Yes, advertising mail volume has decreased. Around 85 billion pieces are sent through the USPS yearly. However, consider that 167 billion emails are sent daily.
While the decreased mail volume is bad for the USPS, it’s a good sign for recipients and users, because it means better targeting is being employed. It means less clutter in the mailbox, thus your offering is more likely to be seen. It means you should use, or again consider using direct mail in your marketing mix.
Keep in mind, however, that mail works best in conjunction with a multi-channel strategy. Mail, like almost all marketing tactics, is less effective today as a single-channel, stand-alone option.
Every one of the dozens of digital campaigns my firm did last year that incorporated direct mail showed a nice spike in web and landing page traffic compared to running digital banner ads alone. It also helped boost conversions and lift ROI.
For 2015, here is a quick checklist to consider in your direct mail planning:
1. Understand your segments.
This means varying your copy to different segments based upon what your data indicates. You also need to treat your current customers and past customers differently than your prospect base. Your list is still the MOST critical factor to your direct mail success.
2. Integration is key.
When and how you use your direct mail in an integrated campaign is more critical today than ever before. When the timing is right, the results will reward you. Also consider mail as a multiple touch option.
3. What’s your offer?
Direct marketing is about getting a call-to-action right away. In order to elicit that response you need to create relevance to your segments. Offers create the relevance and give the target audiences a reason to respond. Have compelling offers.
4. Test, Test, Test
Testing has evolved. I prefer to test and prove what works in the digital portion of a campaign first, because you can get to that conclusion much faster, and use that intelligence to make the direct mail more effective, knowing what messaging/offers works with what segments, being more relevant with your direct mail from the onset.
5. The cheaper format is usually less effective.
The tendency is to look at direct mail as a cost rather than an investment. Therefore too many users try self-mailers and postcards when they should be using a classic direct mail package with a letter.
The targeted demographic will influence this decision for sure, but don’t rule out a package because it costs more. It usually tests through to provide a much greater ROI than cheaper printed options.
Use direct mail wisely and you will see it is still an effective, persuasive way to drive business to your company and help you out smart the competition.
Grant A. Johnson is the founder of Responsory, a Johnson Direct LLC Company. He can be reached at Grant.Johnson@johnsondirect.com