We had a very interesting discussion at a recent Board Meeting which started with the statement that DM was a waste of money. In fact it backs up what Rob Ruffalo of Impact Marketing said 5 years ago: “direct mail marketing is nothing but a method of wasting money that biggest corporations may afford, but for a business person with small businesses, it can have devastating effects.”
But who believes this and is it true?
Who’s had the flyer through the door for a gardener or a window cleaner and acted on it? What about the local takeaway with their latest menu or 2 for 1 pizza offer! In fact, I personally ran a direct mail campaign with Royal Mail last year, in my capacity as marketing consultant to my own golf club, and it generated 7 new members and countless people who came to use the bar and restaurant. We estimated the ROI (based on just 1 year of subscriptions) to be around 350%. Who has signed up for boxes of wine or beer using a discount voucher? (well millions of people have!) or booked a holiday as a result of an insert in your regular paper or magazine? So the fact is, it can work but you have to find a way that ensures that people read it and act on it rather than ‘junk’ it!
One member on the Board related his tale, that his biggest client came as a result of a direct mail piece that just happened to land on the right desk at the right time. Over the life of that one client so far, he’s generated £millions.
The problem is that direct mail people tell you that email marketing is dead; emailers tell you that direct mail is a waste and so is Facebook advertising; and there are plenty out there who’ll tell you that if you don’t advertise or run pay per click on social media, you’re missing a massive opportunity.
As a Board we agreed. The important thing is to have a mix. There is rarely just one way to do things and trying different methods, and monitoring the results is the best way to approach your marketing. It all starts with knowing your customers – well potential customers – Where are they? What do they do? Try different approaches: different days of the week, different times of the month, different headlines and make sure that you have a compelling offer that addresses their needs or desires rather than just outlining your product or services features. Above all, have clear a call to action!
It goes without saying that you need to measure your results. Be realistic about what can be achieved and if it ain’t working try something different.