According to research done by the United States Postal Service (USPS), while only 36 percent of business owners believe that consumers value offers received in the mail, more than 64 percent of consumers said that they value their mail. This is not to say that they value it more or less than email or social media, but it shows “a disconnect” between business marketers and consumer preferences. In fact, similar numbers account for the results of research by the Direct Mail Association (DMA).
According to the Small Business Administration, the DMA research shows that while people over 65 prefer direct mail to email blasts, younger people—those 18 to 34—also are responsive to direct mail. In a study by Epsilon, the younger demographic reported that constant inundation with social media marketing, email blasts and SPAM has them looking for something else, and “direct mail stands out as something different.”
Many business owners believe that direct mail is too costly. The DMA results show, however, that pay-per-click has an average response rate of just .12 percent (as reported by Direct Mail News), while direct mail’s response rate is between two and six percent. The cost for direct mail and pay-per-click is comparable as well, especially when you consider the cost per actual lead.
- Choose a format that matches your sales pitch, offer or budget.
- Make a special offer. Customers often value a “dollars-off” approach over a “percent-off” one.
- Give your mailing a sense of urgency. Have a time limit on the offer or discount and don’t offer the same thing too frequently.
- If possible, personalize your mailing. If you direct your campaign to current and past customers you add value to a service they already utilize and your return may be higher.
- Try different ways to word your mailings, vary the offers and even the formats to see which one works best for you. If you offer coupons, add a code to the coupon so you can track the results, or add a URL or QR code that leads to an online tracking program.
According to Neopost USA Inc., direct mail appeals to three areas that are good for your business:
Touch and Feel: A piece received in the mail has substance. It has the opportunity to demand a response from your audience if its look, feel, size or weight captures their attention.
Efficiency: Modern postal equipment, scanning methods, and delivery operations keep your mail on track and delivered at the right time. Direct mail vendors have powerful options for sorting, targeting and directing your mail to your specific market.
Cost Savings: With a higher return than pay-per-click, direct mail is a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.
For extra savings, you can sign up to receive promotions and savings from the USPS for your marketing campaigns. Current promotions and incentives include:
- Integration between direct mail and a mobile campaign
- Color print in First-Class program.
To find out more about the promotions offered by the USPS, you can register to participate in their incentives on their Business Customer Gateway.