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The Green Sheet Online Edition

February 27, 2017 • Issue 17:02:02


Direct mail dinosaur or diamond?

When was the last time you sent a mailer to your customers or prospects? In this age of social media marketing, Google ads, targeted text messages and apps galore, some folks have dropped direct mail as a marketing tool. After all, with today's technology providing ways to reach large numbers of potential customers for free, or almost free, isn't direct mail now a dinosaur?

According to Lewis Gersh, Chief Executive Officer of integrated marketing firm PebblePost, the answer is no. "Believe it or not, print as a medium is making a comeback, one that's becoming increasingly necessary for any digital marketing campaign." That's right. He said old-fashioned mail has a place in "digital" marketing.

Gersh cited research from Compu-mail.com that found almost two times as many respondents react positively to receiving mail than negatively. He added that direct mail, can also provide a personal touch other means cannot easily replicate.

"What marketers got away from in the rapid growth of the digital era is the need to serve the whole marketing breakfast ‒ i.e., the ability to understand who wants their eggs over easy and who opts for oatmeal," he wrote. "This means marketers need to bring their digital, data-driven approach to all marketing efforts, combining the best of digital with more traditional forms of advertising, like television, print, radio and direct mail."

Doing it right

For those seeking to meld direct mail into newer options, long-standing best practices for direct mail still apply. In Good Selling!TM: The Basics, Paul H. Green offered six tips to help folks do just that:

  • Keep the package simple. Use concise copy and a simple design. Lengthy copy may include information that discourages the prospect from responding. A busy layout may cause the reader to focus on the design, not the service you are trying to sell.
  • Make strong offers and state them upfront. Let the prospect know how he or she will benefit from this offer. State the offer boldly so the reader can't miss it.
  • Use a design that motivates the reader to act. Bold colors, such as red, green and blue, will attract attention. Avoid pastel, muted colors and soft designs that pacify the reader.
  • Don't try to accomplish too much with one piece. Too many objectives will distract the reader. You will enjoy a higher response rate if you concentrate on just one goal.
  • Write copy that motivates your readers to act. Sell the idea of success and a better future. Use positive words, such as "free," "value" and "save," that instill confidence in your product. Avoid negative words such as "cost" and "pay."
  • Don't try to appeal to everyone. Your package will lose its focus and then you will appeal to no one.

In an Aug. 4, 2015, article in Entrepreneur magazine, Mike Tinz stated the response rate for email is only 0.12 percent, while direct mail's is 3.4 percent, so it makes sense to integrate direct mail into digital marketing strategies. One way to do this is to digitize print efforts by using a QR code to direct customers to a landing page, social campaign or video, or embed traceable links that will allow your team to capture rich user information like location, demographics, referrals and conversions.

In marketing, as with many other endeavors, it pays to mix the old with the new. end of article

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