Direct mail, also known as advertising mail, is the process of sending correspondence directly to a customer’s physical mailbox. It is one of the oldest and most trusted forms of mail marketing and continues to convert leads to paying customers today. It is especially popular amongst small businesses for its ability to directly communicate with consumers responsible for brand development and growth. Continue reading to find out how you can streamline your direct mail strategy as a small business.

  1. Know your customers

Before you embark on your next direct mail campaign, you must identify your intended target audience. This can be the difference between your business succeeding or falling to the bottom of the pile. Start by categorising your customer database by a number of key demographics. This can include age, gender, occupation, industry or sector, income, education level, relationship status, geographical area, address, and even hobbies and interests. Subcategorising your customers can provide valuable insights into consumer behaviour and trends and allow you to compose specialised mailing lists going forward. There are several data management systems available to streamline this process and enable you to get to know your loyal customer base on a personal level. 

  1. Automate your processes

By automating your direct mail processes, you can free up time better spent on tasks relating to the daily running of the business. It removes the need for manual intervention and saves a considerable amount of time, effort, and money in the long run. Before you offer direct mail automation, you must consider how you will design, source, and deliver your next campaign. You should also consider all material costs and adjust your strategy as necessary going forward. Direct mail automation can be implemented in a number of ways by a number of different industries or sectors. For example, an estate agent may send a postcard or personalised letter to homeowners residing within a certain proximity of a recent property sale in the local area. A pet store, on the other hand, may curate a personalised brochure or leaflet recommending a specific brand of pet food or offering discounts or promotions based on a brand popular with existing customers. To find out how to automate direct mail for your small business and eliminate risk, contact a leading global API provider, such as Lob, today. 

  1. Customise your approach

As soon as you have established your intended target audience, you must customise your approach going forward. By knowing who you are selling to and adjusting your marketing strategy as necessary, you are much more likely to attract prospective customers and generate sales. Customisation is the key to effective direct mail marketing campaigns. By connecting with your customers on a personal level, they will feel valued and appreciated and be encouraged to continue shopping with you as opposed to your competitors. Examples of personalised direct mail options include brochures, newsletters, flyers, coupons, and promotions.  

  1. Analyse and revise your mailing list on a regular basis 

Mailing lists are the bread and butter of any business, large or small. By analysing and revising your mailing list on a regular basis, you can ensure you are reaching customers most likely to purchase your goods and services and prevent wasted resources. In the past, it was common practice to target direct mail marketing at your entire customer base in the hopes of converting leads to paying customers. Today, this is not only a waste of valuable time and money but is unlikely to have a direct impact on sales. If your mailing list has been categorised, customised, automated, and revised on a regular basis, you can retain your existing customer base and surge profits. A clean mailing list is key to small business success. 

  1. Keep up to date with current trends  

Direct mail marketing is constantly evolving and progressing. By keeping up to date with current trends, you can ensure you are providing your customers with the highest degree of customer service and suggesting a series of offers or discounts they simply can’t refuse. There are a number of ways to do this. Reading direct mail publications and checking out relevant websites on a regular basis can inform you of any recent developments that may affect your direct mail marketing strategy going forward. As technological advancements continue to drive the direct mail industry, keeping up to date with current trends can help you stay ahead of the curve and stand out from the crowd. With digital alternatives expanding at a rapid rate, finding ways to maximise your direct mail campaign and guarantee its success is more important than ever before. 

  1. Track feedback and responses 

By tracking feedback and responses to your direct mail processes, you can adjust your strategy going forward. In order to do so, you must have a system in place ahead of time. By failing to track feedback and responses, there is no way of knowing how your customers are reacting to your campaign or even if it has been successful in generating sales. It can be easy to assume it has had a positive effect on customers if you notice a sudden increase in sales. However, by tracking your progress at regular intervals, you can make changes as necessary and continue to market to the current needs and wants of your loyal customer base. When it comes to tracking progress, direct mail can be more difficult than email or online-based alternatives. A unique trackable phone number, URL, or QR code can allow you to attribute sales or leads to your recent direct mail campaign.   

  1. Be patient 

It can be easy to launch a direct mail campaign and expect results immediately. This is a common myth amongst new or small businesses or those unfamiliar with the process of direct mail marketing. The most important skill a small business owner can have is patience. It takes time, effort, and money to grow and develop a small business. By accepting this fact, you are much more likely to reap the rewards of a successful direct mail marketing campaign and appreciate each customer and transaction it generates. Give your campaign time to flourish before you admit defeat. This can allow you to build patience and perseverance which are fundamental skills for the development and growth of your direct mail strategy and business as a whole. 

  1. Follow up with recipients  

By following up with direct mail recipients after a predetermined period of time, you can find out how successful your campaign has been and whether or not it converted leads into paying customers. If the first round of correspondence failed to generate a response or a sale, a follow-up letter or second mailer a few weeks later can be all it takes to encourage a customer to browse your goods and services and make a purchase. It also gives customers an opportunity to be heard and engaged with on a personal level. 

Direct mail is one of the most effective methods of directly marketing your goods and services to existing customers. By knowing your customers, automating your processes, customising your approach, analysing and revising your mailing list on a regular basis, keeping up to date with current trends, tracking feedback and responses, being patient, and following up with recipients, you can streamline the entire process and boost sales.

Photo credits: eOffice

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