Is Direct Mail Really Dead?

You may have heard the hype that direct mail has died and gone to junk mail heaven. Don’t believe it. That talk comes from people who have never learned how to use direct mail correctly and effectively or who have a vested interest in spreading false and misleading information.

Why use direct mail? Because it works.

  • It works in getting clients.
  • It works to get your foot in the door.
  • It works for lead generation.
  • It works for growing traffic at brick-and-mortar (and even online) businesses.
  • It works at differentiating your company from those who rely strictly on online communication.

Direct mail marketing is extremely reliable and extremely precise. It can be inexpensive and personalized. In fact, direct mail arrives more personally than any other medium and can deliver a message with 100% exposure.

In addition to all of this, direct mail…

  • Requires virtually no tech skills
  • Can be leveraged using shared advertising space
  • Is what nearly all recipients prefer for unsolicited advertisement
  • Can bring in business without someone actively searching for it
  • Can be scaled infinitely
  • Has worked for over a century without fail
  • Has always been the king of all advertising
  • Can take almost any business to any level of success desired
  • Can be felt and not just seen
  • Has an infinite shelf life

To be clear, “junk mail” is NOT what we are referring to as effective direct mail. Some companies with large marketing budgets can afford this type of “spray and pray” mailing.

Effective direct mail marketing takes some thought, planning, and strategy. It needs to be memorable, and it needs to stand out. Businesses of all size that are utilizing this powerful tool are still reaping the rewards.

No, direct mail isn’t dead. It’s alive and kicking. If you haven’t tried it in a while, try it again. You won’t be disappointed by the results.

Sometimes Less Really is More

“There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Your mother probably admonished you as a youngster: “You need to finish that plate of food because there are children in Africa starving right now.” So we have been conditioned to eat even when our stomach is full or even if we don’t really like the taste of the food. The negative side effects surround us everywhere.

Living in this age of access to unprecedented amounts of information, we must be careful not to overindulge there, too. Just as it is harmful to overeat, it is perhaps even more detrimental to consume the incessant amount of unrelated and useless information that fills the web, the airwaves (TV and radio), and print. Just because it’s free to access doesn’t mean it comes without another kind of cost.

This type of cost is more precious than the monetary kind. It’s your valuable time. Unlike money, time can’t be replaced once it’s gone. Like the youngster who becomes conditioned to eat too much, we are becoming conditioned to consume too much information, most of it the useless variety. Many of us need to go on an information diet! How many minutes and hours are wasted daily on email, Facebook, and various news/entertainment websites? Too many.

“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” -Albert Einstein

Not all reading or information is harmful, of course. But it is time to stop reading negative and time-consuming information that is not helping you advance toward your goals. If you start reading an article that turns out to be less useful than you thought, no need to keep reading it. Do you have to constantly check your email? Not really. Start taking your time back by going on an information diet today. You will be much more productive and will like the new you the next time you look in the mirror.

Be a Drama Queen!

Yes, being a drama queen is typically a negative. But there is one instance where it is actually a big positive.

Imagine you are in a stadium filled with your most ideal prospects. You have one chance to present and pitch your product or service. Say the right thing, and every one of them will become a client. Say the wrong thing, and you’ll lose them all. That’s the potential power of communication.

There are many ways to get your message across. You can bore them to death, or you can entertain them. The chances that a prospect will stick around and listen are much better if you do the latter.

People are drawn to those who can share, teach, and even sell something useful. They are most attracted to the ones who can entertain them while presenting.

Like it or not, we live in a society that needs and wants to be entertained. If you want to stand out and succeed, you have to be able to give them what they want.

This is where injecting drama into your sales copy, blogs, direct mail, social media presence, and sales presentations has a powerful and magnetic effect. The best drama has some action and intrigue to draw the audience in. The same is true in business communication. If you take the time to package your thoughts and ideas in an entertaining way, you will be better received. Your audience will want more. The cycle of attraction, conversion, and consumption will begin. And it will continue as long as you are able to inject enthusiasm and some drama into your messages.

Why Should I?

