Make “offline marketing” work for you
With the buzz around social media and the opportunities it provides to reach and interact with customers, it’s easy to lose sight of seemingly old-fashioned marketing tactics. However, those tried and true practices can still provide unique benefit, particularly for reaching business customers. Take direct mail, for instance. You’ve probably noticed that you get less mail than you used to. This is no different for your business customers. One estimate is that the average businessperson receives personal mail only once every seven weeks, while they receive in excess of one hundred emails a day. It has also been shown that response rates for direct mail are significantly (10-30 times) higher than for email. Less competition for your customers’ attention and more engagement – those are stats that any marketer can appreciate.
Are you convinced that direct mail might be worth a try? If so, here are four best practices to keep in mind as you design your direct mail campaign:
You likely already have a list of target customers, and if not you should build one before you do anything else. Use this list as the basis for your direct mail campaign, focusing on those organizations for which you have a personal contact to send the mailing to. If you are targeting different types of customers (for example, different industries or different buyers) you should design custom mailings for each target that speaks to the attributes and benefits they will care most about. You should also have different messages for customers with different levels of past exposure to your company (for example, prospects, lapsed customers, or current customers).
It probably goes without saying that you want to make your mail stand out. Consider trying one or more of the following: a handwritten personal message, unique packaging, a gift, an interactive item like a flash drive with a video, or a sample of your product (if possible). Some organizations have had success having their mail delivered by courier rather than standard mail, so it’s almost impossible to ignore. Even using a stamp rather than bulk rate or metered markings can make your mail appear more personal and stand out.
A well-recognized rule-of-thumb is that a direct mail campaign needs at least three mailings to be effective. Each mailing should be unique and build on the one before it. If you do choose a flashier format for your initial mailing as suggested above, you could consider a simpler format (such as a postcard) for follow-up mailings to keep costs more manageable. After you send your last piece of mail, give customers a call. They won’t always follow through with reaching out to you, even if they are interested, so this is the best way to ensure you have an opportunity to provide any additional information they need and close the sale.
While direct mail can be effective in isolation, it becomes even more powerful when it is complemented with other marketing channels and activities. Each mailing should have a call to action that entices customers to engage in other ways with your company and the appropriate contact information for them to do so. For example, direct them to your website, your social media sites, and/or your sales team. Make sure that these additional touch points complement and reinforce the messages you have sent via direct mail.
Now, you are armed with ideas that can help you make direct mail a successful customer acquisition tool for your B2B business. Happy mailing!