Direct Mail: Customers and ROI
Direct mail marketing is booming.
E-mail and Internet marketing may be attracting buzz, but there are still strong incentives to send printed messages directly to customers whom you select. Direct mail gives you complete control over who sees your marketing, in contrast to advertising in print, online-mail, Web sites, or television.
For small businesses, where sales leads and customer contact information so often fall through the cracks, being able to market pinpointed prospects with postcards, flyers, catalogs, or personalized notes is a terrific opportunity. A well-crafted, road-tested direct mail package represents a cost-effective sales cycle all on its own, including advertising message, presentation, special offer, call to action and, ultimately, deal closer.
If you take the time to do it right, direct marketing can generate gratifying and measurable results.
Oddly enough, it's the latest electronic tools that are driving interest in commercial mail marketing. One consumer's throwaway is another prospect's prize, which puts value in the eye of your prospect. So the key to getting results from direct mail is a precisely targeted mailing list. You need the right message in front of the right customers at the right time to get the buy-in. Many experts say that 40 percent of direct mail's success will depend on the list.
If you're a realtor, for example, think about a postcard campaign offering your services — and perhaps an invitation to a seminar about retirement communities — to home-owning parents whose youngest has just headed off to college. Or consider the effect of an insurance agency that
specializes in business and property policies mailing personalized letters to companies that have just moved into new digs. That's the potential of electronic tools.
Generating Powerful Contact Reports
When hard copy mailing lists are transformed into electronic databases, you can manipulate and mine the list for byte-sized nuggets. Whether it's your own customer list or one you rent from a trade group, a professional organization or a list broker, a database lets you identify customers as broadly or as narrowly as your prospect's profile. You can segment by age or income, by hobby or geography, by education, occupation or gender and by a dizzying array of special qualifiers, like car models or types of professional services or how many movies a consumer sees each month.
Manage Your Expectations
Precisely targeting consumers who are likely to be interested in your products or services hardly guarantees buyers, of course. Having a well-targeted list increases your odds of success. But parents who receive that realtor's postcard, for instance, might have no desire to move. Average response rates for direct mail vary considerably, depending on what you're selling, the package's appeal, how distinctive your offer is, and the quality of your mailing list. Overall, a good return on mass mailings to new prospects runs .1 percent to 5 percent. A 2 to 3 percent response is excellent. Anything near 5 percent is spectacular. When it comes to mailings to loyal customers, however — say, your top 10 percent of big spenders — you should expect returns closer to 30 percent and up. Successful mailings depend on clearly defined targets and goals.
Author: Joanna L. Krotz
Postal Systems offers direct mail programs as well as direct mail & purl to help your business grow!
To learn what purl is and how this new technology can help your business make its direct mail campaign even more effective please visit our purl marketing blog post.