Call me old-fashioned—actually don’t, I’m of the Millennial Generation and we like to be seen as new, hip and tech savvy. We also really like trophies, or so I’m told. But, if you do call me old-fashioned, it may be because of my general love of a good direct mail piece.
Why the adoration? Because I’ve seen direct mail generate qualified sales over and over again. Sure, it’s not the cheapest channel, but direct mail boasts a 4.4% response rate, compared to email, for example, which has an average response rate of 0.15%. More impressively, 65% of consumers say they have made a purchase as a result of a direct mail piece.
Yes, direct mail’s ROI can raise an eyebrow or two. The latest report found that direct mail’s ROI of $7 paled in comparison to email’s ROI of $28.50. In my experience though, while direct mail customers are more costly to get initially, they retain much longer than other channels, even after a deal or discount has expired.
Mail builds loyalty. Mail builds trust.
Think about it, for years we’ve been using mail to send our most important communications, from bills to birthday cards and car renewal tags. When you want to woo a new business prospect, a personal handwritten note goes much farther than a one-off email that CCs any Jack or Mary who may or may not be a decision maker.
The wholesome, tactile nature of direct mail is also the reason that I use this channel to give potential customers my best offer. If you’re spending a lot of money on a direct mail piece, and you know that new customers obtained through direct mail retain a whole hell of a lot longer then those obtained through telemarketing, for example, why not go after that customer with your open hands and best deal?
A caveat: While a well-executed direct mail campaign will generate sales, a multi-channel campaign will always generate more sales. So work your direct mail theme into a digital or print ad, email and/or social media postings.
Keep the message and look the same across channels, but experiment and change up the offer, giving different discounts across different channels.
For example, I don’t suggest offering discounts on your website. Why? Because if someone is going through the effort to look up your business online and visit your website, they are already interested and there’s a good chance they are going to buy. It’s not worth selling your product or service on your website for $5 to an online visitor who would have spent $10. Create landing pages for online deals and keep them hidden from your direct website traffic.
If you know that a specific channel is a low retaining one, don’t offer a discount either. Sure, the initial sell will be much harder, but at full price at least you don’t have to worry about whether that customer will stay on once a sale is over. Makes you think about the economics behind “daily deal” offers, doesn’t it.
This year, the average B2B company will put 10% of its marketing budget towards direct mail. If you’re investing in the channel, give the direct mail piece your sexiest offer. I know I’ll be looking for it in my mailbox.