Does Direct Mail Marketing Really Connect in the 21st Century?

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The recent obsession with social media marketing and online marketing has left old-school direct mail marketing in the dust. Right?

The truth is that direct mail is still an effective option for many smart multichannel marketers. Even giant companies like Google invest heavily in direct mail marketing each year.

Naive Notions

Are you leaving direct mail out of your marketing mix because you think it’s too expensive?

There’s a naive notion that social media marketing is essentially free when in fact effective social media marketing either involves the investment of a substantial amount of time or a substantial amount of money if you choose to hire a professional. All marketing requires an investment of money, time or both.

Regardless of channel, all successful marketing involves targeting a relevant audience. With this in mind, I wanted to share a few simple ways that you can use good, old direct mail marketing to get more business from your target audience.

Three Ways Direct Marketing Can Work For You

1) Market to Existing Customers:
This is one of the most overlooked opportunities. The sad truth is that estimates that it costs five to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell more to an existing customer, yet many businesses have zero dollars invested in marketing to their existing customers.

I’m a huge believer in multi-channel marketing. Your customers choose to interact with you using the channel that’s most convenient for them, not the channel that’s most convenient for you. Multichannel marketing can be intimidating but done correctly, you’re not reinventing yourself with each marketing platform, you’re simply sharing a consistent marketing message across multiple platforms.

You’ve invested time and money creating a website and online presence for your business. Direct mail is a fantastic vehicle for driving existing customers to your online marketing. This includes not only your website, but also your Facebook page, Twitter account, your company blog and even your e-newsletter sign up form.

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QR Code for The Direct Mail Man

QR (Quick Response) Codes are a free and simple way to use direct mail marketing to engage your existing customers online.

Why are QR Codes important?

According to, there are now more smartphone owners in the US than there are people with college degrees. QR Code scanning grew by 1,200% in the last 6 months of last year in North America.

If you’re not already including QR Codes with your existing marketing, you need to start right away.

2) Leverage the New USPS Bulk Mail Program:
Recognizing that they were too difficult to work with and too expensive for many businesses, the USPS launched a new bulk mail program in March of this year. The program called Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) does not require a bulk mail permit or mailing list, and the postage is just 14.2 cents a piece. This is a viable, cost-effective way to target prospects by geography.

If you’d like more details on this new program, please take a look at my recent post, New Business Mail Option: Every Door Direct Mail.
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3) Target your best prospects:
Use demographics to drill down to prospects with the highest likelihood of purchasing your product or service. While bulk mail programs like Every Door Direct Mail reinforce the perception that direct mail is only appropriate for targeting prospects by geography, this is simply not true. Geography is simply one of the available demographics for targeting new prospects by mail.

Some of the most effective bulk mail campaigns involve the use of Lifestyle Mailing Lists. These lists target prospects based on their hobbies and passions. Lifestyle lists are compiled using information gathered from magazine subscriptions, product warranties, surveys and spending habits.

People lament about the amount of information that Facebook has accumulated, but this same information is accessible for offline marketing as well.

Lifestyle Mailing Lists can be used to reach out to people who like to golf, garden or collect antiques. These lists can be used to target people with certain medical ailments. There are even targeted lists of people who like to drink wine.

How do your best customers spend their time? What are their hobbies? How can you use this information to target them with your marketing?

If you prospects are other businesses, you may be interested in a Business Mailing List. These lists include a wealth of information including CEO/president/owner, estimated annual revenue, number of employees, years in business, etc. Business lists can be further targeted by industry.

Direct mail marketing is a cost-effective option for both marketing to existing customers and attracting new customers, but it often gets overlooked in favor of trendier marketing options. Maybe it’s time for you to add direct mail marketing back in your mix.

How do you incorporate direct mail in your marketing? Please share your comments below.

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