Direct Mail! You mean Junk Mail, don’t you? I mean, who wants that? The answer, it seems, is quite a few of us not only want Direct Mail, but we respond to it quite well.
First, let’s establish the definition of Direct Mail, what it is and what it is not. Direct Mail is a subsection of Direct Marketing. It is a mailed item addressed to a specific individual usually based upon a prior business relationship or upon research. It offers specific benefits for that individual. It’s not unaddressed circulars and flyers that arrive in the mail or with a newspaper. That’s the stuff we call Junk Mail (believe it or not, the response rates for these are pretty good too). So once again, it is marketing directed at ME. You could consider it to be like an email or SMS text message, but without the digital component, or, as more and more are saying, the annoyance factor.
Now, like a lot of digital messages, you may not have asked for it. You may not want it. You may not even look at it. BUT…it’s not in your face. It’s not in your space. It’s not using resources that you are paying for. It has not demanded your time and used your money to get to you. Like digital media, it does not have your permission to be there, but you know what? That’s okay. You can look at it when you want to. ME is in control and ME likes control. It is personal and ME likes personal.
One more time, Direct Mail is the only media that can be used to contact ME without permission. Good news! Right? Well, yes, but it’s only the first step to get to ME. You caught my eye, but there has to be more than that in the relationship. Like remembering my name would be good for starters. What about what ME wants? Have you thought of that?
Rule #1 in Direct Mail is to address ME by name. If you don’t know ME, why should ME communicate with you? If you are mailing to existing or former clients/customers, then presumably you have their names (just a guess here). By the way, according to a 2012 report from The Ballantine Corporation, after receiving direct mail, 70% of consumers have renewed relationships with business they had previously ceased using (you really called!). Now, if you are prospecting, then rent a list based upon the known attributes of your clients/customers. That same Ballantine report states that 40% of consumers say that they have tried a new business after receiving Direct Mail (you really know ME). According to the Direct Marketing Association, 66% of people will open an envelope with their name on it (ME likes ME). In addition, according to Target Marketing, 69% of marketers will use Direct Mail for new account acquisitions. The right names on the right list will provide 50% of the campaign’s success rate and remove the stigma of old school push, mass-marketing.
Rule #2 is to send a message that ME is interested in. 30% of your success will be based upon your offer. It’s all about ME. You know your product and you know your audience. Targeting is the very established process of creating an offer of specific interest to a specific group. It is relevant marketing. With Direct Mail you can deploy a PURL campaign that is focused on the wants and needs of ME. It will begin an interactive conversation with ME using content that ME controls and that you provide. Using Direct Mail as a bridge to Email marketing and thus, cross channel marketing is very effective. Remember that 143% increase in response we reviewed on May 14, 2012?
Rule #3 is to get ME’s attention right away. You have their name (50%). You have their offer (30%). Now you need their attention. Creativity and design will provide the remaining 20% of your success. Just to make it clear, creativity is not only art. It is a point of differentiation. Examples would be: images that support the message, the size of envelope, the colour of envelope, the message on the envelope, the headline. ME is busy and has lots of things to do. Drab and bland just doesn’t cut it when you want to get to ME.
Rule #4 is to create a sense of urgency. Present ME with an offer that expires in a relatively short time line of say, one to two weeks, maybe a month dependent upon the business. The point here is that there must be a final date for the offer and that date cannot be too far away. If this is something that ME wants, then ME must act right away.
Rule #5 is to have a call to action. Define what must be done, when and how. If you know ME’s name, have something that ME is interested in, have caught ME’s attention, have something that is about to slip away, then you must let ME know what to do. Now that you have taken it this far, it’s the only decent thing to do.
Next week: Direct Mail…The Dance Continues
Isn’t printing a bit old school? I mean we have new media today that allows us to communicate with almost anyone anywhere at any time. Why would we print? Not only that, but isn’t printing bad for the environment? That’s what many of us think, but we are wrong on all counts.
