As a small business owner or startup founder, you need to consistently implement marketing campaigns through all available channels that reach your ideal customers (i.e., target audience).
You might think that direct mail is dead, but the opposite is true. For instance, Inkit reported that direct mail response rates have been rising since 2017, and those response rates are significantly higher than other forms of marketing like telemarketing and email marketing.
If you’re not taking advantage of direct mail marketing, you should start asap! Here are three smart ways to get started.
1. Get the right list
Your first step to getting started with direct mail marketing is to get the right list. If you’re mailing to contacts that won’t ultimately benefit your business, you’re wasting time and resources.
You have a few options. You can build your own direct mail list from internal data. This list will include people you’ve already positively interacted with, including past and present customers, hot and cold leads, and any affiliate partners. You’ll save money by using a list you already have, but you need to make sure your data is current and accurate.
If you want to branch out, you can also buy or rent a list. This is a great option if you are still building your audience. You can get specific with purchased lists; you’re able to target the data you purchase by interests, associations, and buying history. This option is obviously pricier, but it might be worth it for your business.
2. Add value with your content
Now that you have your list, it’s time to create content. The key to direct mail success is to make sure you are sharing an offer right off the bat. If you’re not adding immediate value, your leads are going to toss your mail offers in the trash. Can you blame them?
Include an attention-grabbing offer immediately. Try a significant discount, an invitation to join your affiliate program, or an invite to an inclusive industry event.
Another approach is a “shock and awe” campaign. The idea here is to mail physical materials, merch, and other products to get your customers to open the package. A classic example is to run an “aspirin campaign.” Send a packet of aspirin, with a message like, “Current service giving you a headache?”
Is it cheesy? Sure.
Does it work? Absolutely!
People can feel the contents through the mail packaging, which makes them curious. And then your message is in front of them! It works because it’s unexpected.
Another way to run a ‘shock and awe’ campaign is to send them something useful. Maybe it’s a book you just wrote or a printed value-added guide. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s something they can use.
3. Show appreciation
This last tip is less about attracting new clients and more about keeping current ones happy. Direct mail is the best way to make personal connections and show your customers you care about them.
You should already be keeping track of your clients on social media (consider using a CRM platform with social integration); use this in your direct mail. Make note of significant events in their day-to-day lives. Did they win an industry reward? Have they published any significant new content? Any success is worth celebrating.
Another good occasion to reach out is an anniversary with your company. We’re lucky to have a lot of customers at Nexa who have been with us for over ten years. A few have even been with us for 25 years. That’s worth celebrating! Sending a card their way to thank them for their partnership only takes us a few minutes and shows that we care. That’s worth it. (And it’s a great chance for some good content for social media if you start a pen pal situation!)
Get started with direct mail
Direct mail marketing is a little old school, but it can get new results for your business. Since it’s unexpected, it might just give you the boost you need over your competition!
Make sure you’re investing in the right type of list, add value immediately, try non-traditional campaigns, and show appreciation to your customers. They’ll appreciate it.
Parker Davis is the CEO of Nexa, a leader in the virtual receptionist and technology-enabled answering services industry. Since 2015, Parker has been responsible for Nexa’s strategic vision, senior level management, and equity creation. He believes that the application of data analytics, investment in technology, and fostering a positive company culture together create highly efficient and scalable growth companies. He has an M.B.A from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Notre Dame. Connect with @callnexa on Twitter.
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