Direct mail marketing is still a crucial component of comprehensive branding initiatives, as so many consumers continue to respond well to business correspondence sent through this medium. However, it would be misleading to suggest that the best practices and potential utilities of direct mail marketing campaigns are still the same as they always were. The demands and preferences involved have transformed significantly thanks in large part to the digital revolution.
Rather, businesses that maintain the same approaches to these campaigns will not be all that likely to see significant improvements in their bottom lines over time. Several themes have gained some traction in the branding community throughout the past several years. but unification and centralization might be among the most important regarding the best practices of putting forth a consistent and desirable image among prospects.
Convergence of digital and traditional marketing has been rolling along in the right direction for several years, and many businesses are likely to find that the tools work better together than when a piecemeal approach is taken. This is somewhat of a situation in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and makes sense when considering that different customers will respond well to varying modes of marketing communication.
Restaurants, retailers, real estate agents, mortgage professionals and others have been far more engaged in the use of direct mail marketing in concert with digital mediums to gain the highest level of visibility and either convert or retain valuable clientele. So long as each specific channel is being taken care of properly, bringing together the various endeavors into one unified and centralized brand initiative will be a relatively straightforward affair.
Changing with the times
Direct mail marketing needs to be approached in a modern fashion to have the preferred impact on brand image, and this begins with selecting spots wisely, such as knowing when this medium will work best. Restaurants will often turn to mailings more often than others to get the word out about new deals, concoctions and otherwise, and this might be better served further ahead of events and releases, then supported by social media endeavors as the days of action arrive.
Plenty of restaurants have recognized the merits of social media when promoting their food, most notably having a presence on Instagram and Pinterest. LA Weekly recently reported that many restaurant owners in Los Angeles are beginning to craft strategies to ensure that all the happy customers taking pictures of their food and publishing on their Instagram accounts are being put to work in a branding initiative.
This has also impacted the ways in which direct mail marketing strategies are playing out among certain establishments in the city.
“We would typically mail anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million menus a quarter, and we focused on the neighborhood surrounding the restaurant, because that was your target market,” Bill Chait, restaurateur of the Sprout Restaurant Group, told the news provider. “Obviously with social media, by definition, you are talking to people who are not geographically concentrated.”
So, while direct mail is better to generate visibility in a more localized fashion, social media can be used to reach tourists and others who might just be passing through.
Direct mail marketing tips
National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently published a piece on several best practices that have been taking form in the industry when it comes to direct mail marketing campaigns, and this included suggestions to target in a more acute fashion and commit to sustainable strategies rather than one-offs. For the former, the source implied that leveraging the support for a mail list provider can help to strengthen the effectiveness of audience targeting in these endeavors, and that analysis of prior success and failure should be a priority.
This is another way in which the digital and traditional have become a bit more intertwined in recent years, in that companies need to leverage management and analysis solutions to get a tighter, quicker hold on how each strategy is playing out. According to the news provider, the other piece of this puzzle is focusing on the long-term rather than gauging the entirety of a campaign off of just one mailing, affirming that some consumers will not really respond in the desired fashion until the third or fourth letter is received.
Sticking with it and trying to craft a more flexible program that ensures each mailing is effective but also acts as part of a larger strategy might have the strongest impact when looking at how the entire list of recipients reacted. Remember, these programs can be highly advantageous so long as the firm is taking the right steps to see them through from an analysis and refinement standpoint, while melding the mailing campaign with social media endeavors can take performance to the next level.