“The man slave, Shem, having run away from his good master, Hapu the Weaver, all good citizens of Thebes are enjoined to help return him. He is a Hittite, 5’2” tall, of ruddy complexion and brown eyes. […] And for his return to the shop of Hapu the Weaver, where the best cloth is woven to your desire, a whole gold coin is offered.”
From the year 1000 B.C. comes the earliest piece of direct marketing according to James Playsted Wood, author of The Story of Advertising.
In our rush to integrate an ever-expanding digital universe with marketing initiatives, we can lose sight of tried and true methods that have the potential to attract and keep customers. Direct mail campaigns has been around for centuries, according to James Playsted Wood, author of The Story of Advertising, published in 1958. The story goes that a merchant in ancient Egypt circulated copies of a“call to action” on papyrus, entreating the community to alert him to any sightings of his runaway slave. In the missive he shrewdly mentions his business, “the shop of Hapu, the Weaver, where the best cloth is woven to your desire.”
The beauty of that first direct mail campaign, slavery notwithstanding, is that Hapu couched the advertising of his wares in the telling of a story along with a specific goal. Translated to today’s omni-channel marketing, having an objective and telling a good story is inextricable to the value of a product. The bad news is that it has become incredibly challenging for any story to break through the excessive digital media rabble. Nonetheless, direct mail campaigns remain a viable and dependable conduit to engagement.
It’s proven that direct mail marketing still works. It’s the third most trusted communication amongst consumers behind print and TV ads. As a matter of fact, the least trusted channels are all digital, including pop-ups, online banner ads, and, particularly, mobile phone ads.
Direct mail is more quickly processed, easier to comprehend, and more likely to result in action. Knowing this, how does one achieve success in a direct mail campaign? It’s all in the planning. Here’s what you need to consider.
Know Your Audience
Target, segment, and target again. Your direct mail should be focused on your ideal customer and no one else. Don’t include millennials in an ad for residential stair lifts. You can include discount codes and calls to action that integrate multiple marketing channels, but make certain your target base wants what you’re pitching. Use a control group. Once you know who you’re pitching to, the key is to reach those customers when they are looking for answers.
Have an Objective
What do you want to achieve with the mailing? Be clear about this long before you hire a graphic designer. What exactly do you want customers to do? What value are you bringing to the table? Be aware that each mailer is an opportunity to boost awareness of your brand’s authority so it’s critical to be clear about objectives.
Track & Compute
Data-driven strategy is critical for your marketing campaigns. Make certain your tracking methods are solid. The most important metric is cost per acquisition — or customer acquisition cost (CAC), then cost per piece.
You might use a personalized URL (also known as a PURL), campaign-specific URL, coupon code, or QR code that can be redeemed in-store or online. These will help you benchmark for your organization and measure ROI. It’s also essential your staff are aware of all mail/QR codes and can help redeem offers efficiently.
A Call to Action is Critical
Ensure each direct mail piece includes a CTA that drives customers to a website. This will serve as the initial metric you’ll use to track success.
Don’t Forget the Human Connection
People hate to think they’re being commodified. So often in marketing we’re fixated on numbers, CTRs, and conversions. As a result, our customers cease to be, well, people. Direct mail is more personal than digital missives, providing the perfect opportunity for you to really think through what you want to say in order to provide solutions and make someone a lifetime customer.
If you’ve been diligent in targeting the right demographic, you will reach those customers who are searching for answers. This is perfect, but don’t stop there. Once they redeem your offer, follow up and collect more information; offer them something better. If your target audience are households with children, for example, you can offer a free pizza one night after first offering 15% off. That will solve the problem of what to eat on Friday night and keep them interested in what you have to say.
Your goal with direct mail should be to inspire action, offer solutions, and provide the utmost in customer service — at every touchpoint.
Elevate your direct mail campaign today with Bond. Bond allows you to send handwritten notes from your phone or computer in seconds. Simply pick your stationary, compose your message, and leave the rest to us.