Despite the growing popularity of emerging marketing channels such as social media, new research reveals that almost half of UK consumers are driven to visit brand websites by an item of direct mail.
The research, by customer insight firm GI Insight, found that online traffic is largely driven by direct mail, with 47% of UK consumers saying that 'more often than not' they are prompted to check out a website by something they have received in the post.
The continuing importance of direct mail in a multi-channel era was also highlighted by the finding that more than half of UK consumers (52%) declare that they receive most of the promotions and special offers they redeem in-store or online though the post. And 43% of respondents also say that direct mail items they keep around at home act as reminders to visit the sender's website or shop when they have the time to do so.
Times are tough and tough decisions need to be made. Are you going to batten down the hatches and hope to ride out the economic storm, or are you going to take advantage of your competitors lack of vision and capture their lost business by actively marketing your products and services?
The main benefit of using direct mail is that you can measure its effectiveness. With the inclusion of response codes such as "quote DM123 when you order " or specially allocated free-phone numbers and e-commerce tailoring, you know exactly who is replying to what offer and therefore whether the offer was effective or not.
But what if it didn't work and you have blown your entire budget in one go? It makes sense to trial your mailing. Send out a few hundred or a few thousand and see what sort of response you get. If it's not right then change it and send out a few more. Start with your existing clients and customers, see what impact it has on them. What happens if you mail to them more regularly? And if it did work, mail it to them again. You are likely to get another 50% of your original response rate the second time around.
Some offers may be more suited to a formal letter and brochure approach in a window envelope. Newsletters may have better impact in clear poly-wrap, enabling the receiver to see the exciting new thing that you have to offer them. Consider postcards or one-piece mailers ink-jetted directly with names and addresses if you want to make bold headline statements without the need for opening anything.
Although the overall presentation is important, it is vital to grab your readers attention immediately. The headline is the thing that the eye is immediately drawn to, so make it straight to the point. Clever headlines that challenge the readers intelligence can be a real turn-off if you make the reader feel inferior.
People generally don't care about what you do, but how it makes their life better.
If you don't immediately make a killing from your mailing you may be tempted to think that it was not a success. Work on the 'break-even principle'. So long as it covered its costs, then you have got your name in front of a lot of potential new clients. Those that do place orders will hopefully bring in repeat business in the future. To calculate your break-even point divide the overall cost of the mailshot by the value of your product. This will tell you the number of orders you need to receive in order to break-even.
You may think that producing a mailing yourself will save you money. The exact opposite is actually true in most cases. By using mailing services you will not only produce a far more professional looking mailing, but the overall cost will be lower than printing, stuffing and posting it yourself.