Here’s a question: Has printing evolved to become the most ecologically responsible of all media?
Let’s look at a few facts and see what we get. Thanks to the efforts of many who are concerned about the environment and who have devoted years to the subject, the printing industry is now one of the few media that can claim to use recoverable, recyclable and renewable resources. In North America, for every tree that the industry uses, it plants three more. The North American forest products industry now plants 1.5 BILLION TREES PER YEAR. That’s 4.1 million every day. The industry has become agriculture. Trees are grown and harvested for use, just like any other crop. According to the Mother Nature Network there are more trees in America today than there were 100 years ago.
So, how did this happen? For many years now, almost every company/organization involved in the printing/forest industries has been focusing on how to improve the environment. In our own company alone, every year as part of our certification, we are audited by Rainforest Alliance to the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) standards. FSC provides internationally recognized standard setting, trademark assurance and accreditation services for companies, organizations and communities interested in responsible forestry.
Now, let’s have a look at that so called, “environmentally clean” “electronic/digital” media. This media functions on the use of monitors, hard drives, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, etc., all of them primarily non-recyclable carbon based products. Where does this stuff go once we throw it away? In most communities, it is dumped into landfills or is burned emitting toxic chemicals into the air. It even has a name, High Tech Trash. Where do we obtain the material to make more of these devices? Why, we use more fossil fuels of course.
Guiyu in China’s Guangdong Province is the world’s largest electronic waste site, with an estimated 80% of its 150,000 population working in the e-waste processing business. Source.
We can ignore the facts and listen to the misinformed, but the reality is that every time we buy a new electronic media device, we are contributing to more pollution. In addition, each time we use one of these devices, more energy is required. When viewed, printing is the only medium with a one-time carbon footprint and that occurs at its point of manufacture. The other media require energy every time they are used. The more they are used, then the more energy we must produce. In North America, over 50% of energy is generated from fossil fuel sources. This is not a good ecological situation. Many studies continue to be focused on these issues. Some examples are: the UN News Centre, the Environmental Literacy Council, the It Environment Initiative and many more.
In our company, our multimedia division loves our digital projects, web sites, mobile apps etc., but not because we are under the misguided belief that we are helping the environment. As to which media is more ecologically friendly, we might want to give that some more thought.
Okay, so if printing has a much better environmental record than we were led to believe, how about marketing results? What does print have to offer? According to the Winterberry Group, Direct Marketing mailings grew at a 5.6% rate to $163 billion (USA) in 2011 generating nearly $2 trillion in sales. The ROI on this was $12.00 of sales per dollar of advertising expense versus $5.24 for general advertising. Target Marketing’s 2012 Media Usage Forecast states that 69% of marketers will use Direct Mail for acquisition in 2012. In June, 2012, The Atlantic Monthly Group reported that the print medium is still capturing 25% of the total USA ad spend dollars. Printing and Direct Mail lives and is doing very well, thank you.
The next questions must be: If printing is doing so well, is environmentally positive and is used by so many, how can you use print effectively in your marketing efforts? We reviewed some facts and methods in our communications of May 11, 23 and June 11, 2012. The subjects were Initial Contacts, QR Codes and PURLs. Essentially, printed material is a very effective doorway to your other media connections.
You do remember ME, right? Then you would remember that ME controls the conversation now and ME wants a relevant conversation. In addition, ME controls the method of contact. You must obtain permission to talk to ME with one consistent exception – Mail. Yes, ME will accept your attempt to communicate with them through the mail. It is not considered intrusive and unlike every other method of communication, ME will accept that you did not have permission to do so. Now, if you do not communicate with something that resonates with ME, then you will be ignored and your message will move to the recycle bin and turned into who knows what, napkins perhaps. I do this all the time.
“You had me at hello.” A great line in a pretty good movie, but how often does this happen in real life? Not too often. ME wants more than “hello” and you want to form a business relationship with ME. Next we will have a look at good Direct Mail practices.
Next week: How will Direct Mail get to ME?