Direct Mail Is Not Dead

If you are a sales professional (in any industry), odds are you are challenged with prospecting and ensuring your pipeline is full of leads that will help you acquire new business. The most common prospecting methodology uses a multi-channel approach: a combination of cold calling, social spamming (e-mails and/or targeted advertisements) and direct mail. Direct mail can have a bit of an “old-school” reputation but writing it off in your prospecting efforts would be a mistake.

When it comes to direct mail, many people may be accustomed to including magnets or pens with printed marketing materials, and with so much digital marketing being dispersed today, it is important to continue to make your direct mail piece stand out amongst all the noise. When creating a direct mail piece for your prospecting campaigns, keep two things in mind: maintain your campaign message and provide your prospect with value.

Maintain Your Campaign Message

On average, it takes six attempts to connect with a prospect. Knowing that your campaign will require numerous touches, it is important to create messaging that is cohesive across all the channels you will be using. If you are undecided on whether you should be using direct mail, consider that targeted B2B direct mail has a response rate of nearly 37 times that of e-mail alone. Sending only e-mails is not enough to capture a prospect’s attention. With the average person receiving 121 e-mails per day, it can be extremely difficult to distinguish yourself amidst the clutter of a prospect’s inbox.

For this reason, it is not only important that you include more than digital touches within your campaign, but maintain your campaign message throughout each of the channels used to ensure consistency. For example, if you send an e-mail about product trends, make your next touch a direct mail piece that features those trends and includes messaging that ties back to your e-mail. This helps the recipient to know there is a real person behind the campaign. In addition to being consistent with messaging, use variable data whenever you can to personalize the mail piece. There is no better way to make someone feel they matter and let them know they are not just another prospect. It also helps you meet your quota by giving them a product or message that is specific to them.

Sample messaging: “Hey {first name},

I wanted to show you firsthand what I was referring to in my e-mail when I mentioned a, b, c … I think these trends would be great to incorporate into {company name}’s next corporate event or product launch. I saw you are currently doing x, y, z and I had some ideas I wanted to share with you that can further enhance these strategies.”

Even if your prospects do not open your e-mail, they may be inclined to go back and look for it after receiving the direct mail piece. Chances are they will recognize you and your company name, which can lead to more engagement for future e-mails and communications.

Provide Your Prospect With Value

Along with making sure your campaign messaging is consistent throughout each channel you are using, another way to ensure you are getting the most out of your direct mail pieces is to add value to the prospect. Being in the promotional products industry, we have exposure into industry news and trending products, and it is important to help prospects fully recognize the power that promotional products can have when used thoughtfully and effectively. No matter what industry your prospect is in, direct mail is the perfect channel to support your message paired with physical products that can bring your campaign to life. In the promotional products world, it can be easy to routinely send a branded towel or notebook with a handwritten note but consider the value it’s really providing to your prospect.

To ensure your direct mail piece is adding value, think about the message you are conveying and then select products that further enhance that message. For example, if you are trying to close a fast-food restaurant account and need a piece that will blow their socks off, would you send them a branded mug? A branded mousepad? With endless, creative product options at your fingertips, let’s hope not! This is where the power of promotions and customization come in. In this situation, let’s pretend you want to show them how your team can take the most common and ordinary promotional products and make them extraordinary. By keeping your audience and your message in mind, you guarantee your piece will connect with them and provide value.

So, what do you send this fast-food restaurant prospect? How about a piece that is a replica of a typical fast-food meal and uses the most common, ordinary promotional products in completely custom shapes and designs, making them extraordinary?

By keeping your messaging consistent throughout various communication channels and putting thought into your direct mail piece to ensure it provides value to the prospect, your campaigns are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Pictured above: Custom products in this mailer included a ketchup packet USB, a cheeseburger Bluetooth speaker, a French Fry tote, a milkshake coolie and a milkshake-printed/chocolate-scented t-shirt.


Lisa Ghera is marketing manager at distributor Boundless in Austin, Texas, where she is responsible for lead generation.

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