As a business owner, you have lots of marketing tools at your disposal. But which one is best for growing your business most effectively? There are so many methods to choose from.
Here are a few popular marketing tools businesses of all sizes can use:
- Direct mail
- Email marketing
- Digital marketing
- Print ads
So which one will be most effective for your business? The answer is, “It depends.” First, you’ll need to do a little research to determine which type of communications your customers and prospects will respond to.
Research your target
Start researching your target market by asking: “How do you prefer to be contacted?” Ask this question during each customer interaction. You may find that you need a combination of digital media and print marketing to maximize your reach.
How have customers responded in the past? Study your customer list carefully. If you’ve been collecting information, it’ll show that some buyers want to receive offers by mail. Pay special attention to those who responded to past direct mail campaigns, such as postcards announcing your events.
Define Your target market
Do you know anything else about your target market, such as:
- Their average age
- Where they live
Start with what you already know. Then add assumptions you can objectively test. For example, depending on your offer, you might select mature homeowners as your target and expect them to respond better to printed materials compared to digital media. Test different methods to determine which gets the best response, and keep on collecting information. Once you’ve narrowed down your target, chances are you’ll find that some prefer to receive direct mailers. These are the customers to select from your list for your direct mail campaign.
Now let’s take a look at the basic steps of planning a direct mail campaign to help grow your business.
Determine your budget and timelines
Before starting any project, you’ll want to ensure you have an approved budget and a schedule. When do you want to mail? How many direct mailers will be sent? Are there critical dates advertised, such as events or sale dates? You’ll need to plan ahead and get everyone on your direct mail team to buy into your timelines. This includes your copywriter, graphic designer, contact list manager, printer and mailer.
Decide on your offer
Next, think about your objectives and decide on the offer your target market is likely to respond to. Determine the benefits of your product or service and decide on a call to action, or what you want recipients to do. Should they:
- Visit you to get a free sample?
- Call you to register for an event?
- Redeem a coupon?
- Visit your website to participate?
How to design your direct mail package
Are you sending postcards or envelopes? What will go in the envelopes? A letter? A brochure? A coupon? Determine the components based on your campaign’s strategy. If this is an announcement or event to warm up your leads, try invitation postcards. If offering a discount, consider envelopes with a direct mail letter and coupon inside. Self-mailers are another option that eliminates the need for an envelope.
Be wary of how design affects postage
Whatever type of direct mailer you choose, you’ll need a description of each piece including sizes, colours, and any special shapes. Before your project starts, check with your distributor to ensure you’ve taken advantage of the best possible postage rates. The size, weight, dimensions and quantity can affect your costs, so make sure you don’t incur unnecessary postage. Have these details, plus your logo and images, at hand when you’re ready to start the design. It will all be needed for your graphic designer to create a piece of mail that shouts, “Open Me!”
Hire a direct mail copywriter
Before a copywriter can start creating a compelling direct mail letter, you’ll need to provide a briefing on the concept and tone of the communication. Make sure you provide lots of details, such as:
- What pieces will be mailed?
- What images will be used?
- What benefits do you offer?
- How is your product or service better than your competitors’?
- What’s the offer? Is there a discount coupon?
- Can you set a deadline to create a sense of urgency?
Sure you could write your own letter. But an experienced direct mail copywriter has the skill and knowledge to craft the perfect pitch to your customers or prospects in a way that makes it hard to ignore.
Include an offer or code
Including a tantalizing offer or promo code that can be redeemed adds a sense of urgency to your direct mailer – don’t forget to include a date the promo ends, or you may be stuck redeeming them forever! If you’re not able to add a coupon or promo, be sure to include a call to action such as “call for consultation” or “visit our website” so customers know the next step to take in doing business with you.
Printing and mailing
You’ve approved the final copy and design and you’re ready to print. Postcards are easy to print and address all at once. If your direct mailer is a letter with several pieces, it’s time to assemble all the inserts, stuff the envelopes, address them, apply the postage and drop them off at the post office.
Sit back and wait for responses
If you’ve created the right offer and chosen the right target, the phone will be ringing and coupons will be appearing in your store. Be prepared to staff up and respond to inquiries quickly.
And don’t forget to collect information on all your responses! You can use that intel to determine what works best for your next direct marketing campaign.
The biggest advantage of direct marketing is that it’s measureable. It can provide rich data concerning your customers’ preferences and purchasing habits. Make sure you’ve covered all the bases in your overall marketing strategy with a direct mail campaign. For more ideas, or to start designing your direct mailer, call Print Three today at 289-812-7727.