Advertising Solutions through Direct Mail
Just What Is Direct Mail?
Direct marketing refers to advertising efforts that serve the purpose of directly speaking to targeted consumers. The thing about direct mail is that it should not be limited to plain old letters, as there are different kinds of advertising media that companies can send via snail mail.
There are different types of direct marketing efforts, but almost all serve to achieve one purpose – and that is to generate a direct client response. A common form used these days is direct mail. What this consists of are traditional printed media, promotional items from letters to catalogues, which are sent to targeted consumers in the mail.
Depending on the brand, direct mail can be targeted towards individual consumers or clusters like companies or businesses. Aside from targeting specific audiences, there are times when companies will target entire locales.
And although some refer to it as bulk mail sending, there are times when a business may consider sending direct mail in smaller quantities. It really depends on the objectives that the company wishes to achieve through this marketing method.
What Are Some Other Terms for “Direct Mail”?
Just like there are different kinds of direct mail that companies can send out to the consumer groups that they are interested in tapping, there are also different labels that people associate with this form of marketing. Here are some of the most common terms used to refer to direct mail efforts:
• Advertising Mail
Simply put, advertising mail is comprised of any promotional piece, letter, coupon, or even merchandise that has been sent by a company through the mail in the hopes of a product being considered by a targeted consumer.
Mailshot is different in the sense that it is a form of promotional material, but serves the purpose of raising awareness for charities and non-profit organizations. Usually, it involves the solicitation of funds and is sent out in bulk.
• Ad Mail
Ad mail is pretty much like advertising mail, just shortened in terminology.
• Junk Mail
Junk mail on the other hand carries a negative connotation, as it often refers to the type of mail that most people would prefer not to receive. Usually, these are not even opened and immediately chucked out.
How Effective Are Direct Mail Campaigns?
Direct mail campaigns can be quite effective, especially if they have been written well. It’s also important that these are not just sent out without adequate targeting. It’s an excellent marketing option for businesses too, because sending such promotional mail in bulk is cheaper compared to sending mail individually or in smaller quantities.
There are some businesses that might think that direct mail no longer has a place in today’s modern technological society, but this is not the case. These days, it can serve as an excellent complement to any online marketing campaign.
As consumers are blasted with digital ads day in and day out, most of them have developed disdain for these, and so continuously block ads online. And then there are those who don’t even recall online ads, as much as the online space is saturated with thousands of them.
With the printed materials, consumers have something they can touch, take a second to read, consider, and recall. They can also read these without any time limitations, making for better consideration.
Direct Mail Marketing Advantages
There’s a reason why direct marketing efforts continue to prevail despite today’s modern marketing space. Here are some of the advantages businesses enjoy when they complement their digital efforts with traditional ones, like sending promotional materials via US mail:
• Low Levels of Competition
You may have your competitors, but not all of them will be sending direct mail out. If they do, not all targets will view their material.
Online, there are thousands of ads vying for the same consumers. Also, these get an average of 1 to 3 seconds glance time if there are no ad blockers. This kind of saturation doesn’t exist with direct mail these days.
It’s pretty cheap to send direct mail, especially when done in bulk, so it’s cost-efficient for advertisers to utilize this marketing method.
• Extended Shelf Life
Digital ads have limited lives. Tangible direct mail can last for years.
• You Can Choose Your Target Audience
Digital ads can be targeted, but it’s still broader compared to the possibility of individual targeting for direct mail.
• Easy to Test and Measure
Businesses can send out test batches and check for effectiveness.
• Split Testing
Again, businesses can specifically target recipients for testing.
The U.S. Post Office and Direct Mail
USPS offers businesses special rates for domestic and international shipments. They even have a bulk rate available for businesses, but the companies must sort their parcels by zip code first.
The rates for shipment tend to differ from month to month, and so it would be best if you checked the USPS website for the updated prices. But when it comes to bulk business direct mail, you’ll notice that prices per piece, per shipment, ends up being around 25% cheaper making it a really good rate as compared to first class mail.
What Are Some Uses For Direct Mail Marketing?
The beauty of direct mail marketing is that it’s not limited in its potential uses. Here are some of the most common purposes satisfied by this traditional marketing method:
• Direct mail advertising campaign
Direct mail is an excellent method for marketing, may it be for B2C (Business-to-Consumer) or B2B (Business-to-Business) needs. This is because materials and messages can easily be tailored to suit the specific categories.
• Political usage
Campaign materials can also be distributed via direct mail. The great thing about this, is that campaign runners need not waste materials, since every recipient has been specifically targeted. It’s easier to reach people who have higher inclinations to support a particular candidate.
• Direct mail fundraising for nonprofit organizations
For better consideration, non-profits and charitable institutions can also send out flyers and the like through the mail. Recipients have more time to look over the material and make informed decisions on whether or not to share their support. Also, the organizations can include pre-addressed envelopes and the like.
What Is “Every Door Direct Mail” (EDDM)
EDDM stands for Every Door Direct Mail. It’s the kind of direct mail service that allows businesses to target specific audiences, but do so without burning a hole in their wallet. It’s affordable, but lets you target audiences not only by location, but also using demographics such as age, household size, and even annual income.
Offered by the United States Postal Service, there’s a specific mapping tool that can be accessed online. Herewith, a business can choose a particular zip code and delivery route that will help it identify the best potential audience to reach out to. Basically, mail will be delivered to every household in this particular area.
Especially for smaller businesses that need an extra marketing push, what you have here is a viable option to try, as the costs are reasonable and highly justifiable. And the best part is that the service is quite easy to avail of, and the online mapping tool extremely user-friendly.
