For many small businesses, especially those who target local customers, direct mail is still a viable, effective way to grow your business. If your small business relies on direct mail but you’re looking for a few fresh ideas, or if you’re considering starting a direct mail campaign, here are a few direct mail ideas for small business owners that you should consider.

Is direct mail still an effective marketing tactic?

marketingThe short answer is yes! In 2016, The Data & Marketing Association reported that the direct mail customer response rate increased by 43%. Even better, the prospect response rate increased by 190% compared to 2015. According to Epsilon, 77% of people open their mail as soon as they receive it. Data from the Direct Mail Association (DMA) showed that two-thirds of people have bought something because of a direct mail piece. If your target audience leans a bit older, the numbers are even more intriguing. Only 59% of people between ages 65 and 69 own a smartphone. That percentage decreases all the way to 17% as the age increases. Regardless, direct mail reaches everyone, the young and the old alike. It’s definitely worth considering and the tips below can help it be even more effective.

Make it easy to skim

We’ve all done it: opening our mail over a wastebasket so we can quickly discard what it’s relevant. Make it easy and quick for people to understand what your marketing piece is about and provide an engaging reason for them not to file it in the circular file! That could be an offer, a coupon, a list, a calendar, a recipe…. whatever it is, make the piece worth keeping and make it easy to understand its value.

Make the contents intriguing

unknownGetting a typical letter in a typical envelope is, well, typical. If you want your content piece to stand out, try using an oversized envelope or make it “lumpy” by including something that keeps the envelope from being flat and boring. Mailers with a lumpy object inside of the envelope have a near 100 percent open rate. People are curious about what’s inside, and the curiosity gets them to open it. The allure of the unknown. Vary the envelope color can be intriguing too. Be different to catch their attention!

Make the offer about the reader, not your company

Whether you’re sending a letter or a postcard, make the piece about the potential customer, not about you. Don’t list that you’re the best, the oldest, the cheapest, or whatever; talk about how your company can solve their problems. Talk about their pain points then tell them how you can fix these pains. To keep a reader’s attention, the offer must resonate with them personally. It’s important to know your audience to really nail their pain points.

Make it easy to contact you

contact usGive people various ways to contact you: your phone number, email, and your website should all be listed. Very few people will pick up the phone if this is the first, they’ve heard of you. While some will email, they may be remiss to share their email address with you just yet. Websites are always a great way for people to learn more about you and what you offer beyond what your mailing piece might provide. Provide all three to cover your bases!

Have a strong call to action

For the short time you have a reader’s attention, give them a reason to contact you sooner rather than later. It could be a limited-time offer, a coupon, a freebie, or whatever; everyone suffers from a bit of FOMO so play on that with your direct mail piece.

Entice them to open the envelope

couponEver get a mailer and don’t even open it to read it because you know it’s marketing? Pique their curiosity by adding messaging on the envelope itself like, “open immediately. FREE offer” or “You don’t want to miss out on this deal!”. Make it applicable to your company’s offering and the reader without being over-salesy.

Believe it or not, the expansion of digital marketing has only enhanced the return on investment for direct mail campaigns. People are bombarded with messaging all day every day online. Getting a piece of mail is now unique. Give it a try and see how it can help your small business grow!


Patty Hughes
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