With direct mail marketing holding strong as the technique of choice for thousands of small businesses, you can make it work for your business, too. Here’s how.
1. Focus on your goals.
Your marketing goals are likely to vary from one year to the next. Most marketers conduct ongoing prospecting to solicit new business, because that’s necessary to grow as well as replace lost patients or customers or clients who drop off over time.
But you want to augment that ongoing effort with special campaigns or promotions that enable you to meet certain marketing objectives. For instance, last year you focused on upselling existing customers to increase your repeat business and revenue, so this year perhaps you’d like to try adding a win-back campaign. Or you’re adding new menu items, a new clothing line or a new dentist to your practice. You’ll definitely want to promote that!
2. Track sales trends.
Tracking your income and expenses is a business basic. But if you pay attention to the sales details, you can plot trends. When you find gaps that occur regularly, you can use direct mail marketing to boost sales during those times. Filling in the gaps increases overall revenue and it smooths your cashflow, too.
One dentist we know likes to do “summer vacation specials” for kids. It’s easier for parents to schedule appointments, and it puts young patients on track for repeat checkups during the school year, if needed.
3. Consult with an expert.
No one knows more about how to make direct mail work for you than someone who does that for a living. A well-established, top-quality direct mail marketing company can be your best friend – someone you’ll want to partner with for the long term. So schedule some time to sit down and pick their brain. The best ones are happy to help guide and assist you because their business success depends on your success.
Ask them what kinds of campaigns are working especially well for businesses like yours in other locales. Or get ideas about direct mail details that have proven profitable for different types of businesses – you may be able to adapt those ideas to fit your clientele and marketing goals.
Along with advice on direct mail design and which offers to use, it’s particularly important to get help understanding how to build the right mailing list. The quality of your list directly affects the quality of response you’ll get to your mailing – probably more than any other single factor. You need to know all the selection criteria options that exist and how to ensure the names and addresses on your list are accurate and up to date.
And ask about postage rates. Direct mail that works best has to be cost-effective, too. Overall quantity, your mailing list and how your mailers are sorted and prepared all affect the rate you’ll be charged by the Post Office. It can be confusing, making it easy to inadvertently pay too much. With expert help, you’ll know you’re getting the lowest postage rate available. “Every Door Direct Mail” is not necessarily the best choice, nor the cheapest.
5. Don’t rely solely on what others tell you.
Even the experts. Experiment with timing, offers, mailing list composition or geo-targeting parameters to continuously improve your direct mail campaigns. (If you don’t know how to A/B test your direct mail, talk with an expert about that, too. You have to approach this process scientifically to get worthwhile results.)
Finally, use direct mail to enhance and broaden the reach and effectiveness of your other marketing techniques. For example, you can drive traffic to your website or a specific landing page where recipients can redeem your postcard offer or sign up for an upcoming event or your email list.
The bottom line? Few things are as versatile as direct mail marketing, so get creative. And have fun!