Direct Your Message to Direct Mail
In an age in which there is an unrelenting push to channel most if not all marketing efforts to digital platforms, such as email and social media, direct mail is reestablishing itself as one of the most effective tools to attract new customers/patients. Need proof? Look no further than Google. As seemingly ubiquitous as this Internet search engine is, the company uses direct mail to market its services to small and medium-sized businesses. Why? Because it’s effective.
Done well and executed correctly, direct mail is exactly that - “direct.” It is directed toward a targeted audience. The message is tailored specifically to that customer and sent to a precise, clearly defined demographic. In other words, direct mail is no longer “spray and pray.” Your audience is carefully selected based on real data and reliable research. And most importantly, it is virtually guaranteed to reach the hands of its intended recipient.
Unlike email marketing, which requires the recipient to actually open the email, and social media marketing, which requires the recipient to be willingly involved, direct mail will, in most cases, be touched by the intended recipients. After all, virtually everyone still goes to the mailbox to get the mail, and that makes direct mail marketing well worth a spot in your overall practice marketing strategy.
Consider these 10 tips for an effective direct mail campaign:
1. Remember this is direct mail, not mass mail. It bears repeating that your target market be carefully and precisely identified. The better your target, the more effective your response rate will be.
2. Presentation matters. Do not attempt to do this at home. Printing costs and creative printing options have dropped dramatically. Invest in a professionally designed print piece. The presentation should encourage the recipient to hold and look at your piece for no less than 20-30 seconds. It should not feel like an item that begs to be tossed in the trash. Rather you want it to be “counter-worthy.” In other words, the recipient will set it on the table or counter with the intention of coming back to it for further consideration - and hopefully action.
3. Use a large over-sized envelope to ensure it stands out from the drab, dreary, and predictable series of #10 envelopes that typically hold little that is interesting. Also make use of eye-catching colors. Include a “handwritten” message on the front. There are many fonts that give the appearance of being handwritten.
4. Give your reader something in addition to well-written relevant information, such as a free gift, a limited time offer, a discount, a coupon, and a deadline to take action. Focus on what you can do for the reader, and make it easy and enticing for them to take action. You want to add value as well as create excitement and interest in your service.
5. P.S. - If you’re writing a letter, include the postscript after your signature. Studies show that 30% of recipients will read this first.
6. This is personal. Sophisticated marketing tools enable you to personalize your messages. Rather than “Current Occupant” which screams “toss this item in the trash,” use the recipient’s name. Messages can be personalized and will have far greater impact and staying power.
7. Don’t ignore the obvious. Make sure that your direct mail is not only eye appealing and compelling, but also well written. Typos, poor grammar, and incorrect spelling have sunk more than a few marketers on their maiden voyage.
8. This isn’t once and done. Prospective consumers/patients need to see/hear your message multiple times, no less than five and in some cases as many as 12 times.
9. Integrate the direct mail piece with the rest of your marketing. Include a website address and a QR code that will link them immediately to the special offer on your website. Encourage them to “Like” your Facebook page, and urge them sign up for the latest news and special updates via email.
10. Consistency matters. You want a consistent message across all of your marketing channels and a consistent image. In other words, all of your marketing should reflect your practice brand in terms of message, colors, logo, etc.
Certainly, digital marketing is an essential component in your marketing plan, but don’t disregard the tried and true success of direct mail. It’s a powerful platform for delivering a specific message to a specific audience.
For more information on this topic, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
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