Direct mail regularly gets a bad rap as an exclusively outbound-focused tactic that doesn’t keep up with the ways buyers want to consume content.
But in the right situations, direct mail could be a crucial differentiator in a world where 78% of consumers have unsubscribed from a company’s email list because the company was sending too many emails.
Just as a product that’s similar to a dozen competitors will struggle to take off, marketing that looks like everyone else’s simply won’t be memorable. Classic digital marketing tactics like email have become so overcrowded that approaching inbound creatively is crucial to standing out from your competition.
The key to doing direct mail right is keeping it aligned with your inbound marketing funnel.
Never forget your main objective: you want to lead prospects back online to continue nurturing them there. Any piece of mail you send must direct prospects online to help you track them throughout the process — whether that’s including a link to a landing page or a code they can enter on your website. Plus, the more information you have about what kinds of offers they respond to, the better you can speak to their pain points and specific needs.
Identifying Your Potential Direct Mail Audience
Prior to beginning any marketing campaign, your team should be laser-focused on your potential customers’ preferences and needs.
Your number one priority is standing out to those who are most likely to buy your product. This fundamental step shouldn’t change when you’re considering incorporating direct mail into your marketing. Inbound is all about meeting prospective customers where they are.
If your target customers don’t check their mailboxes often, they’re probably not a good fit for direct mail.
Given the plethora of other places to spend, it’ll be hard to justify spending on direct mail over, for example, paid content promotion on social media if your target audience is addicted to their smartphones.
However, if your potential customers are old enough to own homes or apartments and are likely to check their mailboxes often, direct mail could prove to be effective. It’s all about understanding what your audience needs.
If you’ve identified that sending a letter or postcard is an effective way to reach your particular prospects, you can begin to think about the moments in the buyer’s cycle when it’s best to reach out with the personalized touch of a physical piece of mail.
Being Conscious of Your Prospects’ Stage in the Buyer Cycle
A prospect finds a piece of content useful and subscribes to your blog to stay in the know. So what’s your next step?
Keep in mind that all your prospect did was subscribe to an email list. That means they’re probably still a pretty “cold” lead. If they found a blog post through organic search or because they saw a headline that looked interesting on LinkedIn, they’re not going to appreciate receiving any type of content that attempts to make a hard sell, let alone a postcard explaining your pricing.
Think about the number of coupons and offers that you’ve discovered in your mailbox, only to toss them in the recycling bin immediately. Those pieces of mail probably weren’t relevant to needs you’d expressed.
You need to make the content you’re offering via direct mail speak to the individual. That means that if at all possible, you want to segment your mailing list in the same way you’d segment an email list. Can you match a physical offer on a piece of paper to the article or offer the prospect just opened online?
Ultimately, striking at the right time with direct mail comes down to maintaining awareness of your prospects’ stage in the buyer’s cycle. Craft the direct mail piece that stands out from the rest by showing that your company understands their leads.