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12 Tips and Techniques to Take Your Direct Mail Marketing into the Future

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Yes, you read that title correctly: Direct Mail Marketing. Although digital advertising is taking the marketing world by storm, direct mail is not a lost cause for furniture retailers. With the right strategy and process, direct mail campaigns can help you effectively turn leads into sales.

Why Direct Mail Marketing?

Direct mailings are pieces of advertising collateral that are delivered to homes through a mailing service. In simpler terms, it’s a marketing method that allows businesses to deliver things like postcards, catalogues, letters and brochures directly into the hand of potential customers.

And yes, although people are increasingly looking at their desktops and mobile devices, they are also checking their mail. And if you can deliver timely information to the right people, your direct mail can help them decide how and when to shop. These 13 tips will help you build an effective direct mail campaign and take your marketing to the next level:

  1. Define your audience.

The first step is crucial for any marketing strategy: determine your audience. And instead of picking a demographic or market segment at random, you’ll get much better results if you look at some numbers.

Start by combing through your previous sales. Hopefully you have access to information that shows you the average age, gender, zip code and income of your customers. This will show you which demographics are already successful for your business. A good way to target your direct mails is to send to the same zip codes as your existing customers. Remember, retaining existing customers is just as important as generating new leads!

  1. Find a way to target that audience.

Rather than sending a mailing to everyone within spitting distance of your business, you should use services like this or like this to purchase a mailing list specific to your services and demographics. This will help your catalogues and postcards go from becoming unwanted junk mail to helpful information. It will also help you save on material and postage, which will offset the cost of the list!

  1. Make a list of your audience’s interests.

Once you have general information in mind, such as age range and income level, try to delve deep and really understand the interests of your audience. Are they older people interested in spending time with their grandchildren; or perhaps millennial women who love health and fitness activities? In order to create an effective message, you will want to show how your business’s products and services provide value for your audience’s specific lifestyle.

  1. Create your message.

Before you start writing your message, think about what you don’t want to see or what you actively ignore when you receive advertisements in the mail. Something that seems too good to be true like “FREE MONEY” or something misleading like “Time-Sensitive Account Information” will only make your customers feel cheated.

Instead, craft a message that show how your business will provide real value to your customer. Send a brochure to new home owners that showcases inexpensive furniture sets and include a coupon for 15% off when they purchase an entire set. Or you could send a postcard to previous customers to let them know about a special event at the store and offer them an additional discount as thanks for their loyalty.

  1. Make your message clear and simple.

Remember, you only have as much time as it takes for someone to walk from their mailbox to their trash can to grab their attention. Create a short, catchy headline that immediately tells your reader what you have to offer. Then use text to describe in five sentences or less how your business and your offer is special. The words you use should be short and easy to read if someone is quickly skimming the content.

  1. Have a clear call-to-action.

Unless the goal of your direct mail is purely brand recognition, you need to state a clear call-to-action or CTA. If you want your customer to visit your store to redeem their coupon, make sure that is stated in the mailing. If you want to use your direct mail to build a following on Facebook, write that your business will be giving exclusive deals or giveaways to their Facebook fans. Remember, offer value, and then deliver on your promise.

  1. Pick a medium.

Now that you know who your audience is, how to reach them, what you’re going to say, and what you hope your audience will do, it’s time to select a medium for your ad. Depending on your budget and your goal, pamphlets or letters could be a viable and cost-effective choice.

For something that stands out and provides immediate value to your reader, a catalogue is a great way to promote your products and services. Even if it’s less than twenty pages long, a catalogue can give your readers inspiration and make them think of your business next time they need to buy furniture.

To find out which types of mailings work best for your business and target demographics, test a few different types. More information to follow about tracking direct mail results.

  1. Make it personal.

In addition to helping you target a specific demographic, data can help you personalize your direct mail to fit a customer’s specific needs. For example, you could send a flyer specific to mattress deals to someone who just purchased a new bedroom set. Or you could send a coupon for a custom design sofa to a loyal customer who just moved into a new house.

Because people are bombarded with marketing all day long, you can help your direct mail campaign stand out by sending personalized information. Imagine opening up your mailbox to find a discount on the exact thing that you’ve been wanting!

  1. Design an appealing piece.

You now have all the information you need to create a targeted, personal, effective piece of direct mail. To make it appealing, keep the style simple so that the message stands out. Product images are crucial to giving a preview of your selection and new arrivals. And most importantly, make sure that your direct mail looks like your other marketing materials. It should be immediately clear that the mailing is part of your unique brand.

  1. Integrate with other channels.

As with any successful marketing campaign, it’s important to have an integrated strategy. Consider sending a physical coupon through direct mail and create an ad with the same offer for Facebook or email ads. You can use the same targeting techniques to reach a similar audience online that you do with your direct mail marketing.

  1. Re-target

A multi-channel approach is also useful for re-targeting. This is the method savvy marketers use to reach the same person multiple times across different medias. For example, someone could receive a brochure in the mail on a Tuesday, then on Thursday they could see the same offer in their inbox. On Friday, a sponsored Facebook post from your business would appear in their newsfeed.

Your chances of running a successful direct mail campaign improve a lot if you reach out to the same person multiple times. They will be more likely to remember your company when they are ready to make a purchase, and in fact, by seeing your offer more than once they could be ready to buy when they see one of your ads. Re-targeting is also useful for tracking the results of your campaign.

  1. Track and analyze results

In the past, tracking results for direct mail marketing has been tricky. Thankfully, that is no longer the case! Here are methods you can use to create analytics for your campaign:

  • Use a coupon with a unique identifying number. This will allow you to track how often the coupon from your mailer is used as well as who is using it.
  • Direct people to a unique web address. Create a specific landing page for this campaign and tell your audience to visit that page to redeem an offer or enter a contest.
  • You can also write a unique activation code on the direct mailer that can be entered on your website for access to exclusive savings or discounted services.
  • List a unique phone number (different than your normal business phone) and see how many people call that number to redeem a discount.
  • Create an event in which people can bring in the tickets on the direct mail with a unique “lucky number.” These tickets can be entered in-store for a chance to win prizes.

After a few integrated marketing campaigns with a solid direct mail strategy, you should have enough data and information to redefine your target audience and adjust your message accordingly. This will help you create specific campaigns with the goal to retain customers or expand your customer base. These tips should help you create direct mail pieces that are ready for the modern consumer!

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