Putting the Direct Back In Direct Mail

By Peleg Top

I love getting things in the mail. I’m not talking about seeing emails pour into my inbox. I’m taking about good, old-fashioned paper delivered to my mailbox.

Getting something in the mail has always been a special occasion. Every day, I have a few moments of joy when I get something delivered to my mailbox. It’s like getting gifts every day, and who doesn’t like gifts?

Over the years I’ve received thousands of printed pieces in the mail. Bills, checks, brochures, catalogs, promotional postcards, and of course, lots of junk mail. But the piece of mail that always catches my attention first is whatever is addressed by hand.

When I get a piece that is hand addressed, I know that it was directly created for me. Someone took the time to put thought and energy into reaching me and getting my attention.

Direct mail used to be the only way to reach people who have not heard of you yet. Before email marketing took over, we used to get a lot more things in the mail, and today it’s pretty rare to get marketed to the old-fashioned way.

It’s not that I have anything against email marketing, I think it’s a great way to keep in touch with people, but when it comes to reaching people in a personal and direct way, nothing beats sending something in the mail.

For you to embrace direct mail marketing and make it be an effective marketing tool you will need to first change your thinking around the idea of what direct mail is in your life.

I see a lot of companies wasting money and resources in trying to reach prospects with a very low return on their effort and investment. For traditional direct mail campaigns, a 1% return is considered a success.

Is that really worth your effort? For large companies, it may be the best way for them to reach their customers; but for you, a small creative shop or even a one-person business, it’s going to have to be a lot more direct than the usual direct mail approach.

Here are five things to consider when you create a direct mail promotion:

1.    Create a small list of people you want to reach. Start with 10 people. They can be prospects you have some kind of a connection with already.

2.    Create something you can print and mail that is helpful. If you plan on sending things to showcase yourself and your work, think again. Your prospects don’t have the time or care enough about you yet. Unfortunately, your work will not speak for itself. Make it about them. Create something that can add value to their world.

3.    Send your piece as if you were sending a gift to a good friend. Take the time and put some effort into how the piece gets packaged and delivered. Your intentions are important.

4.    Put a personal touch into it. My rule of thumb is hand write all the addresses. When someone sees a mailed piece that is handwritten, they will be sure to open it. That’s the first thing you want them to do, right?

5.    Follow up. Sending just one thing in the mail and expecting it to give results is not realistic. The point is to touch your client on an ongoing basis and to show them that you have something of value to offer them. By keeping a consistency in your mailings, you are also showing that you understand marketing and practice what you preach.

This day and age, when everyone gets bombarded with emails, a direct mail approach can make you stand out from the crowd. Make your direct mail so direct that it focuses on one person at a time – your next client.

Copyright 2011 Peleg Top. Article reprinted here with permission.

Well known designer, entrepreneur, author, and public speaker Peleg Top is now a business design consultant and mentor to creative entrepreneurs. Read more about his business at www.PelegTop.com.

“After 20 years of running my own business and mentoring dozens of creative entrepreneurs from around the world, I’ve come to understand one thing clearly – it’s not only what I do in my business that brings me success – it’s who I am, how I think and what I create. And that’s what I am here to teach you.”


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