For most small to medium businesses, email and social media marketing are the most cost effective ways to reach a large audience, but that doesn’t mean direct mail should be completely ruled out of your marketing plan. Direct mail can be extremely effective if executed correctly and it doesn’t have to cost the earth either.
Here, we’re going to take a look at some of the most cost effective solutions when it comes to direct mail marketing, we’ll also take a look at some of the best examples of direct mail and why they can work for you too, even if you’re on a shoestring budget.
Know Your Audience
Living in an age where technology is king, it’s easy to assume that everyone that you want to target can be reached via technological means, but what about those that may not be of age or aren’t widely internet savvy?
If you’re looking to target the older baby boomer generation for example, it’s important to know that baby boomers make up one of the smallest number of social media users by demographic. Based on this, reaching out to them via direct mail may prove more effective.
The same goes for those that are too young for social media and email. A fine example of cost effective direct mail marketing that targets the youngsters amongst us is a piece that was produced by Planet Kids, an independent play school chain based in Bangalore, India.
The piece was designed to act as an interactive invite to an event, the invite was delivered as a single A4 piece of paper that could be folded to create an appealing wildlife character hand puppet, the children would engage and become excited by these charming characters and the idea of attending the event. That excitement would then transfer to the parents, ultimately leading them to attend the event with their children. As the marketing piece consisted of just one piece of paper, material and printing costs were kept low, reducing spend and waste.
Creativity is Key
Though the levels of competition with direct mail are lower than in your inbox, that doesn’t mean you should shy away from getting creative with your marketing piece, especially if you don’t want it to go straight in the recycling bin.
If you don’t feel that your design skills are up to scratch, outsourcing design work can be hugely beneficial but creativity doesn’t have to be extravagant, sometimes the most effective piece can be the simplest. Take this piece of direct mail from The Theatre Academy of Bratislava for example, they were promoting their production of Shakespeare’s MacBeth which had a modern twist. They wanted to send out an invitation that would pique the interest of a somewhat younger audience, so they took something that most are familiar with (product packaging from a well known fast food chain) and made clever alterations to highlight their event. At a glance, the simple paper food bag is like any other, but looking a little more closely would reveal all of the information required to attend the production. This cross over between classic literature and contemporary consumer culture worked and the piece drew their intended audience to the performance.
Using something as simple as a paper bag and single colour silkscreen print can dramatically reduce the price of production, whilst still drawing attention for creativity.
Personalising a piece of direct mail can make a huge difference to your campaign as it instantly connects your intended audience with you and what you’re trying to convey. Simply including a name on marketing material can add importance and also shows that effort has been taken to move away from generic marketing.
A great example of this would be an advertisement of the KitKat Chunky bar that was produced by Nestlé for the UK market. Using striking colours and inspired by the familiar and trusted Royal Mail calling card, a smart move because the receiver would be inclined to read the card in detail. Much like a regular card, a call to action was also included, encouraging the receiver to keep hold of the card and to claim their free bar. Offering a free sample would also provide Nestlé with the follow up insight that they require, a measurable success rate with the opportunity to cross sell if required.
Though including a name on a direct mail campaign can take longer from an administrative point of view, the returned loyalty can be significantly higher and therefore the return on investment would be greater.
Devising a direct mail campaign may not seem like an option for some businesses. But knowing who it is you’re targeting, creative and thought provoking design with a personal touch can be a cost effective channel that will allow you to connect with those that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.