As we get ready for the new year and think of ways we might spread our marketing message, direct mail may come to mind as a relatively inexpensive and quick way of getting our ideas in front of a lot of potentially interested people at one time – either on the same day or within a couple of days, depending on mail delivery.
We can target a neighborhood, a residential community, or a demographic such as owners, renters, certain incomes, or people over 65. With the senior population, they are going to quite receptive to email over electronic messages because many of them do not use email or computers.
However, there are several factors to consider when planning or deciding upon a direct mail campaign, and some of those considerations are the physical mailing piece itself (postcard, flyer, letter, brochure, sample product, or packet), that it must be interesting or appealing enough to the recipient for it to be opened or examined and read, that this step is required before anything can happen in terms of the recipient becoming a potential lead and then contacting us, that there must be a commitment to doing several mailings of the same or similar messages in order to get it noticed by those few people will eventually read and act upon it, that people need to identify with our message and determine that they have a need for what we are offering them, and that there need to be enough of a response for us to get a reasonable return on our investment in conducting this program.
Even if we have the resources to conduct several mailings – by doing it ourselves or hiring a company to do it for us – and we are content to wait while there is a response to your mailings – which can take several days to weeks for people to respond, we need to decide if we think that direct mail (as opposed to other types of marketing that we may want to use or employ) is something that will work for us and something that we can commit to doing. Just because we can do it, because it is relatively easy to accomplish, does not mean that we should do it. The same would be true for newspaper display advertising or other types of promotion.
There also is the consideration of how a direct mail campaign may strengthen or detract from our brand by using it. Is the public going to respond well to our message – even if they don’t personally feel that they have a current need for what we are offering and don’t contact us?
Are people going to think more of our brand than they do now because we made the effort to contact them through their mailbox and share with them something that they may not have been aware of or hadn’t thought about in terms of a way to improve their homes or accommodate their changing needs? Are they going to think less of us because they don’t like direct mail and lump us in with all of the other companies or brands who advertise this way? Are they going to think that this is an appropriate or inappropriate way for us to contact them and share what we have to offer with them? Is this going to aid or hinder our ultimate ability to do business with them?
The people we are contacting about our services may be glad that we reached out to them because they have been considering having work done but hadn’t begun their actual search for someone to help them or didn’t know who was available in their area to help them. Possibly they didn’t know what services were available. Conversely, it’s possible that people have already made decisions on having work done, that our message didn’t resonate well with them, that they didn’t fit the profile we were trying to reach, or that they could become annoyed at receiving our mailings about something they just are interested in.
Additionally, there is the question of the additional demand for our services that we are attempting to create by doing such a campaign. Whatever number of people that we decide to send our mailing pieces to, and allowing for just a very minimal response, can we handle the additional response that this would produce over-and-above the number of people who already are contacting us or that we are attracting with our other marketing efforts?
Direct mail might be a very viable tool for attracting new business and letting the marketplace know more about what we do. We just need to be aware of the many considerations that go along with doing this type of marketing before jumping into it.