Prior to striking out on my own and opening Plumtree Marketing, I was a Marketing Executive at a small marketing agency that, among other things, specialized in high-end direct mail. The work I did there helped me gain an appreciation for the possibilities of this medium. While many small businesses think that “direct mail” means large-scale mailings to thousands of recipients, this certainly isn’t the only option!
|THE CASE FOR DIRECT MAIL
Today’s Low Mail Volume = Opportunity
With the overall economy still down, and with so many companies moving their marketing efforts online, mail volume has dropped tremendously. The resulting empty mailboxes present a unique opportunity. While competition to get noticed in email in-boxes just keeps growing, a well-crafted direct mail package is now far more likely to garner attention than before.
The Advantages of Direct Mail
While both “snail mail” and email allow for targeted marketing, direct mail has some distinct advantages:
- High Delivery Rates – If your mailing list is current, nearly all of your direct mail will get delivered. Email, on the other hand, must get past spam filters, service provider issues, and more.
- High Readership Rates – While many people review their email inboxes with their fingers on the “delete” button, studies show that 81% of consumers will at least scan the direct mail they receive.
- Nearly Limitless Format Options – Direct mail offers virtually unlimited formatting options, from postcards and envelopes (of all sizes and colors) to mailing tubes and boxes.
- Much More Space – With direct mail you have as much space as necessary to tell your story and deliver a compelling message in one package. You can include letters, brochures, coupons, photos, DVDs, product samples, small promotional items, and more.
- Extreme Personalization – It is now possible to personalize every element of a direct mail package, without the expense of multiple print runs. For example, I've seen a college alumni fundraising piece in which everything from the text to the photos was personalized based on the year in which the recipient graduated.
The bottom line: with so much less competition, in some cases direct mail may now offer a higher return on investment than email marketing, even after factoring in its higher cost structure.
CUSTOMER SPOTLIGHT: MELLANO & COMPANY
Mellano & Company is one of the major players in the U.S. cut flower industry. From growing (their Southern California farms are really something to see) to imports, wholesale sales and mass marketing, theirs is a fully vertically-integrated operation.
Mellano & Company often uses direct mail to keep in touch with their wholesale customers. Click here to see one of the mailers which I wrote for them.