Direct Mail Marketing (© sdecoret / Fotolia.com)
Direct mail marketing is subset of direct marketing. It involves organizations sending promotional materials, such as letters, postcards, flyers, and catalogs, to past, current or possible clients or customers. Direct mail campaigns can be consumer and business markets, and the mailings are often directed to a targeted audience. Generally, it involves bulk mailings; however, smaller quantities of mail can be sent out. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into direct mail marketing.
Direct mail marketing is a form of direct marketing, a form of advertising that involves targeting specific demographics that are likely to purchase products or services from a company. Direct mail marketing involves sending out promotional materials to a targeted audience, which typically consists of past customers, recent customers or potential customers. For example, someone who purchase a product from a company in the past might receive a catalog in the mail from that company. This is known as direct mail marketing.
How Direct Mail Marketing Works
The process of direct mail marketing begins with compiling a database of prospects to send promotional materials to through the mail. There are a number of ways companies can build this database. Some common ways include:
- Saving information of customers who have purchased products and/or services in the past.
- Collecting details and contact information of people who have visited a company’s website, who have visited a store, or who have filled out a questionnaire.
The people who are listed on the database are those who marketers send direct mail advertisements to.
The Pros and Cons of Direct Mail Marketing
As with all marketing campaigns, there certain advantages and disadvantages associated with direct mail marketing.
- It targets a specific demographic that is likely to be interested in the products or services that are being advertised, and are therefore likely to make purchases.
- It can be extremely effective, if it is employed correctly; for example, if the proper audience is targeted and if the promotional materials are engaging and eye-catching.
- It is more cost-effective than other types of direct marketing, as bulk mailing is usually offered at a discounted rate.
- Many consumers view the promotional materials that are sent via direct mail marketing as junk mail, and hence, they throw it out before they ever read it.
- If the mailings do not yield results, it can be costly rather than cost-effective.
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There are several promotional materials that can be used in a marketing campaign that mails items directly to a targeted demographic. Some of the materials that are often used include:
- Catalogs. One of the most commonly used promotional materials in direct marketing campaigns are catalogs. They are extremely effective, as they allow prospects to actually see what it is that a company offers. Including a coupon with a catalog is an excellent way to encourage people to make a purchase.
- Discounts and specials announcements. Flyers, postcards and other materials can be used as coupons for a special discount or a special on pricing. For example, you might send out a coupon that offers a certain percentage off if prospects purchase within a certain time frame.
- Reminders. Companies that offer products that will need to be replenished or services that will need to be repeated can use direct mail marketing to remind their customers that they need to order again. For example, a landscaping company might mail reminders to customers when their lawn needs to be fertilized again, or a dental office might send out a reminder when their patients are due for their next visit.
- Samples. If it isn’t cost prohibitive, sending out samples of a product can also be a great way to encourage sales via direct mail marketing. For example, sending a small sample of a beauty product or a household cleaner will allow prospects to use the product and determine if purchasing it will be worth their while.