Most of the laments we hear about direct mail – it costs more than digital, it’s the dinosaur of promotions, nobody reads it – tend to come from people who have never actually taken the time to experiment with postcard marketing. Direct mail postcards are a highly targeted, easily measured, cost-effective way to individualize your communication with valued clients, and reach out to new prospects. And on top of all that, they’re fun to receive! The US Postal Corporation has discovered that as many as 55% of consumers are “eager to read their mail” when they get home at the end of the day. With the average person receiving more than 100 emails a day as of 2015, when was the last time you heard one of them gush over logging on and sifting through yet another digital onslaught? There are many misconceptions about postcard marketing. We’re going to take a moment to diffuse five of the most common ones.
1. It’s Too Expensive
Labeling direct mail as too expensive is what happens when a business views it as an expense rather than the investment it is. Every marketing endeavor comes with a price tag – some will be higher and some will be lower. But while there’s no denying that many online promotional tactics like:
- website display ads,
- pay-per-click strategies, and
- social media marketing
can cost less than a well-run direct mail campaign, that doesn’t mean they’re always worth the money you spend on them. Like any other investment, it’s not the cost of printing and sending out postcards that’s important – it’s the return on investment you can expect to receive. Calculating your company’s ROI is easy to do because direct mail response rates are so easy to measure (we’ll come back to that in a moment). And although consumer response isn’t always the be-all and end-all of what makes postcard marketing a worthwhile investment, the fact remains that prospects are up to 20% more likely to convert as the result of a direct mail offer, than they are an email one.
2. It Doesn’t Work
Anyone who believes that postcard marketing is ineffective is probably doing it wrong. Nearly 80% of consumers declare that they open almost everything they find inside their mailboxes – “junk” mail included. In the case of a business that has yet to experience direct mail success, it’s far less likely that their postcard-mailers aren’t being read, and far more likely that they’ve been poorly designed. It’s relatively simple, and inexpensive, to use targeted demographic – and even psychographic – mailing lists to reach potential clients in a multi-step campaign. So, it only follows that the bulk of the work must fall on the appeal of your direct mail materials. Creating postcards that call a customer to action demands:
- professionally written copy that engages the reader
- a clean design with bright colors, bold headlines, and bulleted highlights
- a solid, irresistible, time limited offer
When done right, direct mail can be truly impactful. And it’s one of the best ways to build brand loyalty and inspire repeat business.
3. It’s Too Old-Fashioned
Smartphones, tablets, wearable technology – it’s a brave new world where customer relations are concerned. So, where does direct mail fit in amongst this digital glory? Right where it’s always been: quietly holding its own as a time-tested, reliable marketing method that generates results. Rather than turning their noses up at direct mail as a hopelessly out-of-touch vehicle for creating and sustaining valuable client interactions, many of the most successful businesses are embracing it. High-level marketing research has long since revealed that multi-faceted advertising campaigns – those that leverage both digital and print – produce the most exciting results. And by exciting, we mean profitable. Integrating customer data with:
- your company’s website,
- texting initiatives,
- email communications, AND
- conventional print mail campaigns
has been shown to drive more consumer traffic, generate more leads, and convert more customers.
4. People Find It Annoying
Seriously?? While many of us take the explosion of data and digital communications in today’s world for granted, that doesn’t mean we’re immune to its effects. It’s not uncommon to spend the better part of our day side-stepping and fending off an endless stream of:
- distracting emails,
- auto-playing website videos, and
- exasperating pop-ups
The average consumer, on the other hand, claims to find it extremely gratifying to come home to a friendly direct mail message that doesn’t blink, flash, or insist on respawning. Studies suggest that rather than finding postcard marketing annoying, direct mail has the ability to generate a wealth of positive feelings in us. We keep it, exhibit it in our homes, and often share it with others. Meanwhile, the growing number of people who download ad blocking software say they do so because they find digital ads annoying and intrusive.
5. There’s No Way to Know Who’s Reading It
This one’s just flat-out wrong. Postcard marketing is not only easily targeted, it’s also widely recognized as one of the most measurable campaign strategies you can invest in. Direct mail allows you to use customer data and segmentation to steer your company’s marketing materials directly into the hands of pre-qualified addressees. Meanwhile, mailouts can be specifically designed to appeal to the wants and needs of a variety of potential customers, whether those customers share:
- similar buying behaviors
- common demographics, or
- a mutual residential area
Because postcards are perfect for extending trackable offers involving coupons, dedicated phone numbers, and online discount codes, they’re also ideal for figuring out exactly who’s reading them – or better still, who’s responding to them. While well over half of all business owners find they’re unable to track their ROI from activities like social media marketing, postcard marketing makes it easy to calculate, and modify, the success of your advertising campaign in terms of what works, and what doesn’t.