Despite the onslaught and seeming dominance of online marketing over the past couple decades, the truth of the matter is that traditional marketing methods like direct mail still generate more leads and get higher conversion rates.
Plus, direct mailing avoids the technical problems of formating, filtering, and blacklisting, while not requiring any SEO work-over to ensure it reaches your target market.
It’s true that direct mail campaigns cost more than most online campaigns, but they don’t waste as much either when you use highly targeted mailing lists – and the results make up for the cost so that direct mail should be at least one of the key marketing tools in your business’ toolbox.
But how can direct mail campaigns be done to get the biggest results at the lowest possible cost? Here are 4 approaches to consider:
1. Use Color Wisely
Small business copy machines of a high enough caliber will be able to produce high-quality, color sales letters at rapid pace. The machine and ink you use directly impacts how sharp and professional your letter will appear to your prospects, and it will save you money as opposed to paying a printer to mass produce your direct mail ads.
Consider that you can use a business copier for numerous other purposes for years to come, and it only makes sense to invest one and use it for your direct mail campaign as well.
You want to use no more than 3 colors that nicely complement or contrast on your sales letter. Don’t overuse it or it will look cluttered instead of professional or exciting. And you want to balance color with cost anyway improve your overall ROI from the ad campaign.
2. A Postcard Campaign
Besides a one or two page sales letter with lots of color, which is the most usual direct mail tactic, also consider the alternatives. A postcard campaign is one of them.
Why use postcards to advertise? First, they’re cheap to produce and to mail, especially if you use online printing services for postcards that are available.
Second, postcards have a good track record of generating phone calls and website visits from recipients. You can use the whole front side of the card for graphics, branding, and a short message and the whole back for the specific offer and a phone number, website address, or a simple map to your physical location.
3. Direct Mail Flyers
Your color copier will come in handy again if you choose a direct mail flyer campaign. Top of the line copiers can even roll fold them for you. This is a very cheap method to use, and it works well for small, local businesses.
Put a short “teaser” message on the front tab, your main message and graphics in the middle section, and address and contact information on the bottom fold for best results.
4. Send Out “Invitations”
Everyone likes to be invited to an event. It makes them feel special and included. But personal-style “invitation ads” can accomplish much the same thing in a direct mail campaign.
Invitations could be to a grand opening or “reopening” after extensive renovation, to a special sale event, to a product demonstration, or to a raffle event for only your most loyal customers. There is no special ad-form for invitations: sales letters, flyers or postcards could all include them.
There are many other effective direct mail tips and strategies as well, of course, like sending out special deliveries by FedEX to select customers for a high response rate or including pens, refrigerator magnets, or other branded giveaways in mail-outs. But these four ideas are a good start to basic, effective direct mail advertising for small businesses.