In 2018 what is the state of direct mail? Has it lost its effectiveness in a social media-dominatial world? Is direct mail marketing still alive and well? Or has it finally reached its often-predicted end?
There’s no question that consumers love social media. And you should be loving it too.
The more consumers “like”, “share” and “re-tweet” your social media content, the better for your business. Ideally, your social media content induces customers to return to your Facebook page, Instagram feed, Linked In profile, Houzz presence, Pinterest boards, etc. and, in turn, they will want to buy from you and recommend you to their friends, family and co-workers.
Social media is an excellent way to build your brand and establish connections, yet direct mail offers its own benefits. Social Media and direct mail are increasingly used to complement one another and can be a powerful combination.
Where online marketing efforts are generally low-cost and low impact, print is higher-cost and higher impact. Where online marketing is passive, direct mail is proactive; it demands that the recipient do something with it.
No, direct mail is not “dead.” But, it has declined in volume over the past 10 years. As we rely more and more on digital communication and going paperless, it makes sense that direct mail would be used less frequently.
However, this is the exact reason why direct mail is still vital.
As more businesses promote themselves online, the advertising clutter has become overwhelming. As a result, people are tuning out online ads and using ad blockers. In response, more marketers are once again adding mail to their marketing mix because people are paying attention to mail again, as the amount of junk mail declines.
Since mail in general is used less frequently, any direct mail advertisement will stand out more.
You might get a hundred emails a day, but only a few items through traditional mail. Which is more likely to get noticed?
Messages on Facebook or Twitter are seen and then vanish. Print media sits on a coffee table or kitchen counter. It can be seen multiple times by multiple consumers. They might not look for a deal in the moment, but the printed piece keeps your business in their consciousness.
Print can be both interesting and powerful. Small businesses that have never mailed before are finding it worthwhile for both attracting new customers and keeping existing ones.
Direct mail creates a physical, tangible message. Studies show that the ability to hold and touch something printed leaves a deeper impression in consumers’ brains and results in better levels of recall than merely seeing something on their screens. Consumers understand and remember what they read on paper better than what they read on a screen.
There are three reasons this happens:
Direct Mail marketing does cost more than on-line advertising, so creating an impact is crucial. If you keep in mind that customers don’t want to be bogged down with detail, that they are looking for solutions that will enhance their life, you’ll do fine. Provide consumers with value, address their needs, desires and pain points and you’re sure to get noticed.
Keep your mail piece concise and to-the-point. A person’s brain seeks simplicity and order when it processes information. Direct mail that creates a simple decision path with limited copy and lots of pictures and graphics always gets a better response.
Another plus for direct mail is that it’s one of the most measurable of all media. You’ll know when your mail is going to be delivered so you can use this knowledge to activate other parts of your campaign, like email and telemarketing follow up.
Using Facebook analytics, find out who your most active social media followers are and collect their email addresses and their mailing addresses.
No need to invent the wheel: your social media content can be used in your direct mail. Quotes from reviews or posts are perfect for your direct mailers to demonstrate you hand-in-hand, consumers on social media use direct mail coupons (“No commitment, free, in-home evaluation!”), they keep direct mail pieces for future use, they visit or call a business after receiving a direct mail invitation, some even pass their direct mail pieces on to others. Direct mail can also be used to invite consumers to create or share conr credibility, talent, expertise and experience.
Direct mail can also be used to promote social media contests (“Ugliest Kitchen” contest?). Ask for stories that tell how a new kitchen or bath improved a customer’s life. Or how about soliciting suggestions that can be published in future mailings, on your social media sites, or in your email newsletters.
As further proof that direct mail and social media work hand-in-hand, consumers on social media use direct mail coupons (“No commitment, free, in-home evaluation!”), they keep direct mail pieces for future use, they visit or call a business after receiving a direct mail invitation, some even pass their direct mail pieces on to others. Direct mail can also be used to invite consumers to create or share content online.
In our digitally-connected world, it’s certainly important for a business to build a strong social media following. But when social media is combined with direct mail, the impact of both can be boosted. Together, they can increase the influence and reach of your marketing efforts and create marketing dynamite.