What Is “Saturation Direct Mail”?
Saturation mail refers to the tactic of selecting a specific area and targeting all households in that local. The difference with other mailing options, is that there usually is a low rate for postage that comes with saturation mail services, for as long as businesses send out mail in bulk.
The catch is that a company needs to apply for a permit and pay an annual fee to be able to avail of this type of service. It will also be helpful if companies can get their hands on an actual walk sequence list, showing them the areas postmen travel to per zip code.
Businesses also have to abide by a strict rule for them to qualify for the discounted postage rates that saturation mailing comes with. Basically, per route, a business needs to send out mail to 90% of all residences in that route, or 75% of the combined residential and business addresses within the selected area.
What Are Some Types Of Direct Mail Media?
There are different types of direct mail that companies can send out to their potential consumers. Here are some of the most popular options:
Postcards deliver messages quickly, and they are easy to read as there is nothing to open.
If companies have several products that they want to advertise, one of the best methods to do so is by utilizing a catalog, which can be classified brand by brand.
For quick momentary announcements or vouchers, flyers can be really effective. The issue with this is that they are often ignored if they don’t get the attention of readers in the first 5 seconds.
This is one of the most time-consuming to develop, but when done right companies can have the best marketing material ever. Businesses can combine informational pieces with ads, and present it in such a way that will entice readers or potential consumers.
This is an excellent type of direct mail for communication by charitable institutions, with enclosed return envelopes.
What you have here are mail pieces that the target consumer actually requests to be mailed to them.
Why Is Postcard Marketing So Effective?
Postcard marketing is quite popular these days, because it makes for some of the most effective direct mail marketing possible. Postcards are usually created to carry a beautiful image so design-wise, businesses are already enticing their potential consumers to have a look at the material. Technically, the battle is half-won at this point.
Next, there’s nothing that needs to be opened when a business utilizes postcards. The minute the recipient grabs ahold of it, there really is no option not to see it at first glance. With the average attention span for ads being 15 seconds or so, businesses will have already capitalized on this window.
Finally, you have the fact that postcards have been designed to carry short and snappy messages. On the part of the business, they can be direct as to the message they want to convey. It can be a call to action or an offer. For the recipient, they don’t have to go through a ton of material to get the message, and so the chances of them reading the communication are rather high.
Targeted Mailing Lists
Companies that want to capitalize on direct mail need to familiarize themselves with targeted mailing lists. Here are some things to consider:
• What are mailing lists?
Essentially, these are lists of people that can potentially be targeted by brands for their marketing efforts. The list includes names, addresses, phone numbers, and other pertinent information collected through a variety of ways.
• What is “targeting”?
Targeting simply means selecting specific people, or groups of people, because they fit the demographic of that a brand wants to tap into, and potentially convert into paying customers.
• Targeting by demographic
These days, consumers can be targeted using a variety of parameters from gender, age, nationality, preferences, and so on and so forth.
• Percentage deliverability
This pertains to a certain percentage of the mailing list that a business’ marketing materials will actually reach.
• Where can you get mailing lists?
There are different ways to get updated mailing lists. There are mailing list companies that can be tapped. Sometimes, direct mail service agents have lists of their own to provide to their clients.
What Is a Typical Response Rate? Conversion Rate?
When digital marketing was just starting, response and conversion rates dropped for traditional mail. But as digital markets and the online space became oversaturated with ads that people ended up blocking, these figures rose once more.
These days, direct mail sent to residences carry a minimum response rate of 5.3%. When specific prospects are addressed, the minimum rate is 3%.
And when it comes to conversion rates, the industry average minimum for direct mail is at 33%.
Based on studies, the usual return on investment for traditional mail marketing is at 122% which is really attractive, especially for smaller companies that have smaller ad budgets to work with.
Types of Direct Mail Related Services Available
There are different kinds of services that businesses can avail of when they decide to go with direct mailing efforts. Here are some of the most popular ones:
• Marketing advice
There are companies that go the extra mile and help clients develop the right direct mailing strategies, so that businesses can make the most of their advertising efforts.
• Designing mailing pieces
If there’s a need for graphic design and collateral development, direct mailing companies may also provide such services to interested clients.
• Creating Printed materials
Some companies also help businesses by managing their printing needs. They will handle everything from the paper to the ink and packaging, making sure everything looks just right.
• Supplying mailing lists
Manual mailing lists are pretty much like email lists today. There are companies that offer these lists to companies, per area, so that they can better target their consumers through traditional mail.
Companies can actually pay professionals just to handle all mailing requirements on their behalf, from sorting to coordinating with couriers.
What Should You Look For in a Direct Mail Company?
It’s ideal that you work with professionals when it comes to any promotional effort, as doing so will have a more positive impact on the results that you get for your campaign. When it comes to a direct mail company for example, you need to see to it that the pros you will be working with can assist you with different needs. Here are some of them:
• Help planning the mailing campaign
You cannot just send out any old letter. Your marketing material needs to present valuable and enticing information, focused on addressing a specific objective.
• Full services, including design, printing, and mailing
It will be advantageous if you find a company that can also provide you with other services, from creating an appealing design, to actually sending out your mailers to potential clients.
• Fast turnaround time
Time is also of the essence, so you want to work with someone who can deliver your required materials in a reasonable amount of time, especially if you’re working on seasonal content.
• Reliable quotes
Quality is important, but prices are too, so work with a company that charges reasonable rates for their services; not something too high or low.