Is Direct-Mail still a thing?

Do you like results? Then, hell yes it is!

Sure direct-mail is expensive compared to digital advertising but just like everything else, you get what you pay for. With all the digital noise, direct mail still gets the best results. Need proof? Check out the stats in this great article from Small Biz Genius, Now, I’m not suggesting you go all-in on direct mail but it should be a consideration to add to your bag of tricks. The key is to make sure you’re reaching the right people. Before the digital age, businesses without targeted lists would use a “spray and pray,” approach, meaning they’d dump a ton of mail, casting a wide nest to catch as many prospects as they could. Sure, there was some success but even with deep pockets, this was an incredibly wasteful approach. Since direct mail cost is higher, it’s much smarter to target your audience as tightly as possible. If you’re reaching the right audience, you can mail less and lower your cost per acquisition. Also, if you’re savvy, there are so many options to reduce postage and production costs. How much is a new customer is worth to you? Answer this question and a smart well-done direct-mail campaign is usually a no-brainer.

I’ll touch on a few of the smartest options, but there’s a few universal truths you’ll need to consider to make any print investment worth-while. Use a professional graphic designer or agency, it will save you in the end. They’ll make sure your piece meets postal regulations and gets the best postage rate as well as designing the most efficient piece for printing. I’ve seen so many companies spend their dollars on the distribution and print, only to have substandard creative. You should be proud of your marketing, it should represent your business clearly and concisely. Please don’t try to cram too much into one piece or your message will be wasted. Having a partner that understands printing efficiencies and can design an amazing creative piece to spec’ that fits the printer is immensely valuable in paper, postage and collaboration as well. Also, using a trustworthy printer that acts as an extension of your team is extremely important.  Even just having another set of eyes can save you from yourself and just like any quality expert, will help you navigate through unfamiliar territory.  OK, there’s my PSA, I’ll repeat this one a lot, it’s important, so hug your local graphic designer or printer, (just ask them first). One more thing, a single mailing won’t cut it, you’ll need repetition  before you get traction and if you integrate other marketing platforms consistent with your mail piece you’ll really be cooking with gas!

For certain Businesses, EDDM or Every Door Direct Mail may be an excellent solution. EDDM offers mail targeted by mail carrier route and the US postal service offers demographics so you can pick the right area. This works especially well for businesses that have a specific local reach. I’ve used this approach for our shop in the nearby community as well as larger businesses that need to get penetration in specific areas. The main drawback to EDDM is that there’s a lot of sorting on the front end for the advertiser, however, if you have more time than money for marketing, this is a great option.

Do you already have a great mail list? Then you should definitely explore bulk-rate postage savings. The most important thing, once you have an excellent list, is to save by efficiently creating your mail piece to postal regulations and proper sorting to make sure you’re squeezing the most out of your budget. Another great thing about having a solid list is you can utilize 3rd party services to analyze your list and recommend like-minded prospects. If you go this route make sure to use a reputable service that utilizes proven models to get the most bang for
your buck.

Another great option for extremely inexpensive postage is shared mail service. Basically the way it works is that you combine your mail with other businesses to split the postage. In my opinion, the key is to make sure your piece stands out and is is the diamond in the mix. I’ve tried their so-called “turn-key,” services and found them to produce sub-standard results. The savings in postage can be extreme, sometimes 1/4th of a bulk piece but don’t just pocket all the saving. To maximize results  you’ll need to add repetition so while it may be less expensive but you’ll need to mail with more frequency.

There are so many options that can maximize results and reduce expense. and integrating the right mix will get you the exposure to make you rise up from the crowd. It can be challenging to know where to invest to grow your business. Don’t sweat it, we can help you get there from here.

Published by T. Favorite

Hi, I’m Tom Favorite, your friendly neighborhood marketing guru and Chief Marketing Officer for Odds On Favorite, Creative Marketing Solutions. A little background about me. Over the past 20+ years I’ve successfully marketed a variety of businesses as a corporate lead as well as consultant to small and medium sized businesses. In that time, I’ve worked with all types of businesses from small to nation-wide retail stores, billion-dollar resorts, manufacturing and distribution, financial services, performing arts, real estate & construction. Plus my own business, a. favorite design, the wholesale and retail letterpress greeting card business my wife and I started in 2007.

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