Direct mail marketing continues to be an effective way to influence consumer and business buying decisions. Given the digital information overload, a direct mail campaign provides balance and should be part of every marketing program. In order for a direct mail campaign to succeed, certain fundamentals need to be in place.
- Mailing list quality drives success in direct mail. Mailing information changes frequently; an out-of-date list results in a high percentage of undelivered mailings, and hence a low response rate. The best lists include known customers and prospects.
- A good campaign strategy is also a necessity. Mailing without a clear purpose — or mailing with too many purposes — confuses recipients and crushes response rates.
- The ability to measure success is the third pillar of an effective mailing. An example of accurate tracking: using a unique phone number for the mailing so that responses cannot be confused with phone inquiries from other sources.
Direct Mail Marketing Options
- An obvious advantage of postcards is low cost. However, a well-designed postcard with a strong offer is likely to be read (there is no envelope to open) and has high impact.
- Self-mailers. A self-mailer is a sheet of paper folded and secured to eliminate an envelope. Self-mailers are useful when your message is too detailed for a postcard.
- Short-form letters. Brief letters, when personalized — more on personalization in a minute — are effective in building an emotional connection and when it is necessary to provide more information and/or value than a postcard or self-mailer can convey.
- Long-form letters. Multi-page letters, often used for political and charitable fundraising campaigns, are effective for B2B and B2C as well. Long copy is persuasive for products or services that are new to the market or complex in nature.
- Updating current customers and prospects on company and industry news provides extra “touches,” builds your credibility and helps extend customer retention.
- Catalog mailing is an expensive option; something you are likely to work up to as your simpler direct mail campaigns gain traction. Catalogs are a proven winner, but require a whole business infrastructure in addition to a considerable mailing budget.
Direct Mail Postcards
Regardless of which option(s) you select, personalizing your mailing will give response rates a considerable boost. Variable data printing technologies enable direct mailers to not only insert the recipient’s name in the address and greeting, but also to match text and imagery to the recipient’s purchasing history and/or demographic information.
In B2B and B2C, each recipient wants to feel as though he/she were your only customer. Generic direct mail pieces addressed to RESIDENT or BUYER are usually discarded immediately. Unless you have an offer so amazing that cannot possibly be refused, make personalization a key component of your mailing design.
Mailing objectives can be separated into a few broad categories:
- Sales generation. The goal here is to obtain an order, schedule an appointment or reservation, or induce some other action that directly creates revenue.
- Lead generation. In B2B, a typical lead generation mailing asks for an appointment; in B2C, the purpose may be to get someone into a brick-and-mortar store or visit an online store.
- Customer retention. In addition to presenting special offers (all customers like getting a deal), mailings geared toward customer retention are often newsletters, updates on loyalty program status, and announcements of exclusive, customer-only buying opportunities or special services.
- Brand awareness. Brand awareness campaigns are especially helpful for products and services that are purchased infrequently, such as copy machines (B2B) or furnaces (B2C). Keeping your name out there leads buyers to think of you when the time comes for a purchase.
As just mentioned, repetition is another important factor in successful direct mail marketing. Be mindful to avoid too much repetition. Mailing once a month is a good rule of thumb; more frequent mailings tend to annoy recipients, which will have the effect of producing even lower response rates as time goes on.
Hang in there! If your first two or three mailings fail to garner a strong response, it’s far too early to get discouraged. Recipients may greet your initial mailings with skepticism, but after receiving several, they may begin to see you are a credible business with a serious business plan.
Sometimes the standard just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you require something more. At Day2Day Printing we are well aware of this and have kept the idea in mind while preparing our new site. With the launch this past week, we have decided to offer our clients that “something more”—Foil Stamped Silk Business Cards.
Silk Lam + Silver Foil
Silk lamination provides a smooth elegant feel to the cards, while foiling gives off a shine that’s hard to ignore. Notice how on image 1, the designer put foil stamping to good use by emphasizing a vital piece of information–his phone number.
