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With the prolific online opportunities, many have predicted the death of direct mail marketing, and some say it’s already dead. However, the stats below from a late-2015 study by MarketingSherpa are clear indicators that exactly the opposite is true.

The greatest number, 54 percent, of consumers surveyed said they want to receive mail from brands they’re interested in.

·       56 percent of customers find print marketing to be the most trustworthy type of marketing.

·       70 percent of Americans say mail is more personal than the internet.

·       The average ROI for direct mail campaigns is between 18 and 20 percent.

·       80–90 percent of direct mail gets opened.

This should demonstrate for you that direct mail is indeed a marketing avenue you should explore. However, there are some key considerations to ensure you make the most of those marketing dollars.

Targeting Your List

Are you mailing to a geo-targeted list? Are you mailing to past clients or prospects?

The key to direct mail success is getting the right message to the right audience. Take a lead from the real estate industry and farm your regions. There are many companies offering mailing lists. Choose one that allows you to select your list by location and target specific demographic data.

Let me digress for a moment. I truly believe that if you want to grow your business or get larger, higher-end projects, you have to understand your current and past clients. The only way to really do this is through data. I offer a template for an extensive lead tracking worksheet if you don’t currently have one or if you want to improve what you’re currently using. It aggregates a ton of data when properly used, such that it will inform your marketing and help you spend your dollars more wisely in the future. If you’d like to get this lead tracking form, just shoot me a quick email and I will personally send it to you.

Thanks for indulging me … back to targeting your list. Choose a list-building company that allows you to target by demographic data such as homeowner (not renter), married or single, income level, home value, age of the home, recently moved and so on. This will ensure you’re marketing to a specific group that is most likely to need or want your services, which will save money and make your cost per lead much lower.

Once you’ve determined your target market, follow the real estate lead again, and plan a long-term mailing strategy — plant the seed, then continue to cultivate it over the course of a year or even more.

Planning a Strategy, Not a One-Off

Having a direct mail marketing strategy is a much smarter approach than just sending off a postcard on a whim. Once you know who you’re targeting, think about your goal for the campaign. Do you want people to like your company page on Facebook? Do you want them to visit your website? Do you want them to call you for a consultation? Maybe you are offering a free guide or e-book. This is a great way to send them to a landing page on your website that requires them to enter an email address to get the content. Now you’ve given them great content that builds trust, and you have a second — and less expensive — way to market to the prospect.

How will you enable them to take the action you want in a way that you can track the results? You might opt for a QR code that can send the leads to a dedicated landing page on your website. This will ensure you can attribute website visitors to the direct mail campaign. Will you use a call tracking service and a special phone number to track calls from the mailing? Or maybe a special code they can give you on a call. But you will need to take the lead in this case, and be sure to ask if they are calling because they received a mailing if they don’t give you the code right off the bat.

How often will you mail to your list? Will the message be the same every time with a different photo? Will the text be different with the same photo? By the way, changing one — and only one — thing on the postcard or letter is the best way to determine what works and what doesn’t. It’s called A/B testing and it’s an important part of an ongoing direct mail strategy to ensure the best results.

Will you do a mailing that coincides with an event you are participating in such as a showcase home or other interior design event? Maybe if you have a showroom, you are planning an open house or charity event — these are great ways to promote via direct mail.

Whatever you do, don’t make your mailing all about you, your company and your services. Make the messaging about the buyer and her pain point. For instance, instead of saying, “Best kitchen designer in Westchester County,” say, “Be the envy of everyone in your book club because of your beautiful new kitchen.” Another way of appealing to a prospect’s emotions might be to say something like, “Life is easier with a well-designed, organized kitchen.” You can even go so far as to create an ideal such as, “Life is better with a beautiful kitchen by Your Company Name.”

Designing Your Piece

Once you know who you’re mailing to and what your messaging will be, it’s time to create a well-branded, professional piece that will capture your prospects interest. One way to get some ideas is to pay attention to the direct mail you receive. What catches your attention? What causes you to toss something directly into the recycling bin?

Consider whether you want to send a postcard or a letter. Maybe you want to create a truly unique direct mail piece such as a custom die-cut form, a multi-page brochure or even an unusual promotional product. The possibilities are endless.

Hiring a professional designer might be the best route. You can provide a designer with the text and your best project photos that illustrate the messaging, and let him or her do their thing. Be sure the finished product is cohesive with your branding and website so when a prospect goes online to get more information, the transition from your print presence to your online presence is seamless.

Be sure your headline and images are captivating. For a postcard, keep the text short with engaging language. If you’re sending a longer-form letter, vary the length of sentences and, again, be sure the text is consistent with your online image. It would be money well spent to hire a professional writer to create your copy.

Personalize Your Mail

Spend the extra dollars to have individual names printed on the mailer or the envelope to encourage engagement. Discuss with your printer the available options for personalization and what might be most cost effective. Just keep in mind the mail you receive — are you more likely to open something addressed to you personally or something that says “current resident” or “homeowner”? Also, be sure to investigate the best way to send your direct mail. If you’re sending a very large quantity, check with the USPS about bulk mailing rates. Sometimes it’s just as easy to let your printer or the company you purchase your direct mail pieces from deal with the shipping.

Take Your Mailer a Step Further

Here are some ways to ensure you capture your audience’s attention and make it easy for them to connect with you.

1.     Add a QR code or PURL: Track your mailer’s data by creating a specific landing page and drive traffic there by using a QR code or personalized URL (PURL) so you can track and measure website traffic from one direct mail campaign. Just be sure to use a unique QR or PURL for each mailing so you can track effectiveness by each individual campaign.

2.     Dimensional mailers: I mentioned die-cut mailers earlier. You can take these one step further by considering a mailer that opens up into a dimensional object. Or opt for something like a small custom-designed swatch palette of paint colors, wallpapers or fabrics. Create something fun that requires unique packaging sure to grab your prospect’s attention as soon as she opens the mailbox.

3.     Video mailers: If you want to impress high-end prospects, a handful of video mailers with a high-quality video will do the trick. This impressive technology incorporates audiovisual players right in the mailer. Like most new technology, this is a costly venture but could be well worth the investment if it lands you one high-value project.

Need help with your direct mail marketing strategy? Contact h3mediaworks.

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