Direct Mail Strategy: To Mail or Not to Mail
• Studies show direct mail is favorably received by young consumers because it's tangible-they keep and browse through catalogs; it's private-there's an advantage to NOT being able to forward it to everyone in someone else's address book; and it's secure-58 percent still prefer receiving and paying bills by mail.
• Use direct mail when your objective is to saturate a geographic area or radius with an appropriately personal and relevant message.
• Believe it or not, there are people who are more comfortable receiving and responding to direct mail than e-mail, even when they have e-mail addresses. For example, marketers of products and services for older seniors (75+), continue to use direct mail to generate leads and sales. These seniors are motivated readers that open and keep direct mail. NOTE: Don't assume that because you have e-mail addresses for any age group, e-mail is the preferred medium for hearing from you. Ask for their preferences, then test to make sure that what they say matches with how they respond.
• What do you do when tests confirm e-mail is the most cost-effective medium for marketing to your customers but you don't have e-mail addresses for your entire customer base? Direct mail is the answer. I recently wrote e-mail copy for a magazine renewal that outperformed the direct mail letter 4-to-1. However, publishers have e-mail addresses for only a fraction of their subscribers, so direct mail continues to play an important role in their renewal programs as they build their e-mail lists.
• Does your business model include "farming" or developing pretransaction relationships with prospects in a specific area? It's difficult to saturate or farm a ZIP code area using opt-in e-mail lists, so once again direct mail is your answer. That's why direct mail continues to be used by real estate agents, HVAC contractors and plumbers.