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Direct mail (also known as lumpy mail, advertising mail, and admail) is the act of sending advertising/marketing material through the post. A simple concept, and easy enough to do, but very difficult to do right. At its best, direct mail stands to cut straight through the slush pile of your competitors’ marketing and land right before your prospective client’s eyes. Which is to say: at its best it’s a powerful marketing tool.

In the first of this two-part blog post, we’ll be looking at all the reasons why you should be considering direct mail for your next campaign. So let’s get to it…

Direct mail is flexible

First and foremost, it’s a flexible medium. Literally. Direct mail comes in all shapes and sizes. From simple letters to elaborate promotional booklets, to large parcels, packages, toys, calendars, and clocks. You name it, you can direct mail it. The obvious advantage of such a large spread of choice is that direct mail can be suited to all budgets. Whether you’re looking to spend less than £100 or in excess of £1000, you can easily work within financial parameters.

Contrary to what you may think, direct mail is well-suited to small budgets. This is because it stands to create the highest impact at the lowest cost. So although you may only be able to afford a smaller run than, say, a batch of email marketing. You’ll likely be looking at a larger response rate in terms of percentages.

It’s different

It’s estimated that we see around 3,500 marketing messages every day. Of which 99% will have no impact whatsoever. So how do you squeeze your brand into the 1%? Do something different. And different doesn’t necessarily mean strange, quirky, loud, or in-your-face. In the world of marketing, “different” could simply mean relevant. Here’s a quote from the same Guardian article linked at the beginning of this paragraph:

“Only by getting to know consumers better can advertisers cut through the clutter”

It seems likely, and understandable, that the 1% of messages each of us consciously takes in are going to be relevant to us. Or if not relevant, at least personal in some way. And if not personal, then practical. This is where direct mail really comes into its own, because it can be relevant, personal, and practical. You have the ability to do something really memorable because your campaign will be specifically targeted to a certain audience. Which brings us to our next point…

It’s personal

Direct mail isn’t the same as putting out a billboard advertisement. It’s not created for mass consumption. You could see direct mail as a marketing sniper, whereas general advertisements (such as billboards and leaflets) are more like shotguns, spreading buckshot across the widest possible area. Bear in mind, that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with the other types of marketing. It’s just that if you’re trying to knock a bottle off a wall 200 metres away, you’re better off with a sniper than a shotgun.

Another important point to note is that physical mail is inherently more personal than online/print advertisements. So you’re automatically placing yourself above the din of those 3,499 other messages by sending something in the mail. Think about your own experiences. How many letters do you receive daily? How about parcels? There might be a few, but it’s very unlikely that you’ll ever receive more marketing through the letterbox than your inbox.

It sticks

Direct mail done right can be unforgettable. That might sound dramatic, but take a look around your desk right now. Chances are there’s a mug or calendar or desktop clock or coaster covered in another company’s branding. Those things could, and usually will, remain where they are for a long time. A calendar has a shelf-life of at least one year. Mugs will keep going until they’re so deeply tea-stained as to be grotesque and unrecognisable. Clocks are forever. These are things that will be seen, looked at, or used, on a daily basis.

So imagine you send a nicely designed, branded calendar to 20 clients/prospective clients. And let’s assume that half of them put it on their desk and leave it there. That’s one years’ worth of constant advertising to those people for a one-time fee. There’s nothing else to it. They’ll subconsciously absorb your brand every single day. And if the source from which they’re absorbing it (i.e a calendar) is attractive enough, they’ll subconsciously associate that attractiveness with your business. Just like how studies have revealed that the sight of a beautiful product can trigger our hands to move towards it. Nice things = positive reactions.

Sending out a direct mail campaign? Get in touch for a free consultation to see how Red Square can help!