Historically speaking, direct mail has had the best and longest track record of any marketing strategy. In the past, it was one of the few key ways marketers had to communicate with their audiences. Today, it serves as a way to get noticed…because it's likely that few (or none) of your competitors are using this branding and marketing tool.

The net volume of direct mail went down last year; however, the percentage of direct mail in every post delivery has gone up[1]. This means that household postboxes have become marketing receptacles.

Are you utilising those marketing receptacles to build brand awareness, brand recognition and more? If not, it's time to learn more about direct mail and what it could mean for your brand.

Marketing with Direct Mail

What determines if a marketing strategy will stay or go? We all know it's ROI (Return On Investment), and that ROI depends heavily on response rates.

So how does direct mail stack up to digital when it comes to marketing responses?

Digital ads get a .7% response[2], whilst direct mail delivers between 4.25-5% response[3].

Let's do some rough math. A letter costs about 65p to mail in the UK. If you target 100 of your most ideal customers, and 5 of them respond, that's £13 per response. Handle each response directly and appropriately, and assume that you convert 2 of those responders to customers. That's £32.50 per customer acquisition. How much does it normally cost you to acquire one new customer? And how much does the average customer spend with your company?

These estimates are fairly conservative, and yet, I'll bet you can see an advantage beginning to bloom for your brand.

Here are some pieces of advice I've compiled for getting started with (or improving upon) your direct mail campaign(s):

  • direct-mailUse Direct Mail to Boost and Support Multi-Faceted Campaigns. With all the cost-effective marketing tools we have at our disposal, no campaign should consist of just one. Use direct mail to introduce and direct, to remind and persuade, to follow-up and redirect…always giving recipients a next step. Use direct mail to complement social media campaigns, video advertisements, online marketing campaigns, TV ads and much more, to increase ROI and lift (the increase in sales as a result of the campaign).
  • Forget About Spray-and-Pray. Spray-and-Pray (sending marketing messages out randomly, hoping one will land) is never a good idea. It dilutes the effectiveness of your brand in the market. It can be especially tempting when you're using social media, because there's little or no capital investment involved. Direct mail involves a larger investment; however, the temptation to spray can still exist. Instead of choosing random addresses, think about all the data-gathering tools modern marketers have at their disposal. There's no longer a need to send out large volumes of direct mail, in hopes of a response. You can gather information from website visits, from brands that offer complementary services, through online offers in exchange for contact details and much, much more. Unlike the direct mail of the past, you can now send letters and postcards to specific addresses, feeling somewhat confident that you will reach your ideal customer.
  • Personalise Every Mailing. In the past, marketers were thrilled to be able to address each direct mailing to individual recipients. Customisation has come a long way since then. Now, you can easily segment direct mailings by demographic, to make each recipient feel like you're speaking directly to them (with more than the salutation).
  • Send Direct Mail in a Timely Manner. "Snail mail" doesn't lend ideas of speed; however, when you consider that today's direct mail campaign materials can be created in a matter of hours (or less), it is quite possible to get materials into the hands of prospects just days after they've heard about your brand. This is crucial to response rates. Waiting too long can cause the emotion, engagement and memory of your brand to fade, decreasing the chances of pursuit. So if your direct mail campaign isn't an initial introduction, I would suggest being timely in its distribution.

Every brand's marketing strategy should be customised to its audience, to its purpose, to its promise and to the brand's short- and long-term goals.

Direct mail can play a number of different roles, and if preceded by thoughtful research, monitored by eyes and ears in-tune with your audience's needs, complemented by other marketing methods, and followed-up with informative, relevant communications, it can be just the thing your brand needs to rocket ahead of the competition.

Want to learn more about branding and marketing? And how you can build a brand that outshines even your own high expectations? Then visit the How to Build a Brand website and check out all the options under the Start Up Resources and Brand Building Resources tabs. I am building the world's most effective online brand-building resource, and you can be part of it all.


[2] invesp


[3] Compu-Mail

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