Direct mail has been and possibly forever will be the workhorse of direct response marketing and of smart marketers.
Dan Kennedy has advocated that if he was ever going to be limited to a single media, then direct mail would be the one he would choose. I think that is a reasonable assessment. It isn’t glamorous the way that TV advertising or internet marketing is but direct mail is where fortunes are made.
However many business under-utilise real mail. The ones that do use direct mail often limit it to lead generation or the occasional seasonal promotion. Many businesses either shun it completely or else they see it as a necessary evil.
Here are my top 3 uses for real mail above and beyond the obvious:
Direct Mail Use #1 Customer Retention: Nothing retains a client like a newsletter sent in the mail. Keeping clients is probably the single most powerful activity in business. You make more money per client, it is easier to grow and your business is more stable and predictable.
Customer retention sounds boring and unglamorous but it pays off and in my opinion business is about getting rich – most people instead get focused on their need for excitement and entertainment rather than being focused on making money.
Nothing in my experience is more effective for retaining clients than printed newsletters that arrive every month like clock work.
Direct Mail Use #2 Customer Reactivation: It is usually more cost effective to get lost customers back than it is to get new customers. When you are mailing lost customers the response rates are higher – they are known buyers. So take advantage of the fact they have already given you money and market to them rather than throwing these people into the metaphorical bin.
Again direct mail provides a low cost per sale way to reach out to these customers and say, “Remember us? We really want you to come back!”
Direct Mail Use #3 Following Up Leads: I’ll be honest – I have never seen anything so effective at converting leads into customers as a sales letter. It out performs all the online media I’ve seen when you are trying to get a lead, from interested, to credit card in hand ready to give you money.
This is especially true in when selling high priced items. It would be so much nicer if I could just drive traffic to an online sales letter and get the results I am getting with real mail but I tested and you just don’t – so I use what works to convert clients into paying customers.