It wasn’t long ago when people dreaded checking their mail but loved looking at email.
Those trends are reversing. Yes, really!
Twenty years ago, there was a glut of direct mail advertising. Many people would receive a dozen pieces of advertising every day. Mailboxes were overflowing. It wasn’t unusual to sort mail directly over the trash because that’s where most of it was going.
The intervening years have seen a complete change in what we expect from both mail and email. First, the volume of postal mail declined precipitously. Then, spam emails exploded. Despite anti-spam legislation that won overwhelming bipartisan support, the problem continues to spiral.
At best, some email services have made strides in preventing the majority of spam emails from getting to your inbox. But it’s still there – over a hundred billion spam messages a day. And it all sits inside of your spam folder, wasting resources, “just in case” you need to sort through it by hand. Ugh!
With this in mind, postal mail is now novel, unexpected, and even fun.
Surprisingly, it also has the potential to be the most cost-effective option.
Increased Competition Means Direct Mail Wins Over Digital Advertising for “Overnight” Traffic
If you’ve read our blog, you know the concept of “overnight” traffic comes with some caveats.
You will always be paying someone. And when the cash spigot turns off, so does the traffic.
Plans for immediate traffic should be balanced with a content marketing and search engine optimization strategy enabling you to capture organic search traffic. By raising visibility in targeted searches relevant to your business, you have the opportunity to lock in long-term, low-cost online traffic.
The right digital marketing agency can win you online advertising traffic, too.
But outside of e-commerce, this isn’t usually the cornerstone of the strategy.
Google, including its subsidiary YouTube, holds the world’s largest digital advertising network. There are no comparable competitors in sight. And from the day it went live until the moment you’re reading this, advertisers scrambling to outbid each other have been driving prices into the stratosphere.
A well-designed digital advertising campaign can be highly effective, especially when it’s focused on a local service area. But it’s also important to look for chances to outmaneuver your rivals more easily. Direct mail ROI is going up because each piece is more likely to be seen than ever before.
“Everything old is new again,” and that goes double for direct mail.
A recent study from the Data & Marketing Association tells the tale: Direct mail has an average ROI of 29%, putting it just a hair beneath social media. If you’ve been diligent about Facebook and Twitter but you don’t have a direct mail plank in your strategy, it’s time to ask yourself why.
Note that this research was done in 2017. All the trends leading to the direct mail renaissance have been in full swing for the four years since. Only email marketing, which has long been known as one of the best and most cost-effective options for companies of any size, outclasses direct mail (with a 124% ROI).
On the other hand, competitive keywords in Google AdWords regularly go for $50 or more per click.
It’s the truth that most people won’t do business with a website the very first time they click on it. To give just one example, real estate agents often need to nurture their leads for weeks or months, simply because each person may be waiting for the market to pan out a certain way before they take action.
Most local businesses can’t afford to pay $50 per click to raise brand awareness and start relationships.
On the other hand, even though the price of a Forever Stamp just went up, it’s still only 58 cents.
58 cents! That is, of course, nearly 100x less than the cost of those pricey keywords. And even with all the attempts to kill it off in recent years, the United States Postal Service is still one of the fastest and most reliable in the world. You can trust that your collateral will get where it’s going on time.
There’s More to Direct Mail than Conventional Advertising Pieces
Direct mail doesn’t start and end with advertising. It’s as versatile as you want it to be.
In fact, there are three major ways direct mail is being used in today’s market:
1. Advertising Packages
Advertising packages are still a big part of the direct mail experience.
Direct mail advertising is often as simple as a well-designed postcard with a touch of personalization. This is a great way to draw attention to a limited-time offer. Because you can equip direct mail pieces with a QR code leading to a custom landing page, they don’t have to stand alone, either.
2. Brand Awareness
Dentists, local medical practices, and a variety of others gain traction with potential customers by using direct mail for brand awareness. Brand awareness pieces are often sent to prospective customers soon after they move into an area. This allows you to get in touch before any similar local businesses do.
Like other marketing collateral, brand awareness pieces should come with a hook and a call to action. Still, people enjoy these messages in part because there’s no hard sell. Since they’re so inexpensive, you can send out regular brand awareness material to kindle that initial spark of interest.
3. Relationship Building
Once someone becomes a customer, retention is the name of the game. Retaining customers means two things: Staying top of mind and creating positive experiences. You can do both with a postcard or other direct mail piece providing exclusive offers to customers based on their interests.
One terrific way to leverage direct mail for relationship building is by using it to commemorate big milestones. First purchases, birthdays, and holidays are all fair game. If you’re in a people-focused industry where it’s expected to know more about your customers, you have even more opportunities.
New York Ave Is the Central Florida Marketing Agency that Knows Direct Mail
Direct mail can be an essential part of your integrated marketing strategy. But you won’t find it offered by the average digital marketing firm. When you need creative solutions – not just more of the same with a bigger budget – you need DeLand, Florida’s own New York Ave.
As Central Florida’s premier marketing agency, we know when it’s time to go beyond digital. We help area businesses with brand development, visual identity and logo design, and much more. We also know when sharing your content offline will complement your digital efforts.
Your business exists online and off. So should your marketing. New York Ave will get you there with a marketing strategy tailored to your needs. It all starts with a meeting in our office for a cup of coffee – one more way getting offline now and then can be sweet.
Contact us today to find out more or get started.