Hitting the target with direct mail campaigns
We’ve all suffered the irritation of having to sift through a slew of junk mail on a Saturday morning. It’s not surprising, therefore, that a lot of companies have been put off considering direct mail campaigns for themselves. With the right planning, some know-how and a little inventiveness, direct mail can be an effective weapon in your marketing, sales and promotions arsenal.
Of late direct mail response rates have seen a revival, particularly in the tech-savvy 18-34 year old demographic (http://www.forbes.com/sites/marketshare/2012/03/11/direct-mail-alive-and-kicking/). It is widely considered that printed creative is now seen as something special to keep and it has earned its place as a different, meaningful medium that can be heard above the digital noise of social media and email marketing.
So what should you be considering to make your direct mail campaign effective? Here are Pepper’s top five tips:
1. Pain is gain
Consider a campaign that will scratch an itch, or soothe a pain. A direct mail campaign that solves somebody’s problems, or appeals to their mode of thinking will be more effective as it will feel like it is speaking to them. If a customer feels like they are being understood, they’re more likely to engage with your business.
2. What and who are you aiming for?
It’s time to put away the shotgun mentality of direct mail campaigns and to consider a sniper rifle instead. Direct mail can be a numbers game, but you have to be aiming at the right demographic first. Be bold and highly selective in honing down your mailing lists and aim only for individuals that meet your strict marketing criteria. Fewer, well-aimed mailings are better than relying on mass-market pot luck.
Once you’ve pinpointed your target audience, think very carefully about your message and use only one theme in your communications. Multiple messages will leave people feeling confused and unsure about what you are saying to them.
3. Get personal
Somebody is more likely to open a piece of mail that is addressed personally to them. Make sure you spell their name correctly and check that gender titles are also right! It is quick and efficient to merge all sorts of data on to a printed mail campaign, so get inventive and maybe consider different enclosing solutions. Also think about key dates, such as birthdays, or appeal to people in a particular town.
4. The clock is ticking
Although creative print is more likely to be retained by the recipient, don’t give people the excuse to file it under ‘maybe later’. Making your direct mail time sensitive is a great way to increase your response rates and track the feedback of a campaign. Make it clear that the recipient has a limited time in which to respond to your offer. Additionally, scarcity is the best friend of time-based triggers; not only is there limited time to respond to an offer, there is also limited stock.
5. Get Creative
Research shows that a well designed piece of direct mail is more likely to get a response; particularly if it utilises clear, bold colours and has a simple message. Beyond getting the basic anatomy of your design right (i.e. a well-placed logo and clear message), being creative is more likely to get you noticed. There are obvious triggers, such as putting something inside an envelope to encourage people to open it, but your communication will be enhanced by standing out from the crowd, making people smile and giving them a real reason to engage with the mail you’ve sent them - maybe they want to show it to their friends.
Tell us what you think; without naming and shaming, what have been the worse bits of junk mail you’ve received and why? What do you enjoy receiving in the post and which, if any, direct mail campaigns have you responded to?