Getting Noticed with Direct Mail
Compelling mail pieces can make an impact and increase engagement
Sign up for The Key Point of View, our weekly newsletter of blogs and podcasts!
Modern marketers have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to reaching their desired audience members. Although direct mail is certainly not the only way to deliver a message, it can be a great way to get noticed—even in our digital world. Unfortunately, the process of standing out with direct mail communications is more complicated now than it was in the past. Merely sending a generic letter, package, brochure, or postcard to a large audience will not be enough to generate interest in your brand. Businesses that don’t understand how to create compelling pieces of direct mail are unlikely to reap the benefits that they can offer.
Breaking Through the Digital Clutter
One of the most critical elements of a successful direct mail program is starting with a clear vision of what you want to achieve. The obvious goal of any marketing campaign is to achieve brand awareness and gain market share—but there’s more to the equation. To be effective with direct mail, you must:
- Develop a solid understanding of who your ideal customers are
- Identify their communication preferences
- Meet your customers where they are
- Understand the things that influence their buying habits
Even in today’s digital age, direct mail remains one of the most popular forms of customer communications. When business respondents to Keypoint Intelligence’s most recent transactional communications research were asked about how important various channels would likely be to their future critical communications strategy, over 70% expected traditional direct mail to be “moderately” or “extremely” important.
|Importance of Direct Mail to Critical Communications Strategy|
There is no question that direct mail’s response rates have declined over the past few years, but it still gets noticed. In fact, data from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found the average response rate for direct mail is 4.4%—compared to a mere 0.12% for e-mail. This is likely because, in addition to being trusted, direct mail is the less cluttered channel. A well-executed direct mail campaign can break through the digital noise and engage the recipient, particularly if it is personalized to their needs and interests.
Segmenting for Success
By identifying subgroups within your targeted audience, you can deliver specially tailored direct mail messages that are more meaningful to recipients. Some popular categories for segmentation include age, gender, income, geographic location, and marital/parental status.
In the past, it might have been acceptable to use one message and one design for everyone on your mailing list. To be sure, this was (and still is) the cheapest and most efficient option. In today’s world, though, a “one size fits all” approach simply won’t cut it. Consumers expect the companies that they do business with to treat them as individuals, so marketers must respond in kind when developing their direct mail. Fortunately, the digital and inkjet presses on the market make it easy to create targeted direct mail pieces that are truly relevant to the recipient.
It should come as no surprise that personalized and relevant content can be a huge influence in prompting consumers to read their direct mail. For example, a mailer promoting a serene and relaxing vacation will likely fall flat for an active family that is seeking excitement and entertainment. It’s critical for today’s marketers to understand their customers’ and prospects’ individual preferences.
Keypoint Intelligence’s Opinion
Developing an effective and engaging direct mail campaign points directly back to strategy. A solid strategy requires an understanding of what your target audience wants, as well as the acknowledgement that different recipients will likely want different things. As a result, one of the first steps should be segmenting your audience based on known preferences. A personalized message will feel more authentic, and is therefore more likely to resonate with the recipient.
Even if your direct mail piece is a true work of art, it will fail to pay dividends if you haven’t already established an understanding of your ideal audience. Once you have developed this level of understanding, segment your images, messages, and approach to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. With today’s production inkjet presses, marketers have more opportunities than ever to reach their customers where they are and foster that all-important connection between the consumer and a brand.
Subscribers to Keypoint Intelligence’s Customer Communications Advisory Service can access additional information, including brand new research, on direct mail’s role in our digital world. If you’re not a subscriber, just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.