Small businesses have a variety of options to promote their products and services, and many are re-discovering the affordability and effectiveness of reaching markets through direct mail marketing.
While businesses may be returning to direct mail, the research shows that customers never left. According to a 2015 study, 85% of consumers will open a piece of mail if it looks interesting. Compared to industry benchmarks for e-mail engagement of 27.1%, it’s easy to see why marketers are returning to the mailbox.
While it’s proven that direct mail engages, you’ll want to ensure your message is well targeted in order to get the best use of your marketing spend. In order to do this, you must first define your audience, and then find out where they live.
Here are some simple steps to make sure you’re planning an effective, well-targeted campaign.
Follow the 40/40/20 guideline.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to spend 40% of your time finding the customers who are most likely to respond to an offer, 40% on developing a strong offer and 20% on making a connection through creative design and messaging.
Stay on target
Free services let you identify the right audience for a direct marketing effort, including the right demographics, geographic area and social and behavioural patterns of customers most likely to respond. Statistics Canada, for example, offers a database of high-quality information online at no charge.
Search for your audience
Google Trends offers information on the most popular searches on a geographic basis. Are Google users in one area of Canada submitting more queries about non-scented soaps than floral varieties? Trucks over compact cars? Google will tell you that free of charge.
Develop a strong offer
It’s not enough to say you’re the best, even if you are. You need to offer people something that’ll give them a reason to hold onto your message. Are you offering: something new; a limited time offer; a coupon; a sale; a sample; or a free trial? Deliver a successful and relevant call to action that sets an offer apart from those of competitors.
Make it eye-catching, but not overwhelming
This is the fun part. Create a design that stands out, but doesn’t overshadow your offer (remember, this is the most important part of the piece). Not a designer? Don’t worry! Chances are you know someone who can help, and if not, there are plenty of services like Snap Admail™ that offer free templates to assist with design and completed designs can be instantly turned into print orders. Another option, Jukebox is a Canadian printer with an in-browser design platform and templates that let you to create and print your own flyers.
Deploy with confidence
Once you have a good sense of where your campaign will be the most effective, as well as what it’ll look like, you’re ready to mail. Mailing services can take care of the distribution process for you, or you can do it yourself and take advantage of Canada Post’s online services, which make this step easy for small businesses.
The success of a direct mail marketing effort can be simply expressed in terms of costs against increased sales. But simple doesn’t always tell the whole story. Are marketing efforts helping to push brand awareness, nudge a customer along the sales funnel, or convert casual customers into lifelong clients? Did you learn something important about your audience by testing the success of one offer against another? Decide which results are most valuable to you and set a target. Once the campaign is finished, analyse how close you came to your goal. Try using a unique coupon code or URL so you can attribute leads and sales to the direct mail piece that you mailed.
Armed with the right information and tools, there’s no reason why a small brand can’t use direct mail marketing to project its marketing reach like a large one.
Ready to launch your next campaign? Join the Canada Post Solutions for Small BusinessTM program for free and get access to our easy, online tools.