The average person gets bombarded with more than one thousand advertising messages daily. When it comes to marketing your business, the pressure is on to convey your message quickly and concisely, including benefits that give you a competitive edge. Here are a few reasons customers may choose your business over the competition:

  • Money back guarantee. Give customers a reassuring reason to buy today without the fear of tomorrow.
  • Industry-leading warranty. Increase peace of mind and perceived product value with a comforting warranty.
  • Specials or promotions. Offer savings or advertise upcoming promotions that are too enticing to pass up.
  • Customer testimonials. Let your customers do the selling for you by providing engaging customer success stories.
  • Business milestones. If you’ve been in business for 20 years or sold 10,000 products, make sure everyone knows about it.
  • Popularity sells. Share the names of other relevant businesses in your community who also purchase from you.
  • Free. Whether you’re talking about delivery, shipping, assembly, or samples, never underestimate the power of free.
  • Industry awards. If your business receives an exclusive award, spread the exciting news.
  • Local ownership. Remind customers that the money they spend in their community stays in their community when they buy local.

Think Small!

For many years, “think big” has been the theme for many businesses, as they try to compete in a sea of retail giants. However, the tables are turning, and large organizations realize that their audience is looking for more personalized, customer-focused attention, causing businesses to “think small.” Here are a few ways to leverage your natural small business advantages in your marketing efforts:

  • Personal attention. Small businesses are more likely to recognize their customers and provide sincere, personal attention, without customers feeling like they’re just another number in the company’s statistics.
  • Industry experts. Many small businesses develop a narrow market focus and develop a premium reputation for serving that niche market effectively.
  • The power to change. While large companies generally take several months to change company policies, small businesses usually have the ability to make decisions on the spot and implement changes quickly when they feel it is appropriate.
  • Flexibility. Small businesses are more willing to work with customers and do whatever it takes to earn their business, including filling customized requests at a moment’s notice.
  • Customer satisfaction. Because it takes more effort for a small business to build a strong customer base, they also work harder to keep their current customers happy.

When it comes to marketing, don’t hide the fact that you are a small business. Instead, take the opportunity to promote it proudly and show customers the many advantages of thinking small.

PB&J Marketing

It’s easy to see why peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a nationwide favorite. After all, PB&J offers creamy, sweet, smooth (or crunchy) goodness that is fruity, satisfying, filling, inexpensive, and fairly good for you to boot. Sure, peanut butter is delicious by itself (as is jelly), but when they are joined together, they create a flavor-packed, winning combination that can’t be beat.

When it comes to marketing, a blend of print and electronic media can easily be compared to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. While they can both function effectively on their own, they pack a more powerful punch when joined together.

For example, print promotions — such as postcards, newsletters, flyers, or brochures — are a great way to grab attention, increase awareness, and encourage readers to visit your website for in-depth information, product ordering, survey completion, webinar and event registration, and more.

When it comes to combining print with electronic media, the options are endless. If you’re in need of unique print ideas to supplement your electronic marketing, give us a call today. You just may think some of our creative ideas are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Encourage the Customer Voice

One of the best ways to promote your business is to get your customers talking about you, whether on the streets, via social media, or in product reviews. Here are a few ways to encourage customers to voice their opinions:

  • Create a message board, chat forum, or guest book where customers can create an online community and share their opinions and feedback.
  • Ask key customers to participate in a “customer spotlight” section of your newsletter. Use this feature to help customers promote their business and elaborate on their relationship with your company.
  • Add product review capabilities to your website that allow customers to rank and review your products or services. Send customers a link to an online opinion survey they can take shortly after making a purchase.
  • Start a blog and encourage feedback, questions, suggestions, and sharing of your posts.
  • Offer valuable incentives (coupon, discount, free gift, etc.) as a reason to fill out a survey, and keep surveys short and sweet. This will encourage customers to complete your entire survey… and to answer future surveys when you ask them to.
  • Encourage customers to contact you any time they have questions, comments, or suggestions — and make it easy for them to do so. Include your contact details in your email signature, post your phone number prominently on every page of your website, and send a business card with every letter or mailing.
  • Engage with customers every chance you get. Ask them about their experience, seek their opinion on industry-related topics, and garner their feedback and suggestions regarding your business.
  • Don’t discourage negative customer comments. Negative feedback provides credibility and tells customers the business is confident enough to show a range of customer opinions. Honest feedback and suggestions can also help improve your business.