We live in a world that is growing more digital by the day. To keep up, companies continue to invest heavily in digital advertising and marketing in an attempt to reach their user base. The advertisements you used to see when cracking open the newspaper in the morning now populate the websites you frequent to get information, or your Twitter and Facebook feeds. Advertisements are now everywhere on the internet, as companies desperately attempt to out-market their competitors. However, the rush to have the best online presence has obscured the fact that other viable marketing methods still exist. Take direct mail, for example.
You may think that with email, instant messaging and social media all providing ways to disseminate advertisements or information quite rapidly, direct mail marketing has been rendered obsolete or ineffective, but statistics paint a different picture. According to a 2017 survey, direct mail marketing has a median return on investment of 29%, as opposed to paid searches (median ROI of 23%) and online displays (median ROI of 16%). The United States Postal Service found that 60% of customers who received a catalog in the mail were influenced to visit that catalog's website. The USPS also noted that 81% of delivered mail is read by the person in a household who is in charge of reviewing financial documents.
The allure of the digital world may make it easy to overlook direct mail as a viable and profitable marketing strategy, but those statistics make it easy to see that overlooking it can hurt your business's growth.
To be fair, It can still be difficult to make your advertising campaign stand out amongst the clutter of a mailbox. Here are four different ways to ensure that your direct mail marketing campaign stands out from the rest, allowing you to successfully diversify your companies' marketing strategy and grow your business.
1. Pen machine addressing or hand addressing
A lot of advertising mail looks or feels impersonal, with your address printed in a generic typed font and generic statements covering the piece. Every piece of direct mail usually looks the exact same way! As a result, such advertisements often end up in the recycling bin right away, as recipients try to filter out pieces that don't appear to be personalized. That's why either pen machine addressing or hand addressing your mail can be a valuable strategy to increase the visibility of your advertisement, helping it stand out in a large stack of mail.
These methods are simple and exactly what they sound like – writing recipient addresses on the envelopes using Sharpies or pens, or even a pen machine – but remarkably effective. Hand-addressed mail adds a personal touch to advertising, making people pause before moving on to the next letter and generating a positive emotional response in potential customers. Recipients feel more valued and appreciated when they see a handwritten address. In fact, a hand or pen machine addressing your mail has been shown to increase response rates by over 30%.
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2. Post-it note mailing
Another fantastic way to enhance your advertising campaign is by using a Post-it note, one of America's most indispensable office tools. The method isn't tricky by any means: Simply attach a Post-it note containing a personalized message, website or phone number to your direct mail advertisement. As well as being part of your initial advertisement to each customer, the Post-it note can be kept for later, with the recipient putting it on a fridge or above a desk for future reference. This message on the Post-it note can also be hand addressed or pen addressed, maximizing the value and personalization toward the recipient.
Why are Post-its a valuable marketing tool? For one, they stand out by taking up space on an otherwise plain postcard or letter. The human brain is drawn to the note when first scanning the piece of mail. Post-it notes are also a great way to personalize your mailings, and, as we discussed above, personalization can greatly increase your response and open rates.
The numbers are in favor of using Post-it notes for your direct mail advertising campaigns. In fact, a 2015 survey demonstrated that attaching a personalized sticky note to a survey generated a response rate of 69%, while sending that very same survey out with no sticky notes led just 34% of recipients to fill it out and respond. That's just one example of how Post-it notes can improve your direct mail marketing campaigns.
3. Variable data printing
We've talked a lot about personalization and how it can positively affect your marketing campaigns. Variable data printing (VDP) is just another way to add a personal touch to your direct mail advertisements. VDP is a method of digital printing that utilizes existing data to customize different elements of an advertisement, such as greetings, images, URLs, text and graphics. This enables you to target each piece of mail you send out to the specific recipient, allowing for a unique level of personalization that can grab each customer's attention.
Giving your messages a personal touch resonates with a vast majority of customers. Studies say that around 80% of customers enjoy it when retailers or other businesses personalize suggestions or advertisements. Additional research has shown that personalized mail pieces have a response rate of 6%, while a generic piece generates a response rate of just 2%.
For instance, let's say you own an auto dealership and would like to generate brand awareness in neighboring communities. VDP can print messages like "Hey Joe, our exclusive truck offer" and "Hey Alyssa, check our newest models of SUVs," addressing each recipient by name and with different offers.
4. Scratch-off mailing
If you want another underused way to get potential customers to engage with your direct mail advertisements, try scratch-off mailing. By putting a scratch-off box on your advertisement, you induce the customer to interact directly with your product. The extra seconds they spend scratching may cause them to remember your product, contact information or company more clearly. Under the scratch-off material, enclose a coupon, discount code or subscription link to get them to take the next step toward choosing the products you are advertising.
Research has shown that scratch-off mailing is a good way to increase your ROI and response rates, and you can even combine scratch-offs with VDP to add a more personal touch to your direct mail marketing campaign.
Bottom line on direct mail marketing methods
People may still claim that direct mail marketing is not effective, but it continues to be an effective way to generate responses to advertising. Direct mail advertising is also a valuable avenue for businesses to diversify their marketing strategy and expand into other marketing channels. Of course, the above methods are just four of many ways to help your direct mail marketing campaign succeed. There are countless ways to tap into the potential that direct mail advertising provides.
As an expert in the direct mail industry for over 30 years, I believe direct mail is an efficient marketing opportunity that most companies should take full advantage of. It is important to remember that direct mail marketing is still competitive, and every mailing campaign should make an effort to be different and stand out in a mailbox. Small differences go a long way in direct mail. Thankfully, there are direct mail companies that will walk you through your first successful direct mail campaign and offer unique mailing solutions. You could get ahead of your competitors by starting a direct mail campaign today.