5 ways integrating direct mail into your marketing can help you stand out

In an increasingly digitalized world, the printing industry has been in a constant state of flux, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon direct mail as a core feature of your marketing campaign. In fact, the opposite may be true – since most businesses spend the majority of their marketing budget on digital components, you can buck the trend by producing printed content that enables you to stand out in the eye of the consumer.

With a clear and effective integrated strategy that features continuity across various types of media, small businesses can establish their brand as memorable among their audiences. In fact, Entrepreneur contributor Mike Tinz reported that direct mail has a response rate of 3.4 percent, which is far higher than email’s 0.12 percent. Here are several tips to consider when developing a well-rounded, multimedia marketing campaign:

Even Amazon uses direct mail marketing
There’s almost nothing interesting about the fact that Amazon uses a well-established marketing technique, it’d be more interesting if they didn’t. Everyone uses direct mail, it’s not about doing it, it’s about doing it better.

1. Understand your audience

Business 2 Community contributor Mike Ryan pointed out that most businesses have a wide variety of clients, many of whom have differing interests and values. For this reason, it is important to identify the audience you are targeting. Appealing to specific interests that current or potential clients can identify with is a good way to build positive relationships, which is an integral component to marketing according to Tinz. Personalization is everything when it comes to direct mail, and Tinz said companies should distribute content based on various demographic factors – age, location, etc. – and purchase patterns.

2. Make sure your team is working together

Marketing often consists of many different areas – Tinz noted that public relations, advertising, social media and content production for a single campaign often occur within different departments. He suggested that each of these teams should collaborate frequently in order to convey a coherent and consistent message across each different marketing platform. Meetings and conference calls should happen regularly to ensure that everyone is aware of current and future projects, as well as any crossover initiatives that require input from more than one department.

3. Get creative to maximize impact

Ryan lamented that too many marketers opt for generic, bland mailings that are not visually appealing and may actually do the business producing them a disservice. The whole point of direct mail is to engage on a more visceral level with consumers and to stand out from the crowded digital marketing sphere. Ryan asserted that you should be aiming to reflect the personality of your organization in your marketing materials. He offered some suggestions as far as creative ways you can make your content more appealing, such as a captivating headline, appealing layout and color schemes, succinct – but informative – text, photos to add to the story and, of course, company information like your website URL or social media handles. Each of these can help establish brand resonance with your audience, and the goal is to grab their attention and get them to seek further details about your business’ offerings.

4. Use QR codes to drive Web traffic

Tinz advised that print content should steer its recipients toward your company’s online presence. He admitted that direct mail can be somewhat limited at times – consumers cannot make purchases by clicking a URL printed on a postcard – but if you utilize this tool, it can make a big impact. One way to accomplish this is to include QR codes, he said, which can be scanned by smart device users and will lead them directly to your online content. This is a great way to generate interest in promotional offers, since QR codes can bring consumers directly to a specific page. You can also include URLs for your website and social media accounts, so that the audience can more easily access further information about your organization.

5. ROI is everything – track and evaluate your Direct mail response rates

Tinz also recommended embedding traceable links into your print materials, which can provide you with important customer data and help to track the effectiveness of a campaign. The use of analytics is supremely important for measuring ROI on a marketing initiative. Ryan pointed out that the goal of an effective marketing strategy is not to simply garner responses – you should be aiming to turn those responses into sales. If you are seeing a very high response rate but a low proportion of actual transactions stemming from your marketing, then you should reassess the strategy immediately and focus on areas in which your campaign might be deficient.

Direct mail marketing can play an effective role as a part of a comprehensive and integrated initiative. Maintaining a consistent brand voice across multiple platforms is crucial, as is creating content that is attractive to and informational for consumers. Perhaps most importantly, marketers need to keep track of their ROI and other useful data pertaining to consumer behavior to maximize the impact of their campaigns.

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