Direct mail once ruled the roost, in the B2B space it was the quickest way to mass market to your customers and prospects and I remember just 10 years ago executing campaigns to thousands upon thousands potential customers, then sitting there waiting for the postman to deliver a sack full of responses or for the switchboard to go crazy. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
Not having the ability to properly track what was going on with your campaign was always the thorn in the rose for marketing managers. How many actually got delivered? How many opened? How many read? How many acted upon? And what are the costs associated to not knowing.
Then came email and e-marketing platforms. They literally revolutionised the way we ran campaigns. You could have an idea in the morning and by the afternoon have people placing orders. Not only that, you knew how many were delivered, opened, clicked and actioned upon. Instantly.
It was however, a victim of its own success. Such was its power that everyone wanted a piece of the action. The pigeon hole at work was getting less mail and the email box was constantly ‘exceeding its limit’. Instead of getting excited about the look and feel of a well created HTML mailer, people started getting irritated by the sheer volume and in a lot of instances, poor targeting of the revolutionary form of comms.
In my opinion, the pendulum is swinging back to direct mail and faster than ever before. It’s both unusual and very satisfying to get a really well designed, personalised, high quality piece of direct mail through the door. So much so that the last few pieces I have received have all had my undivided attention, whereas their e-mail brothers and sisters have made their way to my recycle bin without a second thought.
My advice on good direct mail is simple and falls into 3 categories:
1. Personalise – Make the recipient feel special my ensuring each piece of DM is personalised. With the advances in digital printing these days most printing companies can help you with this, some of which can print the recipient names onto the DM as part of the design, see below as an example:
2. Message – make sure the message is short and to the point – on average yo uhave about 0.6 seconds to capture the attention of the person reading your DM
3. Quality – Don’t forget that the quality of the paper, envelope and even the printing is a direct reflection on your brand, first impressions are very important
The great thing about direct mail today, compared to direct mail 10 years ago are the tools we now have to support such campaigns. Before, it was a return address or a telephone number to reply, but now we can give the target market options. Call, post, tweet, e-mail, like, scan, become a fan and so on… What’s more, when high quality direct mail becomes part of an integrated communications strategy the chance of end user engagement multiplies.
Evaluate what your audience actually receives from you today, then think about how you would feel on the receiving end. Wouldn’t it be nice to have something that looks and feels great through the post again?