The Benefits of “Snail” Mail

By October 22, 2009 March 19th, 2015 Marketing Communications

Although most companies have abandoned direct mail for more cost-effective email programs, you shouldn’t discount this valuable tool. The majority of the people that get your emails don’t even open them and others have spam filters that are filtering out your email before it even gets to them.

Direct mail is more expensive than email, but it still works. Here are some of the advantages of direct mail:

  • Reach high level customers and prospects that aren’t opening your emails.
  • Reinforce your email message and remind your customers of the offer you emailed them.
  • With fewer people using direct mail, you can stand out among your competition.

Snail Mail Marketing Tips

Direct mail is complicated. Many factors contribute to its success or failure, which makes it difficult to do effectively in-house. However, if you plan carefully, and use some of the following suggestions, you should be able to achieve success, even with a limited budget.

Fine-tune your list
A major component of any direct mail program is a qualified mailing list that’s segmented, breaking your customers and prospects into at least two different groups. With a well-defined list, you can target the needs of individual markets, and tailor your message to address the needs of each segment. If you plan to buy lists from magazines or other sources, make sure all the names you buy have been updated within the last year, and make your selections are as specific as possible.

Tailor your message
Once you’ve segmented your list, approach each segment individually, thinking about the needs of each group. Develop your messages accordingly. The more specific your message, the better your results. For example, different industries may use the same product, but you should look for different benefits for each of them. Also, mailings to customers will have a different emphasis and tone, than mailings to prospects. You can target your messages cost-effectively by printing one mailer in several different versions, or by using different cover letters.

There are many different formats your mailings can take, and which one you choose depends on many factors, such as your budget, product, message, audience, etc. The only way to know what works for your company is by trying different things, and comparing responses. If you’re going to use direct mail, you should think of it as a long-term program; something you plan to do on a regular basis.

Letter Packages
Letter packages can be developed in a variety of ways. A typical letter package includes a letter, some type of insert or brochure, and a reply card. Often, there’s also a teaser on the envelope to entice the recipient to open the package and read further. Letter packages are particularly effective for new product and service introductions. They generally out-pull self-mailers, but of course, it depends on the package.

Self-mailers are fun, offering you a variety of design formats to communicate your message. They can be black and white, two, four, or six-color, and as simple as a postcard, or have several panels, one of which should always include a business reply card(brc). Self-mailers are particularly helpful for promoting seminars because people tend to save them, and pass them around. They are also good for simple messages, offers, and announcements.

Invite Your Customers to Respond to You
Make it clear you want your customers to respond to you, and then give them different response options. The more options, the easier you make it for them to contact you. Remember, that’s your goal. So make sure to include your phone number, e-mail, website, business reply card (brc) or coupon, anything that will help you communicate with your customers.

Do you want them to request a catalog? Call to place an order? Have a sales rep call them? Give you specifications for a quote? Then let them know.