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Direct Mail Marketing Is far from Dead – Just Do it Right

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I recently had a discussion with one of my friends that focuses on traditional marketing channels. He acknowledges the benefits of social media and other inbound marketing strategies, but reports that direct mail marketing is still an extremely effective way for brands to reach their customers.  However, the approach to traditional marketing has clearly changed over the years. He told me that more companies need to update their strategy if they want to get results.

Direct Mail Marketing Won’t Die Anytime Soon

The benefits of digital marketing are obvious. Reaching customers through inbound marketing channels is cost-effective, extremely scalable, and it is easy to track results. However, there are plenty of benefits of using direct mail marketing as well.

Even Kissmetrics, an inbound marketing solution, acknowledges that direct marketing is still an invaluable way to reach customers in the digital age. Brands shouldn’t stop investing in direct mail marketing simply because digital marketing has taken off.

In September, Suzanne Vranica and Jack Marshall published an article on the Wall Street Journal discussing some of the challenges with digital marketing:

  • Growth in the digital marketing sector is only about half what experts originally predicted.
  • The market is saturated with low-quality content, which is hurting trust and conversions, even for the brands that put in the effort to deliver quality.

These problems aren’t likely to go away anytime soon. Fortunately, direct-mail marketing fills the void. While people used to be very annoyed with the junk mail they received in their mailboxes, they have recently become much more receptive to it. They don’t get nearly as much junk mail, so the messages they do receive stand out.

In essence, we have basically gone full-circle. Demand for digital marketing has grown so fast that is had to contract a bit, which has revitalized demand for direct mail advertisers.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that direct mail marketing is a surefire way to reach customers. You still need to invest the time and resources to:

  • Identify potential customers
  • Find an effective message
  • Create valuable content to reach them
  • Distribute literature to  interested recipients

Here are some things to keep in mind when engaging in direct marketing:

  • Digital marketing should be a complement, not a substitute to direct mail advertising. Too many advertisers have a very fragmented approach to marketing. However, you can be much more successful by using digital media to generate leads and direct mail advertising to reach them.
  • Be straightforward with benefits. Web viewers are very impatient, so you only have a couple of seconds to reach them. You have a little more space to convey your message with direct mail. However, this doesn’t mean that you should ramble incessantly. You need to be very clear with your message. Deanna Willsey emphasizes the need to identify your key selling points right away and incorporate them into your literature.
  • Test different messages with different markets. One of the great things with digital advertising is that you can easily track performance of every variable with a detailed analytics platform. You don’t have the same options with direct mail advertising, but you can still test your campaigns. The best approach is to break your list into different subgroups and send a unique message to each. Make sure that your subgroups aren’t divided up according to any demographic, because that can bias your testing.
  • Have a great design with a clear call to action. This is just as important with direct mail as digital advertising.

There are a lot of things that you need to keep in mind while running a direct mail advertising campaign. However, if you do it properly, you can stand out from all the marketers that are avoiding this channel and only engaging in digital marketing.

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