5 Techniques to Help You Get the Most Out of Your Direct Mail Campaigns

Direct mail marketing is still effective. Here's how to leverage it for your small business.

Direct mail

Online marketing may have become a popular way to reach customers, but direct mail marketing is still effective in this digital age. Small businesses that plan to spend money on direct mail, however, want to make sure that investment will pay off.

Most likely, your ideal customers are overwhelmed with information — emails, social media and constant news updates on their mobile devices. It can be challenging to break through all that noise and have your own marketing message be heard.

That's one reason why going back to the tried-and-true approach of direct mail marketing can be effective: You can put something physical into the hands of your audience, amid a world of digital-only information. But just because you're using a time-tested strategy doesn't mean you should do it the same old way. Here are five quick ways to update your direct mail strategy and yield a better return on your marketing investment:

1. Narrow Your Audience
Rather than blasting your direct mail to wide swaths of recipients, take time to pare your list down and target those who genuinely may turn into customers. Technology makes it possible to purchase lists with all kinds of qualifying information, such as gender, age, interests and past purchasing habits.

Focus on the quality of your audience rather than the quantity. When your audience is more targeted (and presumably smaller), you may be able to spend more money per mailer.

2. Get Creative
Think of some ways to make your mailer unique and interesting to recipients. That may mean experimenting with color and design or using oversize mailers, so they won't blend in with other mail.

Consider including a bulky object inside the envelope (since more people are likely to open it out of sheer curiosity), or send a series of mailers with a succession of clues, making the whole thing seem like a treasure hunt. Once you've decided how to capture their attention, make sure your mailer accurately describes what your business can do for them and how to start doing business with you.

3. Make It Personal
Many recipients are quick to trash anything that looks like a mass mailer, so why not take steps to make your communication more personal? Consider using stamps instead of a postage meter, for instance. And think about occasionally sending a handwritten note. This personal touch helps your customers feel like your business is run by humans — opposed to something spitting out automated responses.

4. Give People Something They Can Use
Rather than just mailing a sales letter or postcard, consider combining your direct mail with a useful gift, such as a calendar, notepad, pen, magnet or other item. Recipients are unlikely to discard a useful item, and every time it's used, they will remember your business.

5. Extend an Invitation
Think about whether your direct mail pieces do a good job of inviting people to use your product or service, and consider ways to make it easy for them to do so. Some effective ways to graciously invite recipients to patronize your business include providing a coupon, discount or even product samples with your direct mail. Consider connecting direct mail and digital marketing by using clickable paper technology on the mailer: When you scan the app over the page, it gives the user access to a variety of multimedia links. Whatever you choose, be sure to include an expiration date on your offers to create a sense of urgency.

Don't give up on direct mail marketing in the face of the digital revolution. Instead, update your direct mail approach and maximize results.