3 real-life lessons for direct mail marketers

Direct mail marketing is far from being the most widely discussed, cutting-edge form of advertising today, but it is certainly still an effective medium through which businesses can gain visibility and improve conversion rates. Although some might think that the only consumers who would still be interested in receiving ads in the mail would hail from older generations, research shows that millennials and others will sometimes engage with United States Post office fun factsthese materials as well.

It is worth mentioning that certain industries will simply be better-suited to direct mail marketing campaigns than others, as real estate, retail, restaurants, fitness centers and grocery stores tend to be at once the most active and successful in these endeavors. However, that does not mean that other firms cannot get in on the action as well, and can actually learn a lot from the successes of their counterparts in other industries to ensure that their campaigns are aligned with best practices and set up to have high returns on investment.

One of the more prominent themes in the advanced direct mail marketing arena that has sprouted up in the past few years is the growing prevalence of convergence within overall branding initiatives. This sometimes translates to marketers using advanced intelligence technologies to inform their decision-making for traditional advertising mediums like direct mail, and other times will entail the integration of content between physical letters and digital efforts such as social media and email.

At the end of the day, all businesses can benefit from a direct mail marketing campaign so long as they get the general best practices of the campaign right from the start and focus on continually improving as more insights are gathered down the road. Here are three lessons for direct mail marketers to digest and use for their own strategies:

1. Incorporating intelligence

Inman recently reported that real estate companies are increasingly leveraging predictive analytics solutions to better inform their direct mail marketing campaign, and many have seen immense success as a result. Remember, real estate is among the most active industries in this particular form of marketing, which means that companies therein are more likely to begin using advanced technologies to take their performances to the next level.

According to the news provider, these modern intelligence solutions that are so popular in the digital advertising arena are mostly being used to strengthen the outcomes of each direct mail marketing campaign while simultaneously lowering the total expenditures needed to get the job done. The source did point out that while a research study from the National Association of Realtors revealed 92 percent of home buyers are turning to digital platforms in their searches, direct mail is still a necessary and profitable pursuit.

Analytics will reveal more targeted insights for each prospect that will be receiving the mail, and will also illustrate which individuals might not be all that financially advantageous to send to. This brings us to our next lesson.

2. Enhanced direct mail targeting

Trib Live explained that retail giant GNC has worked to become a bit more focused upon targeting in its direct mail marketing campaign, and has gone above and beyond what many would believe to be possible in these endeavors. According to the source, the firm tends to send out its eight-page catalogs to roughly 1 million of its 7 million Gold Card members each year, and decided to personalize every single one in 2015’s iteration of the mailing.

Now, smaller businesses might think that this is a fool’s errand given their budget and general understanding of the technologies involved in making an effort such as this one possible, but the solutions are becoming more affordable and commoditized as the days pass. Trib Live affirmed that GNC used enhanced data collection tactics to better understand the shopping behaviors of its clientele, then put those insights into action by personalizing catalogs through advanced segmentation.

Targeting is becoming one of the more crucial aspects of direct mail marketing, especially when it comes to optimizing the efficiency of the program. While GNC’s strategy was effective, it’s not the only option, and others have taken a different approach to these matters.

3. Local direct mail for the win

Allvoices recently reported that “hyperlocal” direct mail marketing campaigns are becoming a common pursuit of grocery stores and other food retailers due to unique need for more communal efforts in community-based, mom-and-pop shops. Localization has actually been a major trend in digital marketing efforts for years now, specifically when it comes to mobile advertising campaigns, and the tenets of the strategy remain somewhat consistent when moving into the direct mail category.

The news provider pointed to the Great Basin Community Food Co-Op’s latest successes in these areas of branding and marketing.

“We were working on a new plan for the co-op,” Steve Cook, the leader in charge of the direct mail marketing campaign, told Allvoices. “The mailer seemed like a really good idea mainly because being a grocery store we serve a certain area, so it made sense for us to target the local area. It was all about targeting people within a mile of the store and direct mail was an easy way to do that.”

The lesson contained in this particular program was the generation of engaging content that was included in the mailings. According to the source, the co-op worked to showcase its commitment to working with local businesses and play to the preferences of customers who are interested in social and environmental responsibility. Suffice it to say that the campaign was a success.

Closing thoughts
Now, while some of the aforementioned lessons might still take some time to really incorporate into your direct mail marketing campaign, it is never too early to begin thinking outside of the box and dreaming up more effective measures to reach prospects and convert them through this medium. Remember, when in doubt, always consider leveraging the support and services of a firm that specializes in direct mail marketing and other branding campaigns.

It will always be better to put a bit more time, effort, patience and budget to get the ads right the first time around than jumping the gun and turning recipients off from the brand.

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