When you run your own business, you're responsible for a lot. Aside from keeping the business running smoothly, you're responsible for producing your product or service, hiring employees, marketing and managing your brand, and doing anything else your business requires.
Today, let's focus on the marketing aspect of your business.
In this article, we'll focus on one type of direct marketing known as direct mail. Specifically, we'll offer 10 suggestions for how to implement direct mail in innovative and creative ways. To start, let's take a look at exactly what direct marketing and direct mail is.
What are direct marketing and direct mail?
Direct marketing is an assertive form of promotion in which a company reaches out directly to its target market. The point of these campaigns is to connect with consumers on an individual level, showing that they're important to the company.
One example of this is telemarketer calls. Some other types of direct marketing:
- Email marketing
- Direct mail marketing
- Direct-response advertising
- Face-to-face selling
- Text marketing
- Distributed leaflets & flyers
Our focus today is direct mail—where advertising content is sent directly to a target market's mailbox. The content could include letters, postcards, flyers, or anything mailed directly to a home or place of business.
Is direct mail still effective?
When you use direct mail correctly, it can be an extremely helpful tool in your advertising toolbox. You can "speak" directly to your audience and give them detailed information about your brand. In addition, you can easily track the success of a campaign.
However, you must practice care when you're conducting these campaigns.
If you do this incorrectly, consumers will view the content as "junk mail." Avoid this by providing consumers with content that is timely, relevant and important to them. You can also provide useful tools—for example, a coupon or promo code for your services.
How to use direct mail creatively
Now that we know what direct mail is and the benefits it can bring you, let's brainstorm a few ways to use it for your brand. Below, we've gathered 10 innovative ways that you can use direct mail for your business.
1. Deliver discounts
One common-sense choice for direct mail marketing is to send out info about discounts and specials. This could mean one of two things. First, you could send out direct mail when you have a sale coming up.
Second, you could send out coupons for your service that are exclusive to your direct mail campaign. This is a good way to measure response and ROI, because you'll know whenever a customer redeems the discount.
2. Send out samples
In addition to sending out discounts, you can send out samples to your customers. Of course, you should only do this if you have ample budget for the expense. It's probably not the best tactic to use for your first campaign, but after you've gotten a handle on typical response rates.
If you can swing it, samples are a great way to attract new customers who don't want to pay money to try out your product. In addition, if you have new products, samples are a great way to introduce current customers to your new products.
3. Offer reminders
Reminders are a cheap way to stay top-of-mind. You can send out reminders for upcoming events—for example, a realtor could announce an open house. You could also call attention to grand openings, deadlines or appointments. An example you're probably already familiar with is receiving a letter from your doctor or dentist about your yearly check-up.
4. Share announcements
You can also use direct mail to deliver company announcements. This keeps your customers up-to-date on new developments such as different hours, new contact info, new products and more.
5. Use QR codes
QR (quick response) codes are a great way to connect your mail campaigns to your digital marketing efforts. They're simple barcodes that are easy to print on a piece of mail and can be scanned by any smartphone.
One scan, and a QR code can be customized to take your customer anywhere you need. For example, you could design a QR code to take your customers to a specific landing page. Most people are familiar with QR codes these days, so their presence on your mail will be self-explanatory and easy to follow.
6. Add texture
When someone goes through their mail, the last thing you want is for yours to be immediately disregarded or tossed away as junk. One way to combat this is to make your mail more eye-catching than the rest.
There are a few ways to do this, but one of the easiest is to add some texture to your mail. For example, you can use embossed lettering to make it stand out when a customer grabs a handful of letters and newspapers.
7. Pop with 3D mailers
Using texture is a subtle way of differentiating your mail, but there is a more obvious way to set your mail apart. You can send out 3D mailers, such as a box or tube or any other 3D design. These will jump out to customers and spike their curiosity, prompting them to open your mail and take a look rather than just throwing it away.
8. Track personalized URLs
One way to track how well your direct mail is working is to use personalized URLs (PURLs). Like QR codes, they're a digital extension of your message. PURLs will lead your customers to your website in a way that leaves a trackable footprint. You'll easily be able to see how many of your customers responded to your direct mail campaign by checking the page's stats.
9. Try augmented reality
When people think of augmented reality today, they think about games like Pokémon GO. However, augmented reality does have a place outside of entertainment. In fact, you can incorporate the idea of augmented reality into your direct mailing.
Usually, this is done through the use of an app. For example, in 2015, Toys R Us used augmented reality techniques to create a game out of a piece of their direct mail.
10. Wow with video in-print
Finally, there are video in-print techniques. This is a cool idea because it eliminates the middlemen (apps, websites, etc.) by including a video player directly in the mail. Right now, these are a bit pricey—but keep an eye on them for the future.
When executed creatively, direct mail marketing can provide a huge boost to your promotions and brand awareness. Whether your goal is to be top-of-mind or to drive bottom-funnel sales, you can build a direct marketing campaign to match. By crafting professionally designed mailers, you'll attract your target audience and reinforce loyalty among your customers.