on sending direct mail?
What Exactly Is Direct Mail?
In short, direct mail is a piece of marketing literature that is sent via traditional mail (through the U.S. Postal Service). This piece could be sent to hundreds or millions, and could be anything from a small postcard to a large group of items in an envelope. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, direct mail is a safe way to reach your audience.
Who Is Direct Mail Sent To?
There are two main ways to get addresses for your customers or prospects. The first is by building a house list. Your house list is a collection of information that you get on your own (nowadays both physical addresses and email addresses). This could be information obtained directly from your customers or prospects, addresses you found on a company website, or from other research.
The second way to get addresses is by purchasing a list from a vendor. There are many companies out there that will sell lists, so you should take care to buy a “clean” list—an approved list being sold by a reputable list broker. (On another note: you should never buy an email list! It’s too risky and could damage your sender reputation.)
How Has Direct Mail Evolved?
In the past 10 years, direct mail response rates have risen. This is encouraging on its own, but when you consider the technological advances in the past 10 years—increased social media platforms, the rise of video content, etc.—it becomes even more impressive. Back in the early 2000s, marketing students were taught to expect a general response rate of 1-2 percent from direct mail. But fast forward to 2019, and the direct mail response rate for house lists is 9 percent!
The reasons are not totally clear, but many theorize that sending direct mail helps cut through the online clutter of our daily lives. Something as simple as a postcard sent through the mail can catch your buyer’s eye. A more elaborate piece that features die cuts, complex folds, or special coatings will go the extra mile.
How To Get Started Sending Direct Mail
To incorporate direct mail into your current marketing mix, you’ll need the following:
- An objective. You have to have the end in mind when you’re developing a direct mail campaign. What is your goal? What do you hope to accomplish? Whatever your goal is, you should make sure you have a way to measure your success. Is it a special code the buyer needs to use? Is it a specific landing page on your website? You’ll need to determine the response rate to prove your return on investment.
- A budget. How much are you willing to spend per piece on printing and mailing? You’ll need to account not only for the actual printing of the pieces, but also for any collating or inserting into envelopes as well as labeling each piece for mailing. Based on when your piece needs to arrive, there are several different postage options, so you’ll need to take that into account when budgeting also.
- A mail list. You’ll need a count of pieces to be printed and mailed. Depending on your budget, you may need to refine your list to reduce the number of pieces.
- A design. You don’t want to launch your campaign with an amateur-looking mail piece. Work with a designer, whether in-house or contracted, to develop a mail piece that reflects your company’s brand and encourages your buyer to take action. Don’t forget to incorporate your special code or landing page to measure your success.
- A printing partner. Check this one off the list! Master Print is here for you. Contact your Sales Consultant or Account Manager to get started! We can also help you through the mailing process.