Big question! Just what kinds of products and services are promoted most effectively using direct mail? At AIIM we get asked this regularly. Our answer is:
The kind that would get a fantastic return on the investment from this highly targeted and engaging communication channel. After all, we want you to choose a marketing tactic based on its “aiimazing” outcomes.
We suggest to our clients that they add direct mail when they’re selling something that has one of the following:
- A one-time high-value sale
- A reasonably high-value recurring revenue stream
- A case can always be made for cross-selling or up-selling to existing customers because of the high response rate
If you are the person in your household who most often empties the mailbox, then you’ll know the kinds of things we’re talking about.
Here are some examples:
- One-time large purchases like:
- an automobile
- a home
- home improvements like windows or roofing
- Recurring services with a high lifetime value such as:
- fast food or meal delivery
- dental and eyewear
- banking & financial
Would you sell socks or health spa treatments with direct mail? Do they fit the requirements above?
Recently, a client asked whether direct mail would be a good fit for a spa. Initially, we thought that spa treatments were only a few hundred dollars and that clients may not return very often. But… we misunderstood this spa business. In this case, a spa membership was $400 per month, and is a wonderful recurring revenue model for high-end service and we could make a good case for using direct mail to help promote it. If an eCommerce company asked about selling low-priced socks with direct mail, we would have to point out that they don’t fit the model. But, a high-priced clothing line with a sock-club recurring revenue model would find direct mail to be a much more effective method.
The Most Powerful Direct Mail is directed to existing and lapsed customers. How? Why?
It’s important to mention how much more powerful direct mail is when you use it with an existing customer or a lapsed customer. These customers already know your brand, are familiar with what you offer, and you easily grab their attention when you talk to them. Compare the difference between sending a message out to a random group of people, or to a group of friends. In the second case, you will have more success getting your message across. We’ve all seen these messages. Here are some examples:
- Showing gratitude
- Marking a milestone in the relationship
- Cross-selling an alternate or complimentary service
- An upsell or upgrade to another that the client may enjoy
- Ask for a referral to a family member or friend who would also like this service at a discounted rate as an introductory offer
When you send direct mail to your existing customers, it can usually be enhanced because you know more about your customers than you would about another targeted individual. Without getting too technical, it’s all part of the customer data that you retain, and it can be as simple as their birthday. The good news is – you usually have their most updated address, some updated information about a service they bought, a product they recently looked at on the website, or an anniversary of their first purchase. It could even be their first purchase and you just want to celebrate it. When you use direct mail in these cases, it has a lot more power than the kind of direct mail you may associate with acquisition mailings that blanket large communities or large groups of vaguely targeted individuals. Those mailings have a place, and we will talk about that in a future post, but the value of one-to-one communication with your customers is multiplied many times because of the existing relationship. It pays off handsomely. Does your product or service fall into this category? If so, you should consider adding direct mail to your marketing mix. It performs best when it is part of a balanced, multi-channel marketing approach. Most successful direct marketing organizations coordinate social media, landing pages, e-mail blasts and even outdoor advertising when it is appropriate to tie in with direct mail.
95% Engagement Rate And Stays in the Home for Nearly A Month
Direct mail will often stay in the house for nearly a month, according to a recent study by the JICMAIL in the UK. If you add a QR code, it can drive traffic online just the way a social media post or a paid ad can send a potential buyer to a landing page. These are some of the important reasons that this channel consistently provides higher rates of engagement than nearly every other marketing channel. Of course, this power comes with a cost. We always recommend that you maximize your low-cost and low-engagement marketing efforts first so that you can get the most from them before you turn to direct mail. Direct mail can convert the harder-to-reach, those who have changed their e-mail address, have excellent spam filters and adblockers, or just do not have any more digital bandwidth to engage with the digital marketing you have created. That’s when putting something in their homes and hands will win.
Interested in more information on how direct mail can work in your sector? Fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you shortly.