Silk Lam + Gold Foil
Why invest so much into a business card you may ask? The answer is simple. Handing out cards like these shows that you care about presentation and makes a great first impression with new contacts. Attention to detail is big in any business, and implies a sense of professionalism. Image 2 showcases gold foil and how such a finishing can add a vividness and sense of elegance to the simplest design elements.
Not only does handing out a quality business card look good, but it also provides you with benefits that you may not even think about consciously. When things are organized, clean, high in quality, a sense of trustworthiness is subconsciously associated. There’s no doubt that handing out a high quality business card is effective in getting someone to trust and remember you. Trust us when we say: “A little customization goes a long way”.
With the online world seeming to increase in importance in the lives of many, marketing gurus tend to overlook tried-and-true forms of publicity–like placing ads in magazines. As we all know, print is a medium that is still alive and well. Although online publications do have their place, magazine presses are still rolling and marketing teams should take note of this fact.
Benefits of Advertising in Magazines
Print magazines have several benefits for advertisers that other forms of media cannot offer. A few of the more notable benefits include:
- Targeted audience. Magazines are specialty publications that cater to specific audiences. Whether targeted at teenage girls, golf enthusiasts, foodies, or any other group, chances are there is a publication reaching a target audience that perfectly suits your business. Advertising in such a magazine is an efficient way to ensure you reach the people who are already inclined to show an interest in your products and services.
- Wide distribution. Magazine subscriptions reach people across the country, are oftentimes shared between multiple people, and reach more than just subscribers in places like the doctor’s office waiting room.
- Long-lasting reach. Most people save and reread or repurpose old magazines, which means your advertisement will be seen again and again.
- Print ads are more highly respected. Readers are wary of clicking on ads online due to the chance of a virus infecting their computer or other such mishaps. However, print ads pose no such threat. Plus, the mere fact that your ad is printed on glossy paper makes your product seem far more legitimate. Magazine ads, especially full page spreads, are far less irritating and more visually appealing than advertisements that clutter online media.
How to Maximize Your Magazine Marketing
Whether or not you already advertise in magazines, the following tips are important to keep in mind when designing and placing your ad. Like in other areas of marketing, there is no perfect formula for your campaign, though there certainly are right and wrong ways to go about advertising your product.
These tips will help your strategy be more effective, no matter what your product is.
- Advertise in appropriate publications. The moral of the story is not that advertising in any magazine is good; you need to place your ads in the right magazines to see results. Each magazine has a target audience and a mission statement, so dig around to find publications that cater to your own target audience.
- Use headlines and sub-headlines appropriately. Headlines are meant to grab the reader’s attention while sub-headlines should give them more information. With only a quick scan, readers should be able to know your business’s name and what you are selling.
- Resolve to use only high resolution. Nothing looks tackier than a pixelated image, and any publication worth its salt will not run an ad that is not sufficiently high in resolution. Your ad should have at least 300 DPI (dots per inch)–regardless of the size the final print of the ad will be.
- Use images to enhance the ad, not hide it. If your ad is heavily image-based, you will have to be cautious about your work blending in with the rest of the magazine. Striking images or other effects are great for catching a reader’s attention, but make sure your choices are tasteful, align with the style of the magazine, and make it clear what you are selling.
- Test your ad in print before publication. Most designers know that you should make a professional-level print of an ad for final review before submitting it. Seeing the ad in print will give you an idea of how it looks in the three dimensional world and it will be easier to get feedback from others regarding the effectiveness of the ad on paper.
- Right is better than left. Psychological studies have shown that people tend to prefer options that are on their right as opposed to their left. Take advantage of this human peculiarity and make sure that the important information – like the business’s name and call to action – are aligned to the right. If you have the option to be printed on a right-hand page, this is an added bonus.
- Proofread your ad. This should go without saying that proofreading is essential; nothing destroys your credibility like a grammatical error. If you can’t pay attention to formalities in your advertisements, readers will doubt that you pay attention to quality in other aspects of business as well.
Advertising in magazines is a great marketing strategy that should not be overlooked in the digital age. Print is not dead, and neither are print advertisements.