Originally appeared on Xerox Small Business Solutions.
By Rieva Lesonsky
As a small or mid-size business owner, you’re undoubtedly using email, social media and online advertising to reach your customers. But there’s a surprisingly effective marketing method you may be ignoring: direct mail.
B2B marketers in a study by Demand Gen Report last year rated direct mail highly effective; in fact, more than 20 percent say it’s their most effective conversion tactic. No wonder B2B marketers in the study plan to use direct mail more often this year.
B2C businesses are also using direct mail to great effect—especially with consumers aged 9 to 21. Raised on email and texts, this age group finds actual “mail” exciting: Some 83 percent “love” getting physical mail, according to Mintel.
1. Designing Effective Direct Mail Pieces
In a world where everyone’s email inbox is swamped with marketing messages, direct mail helps differentiate yours from the pack. With less competition, your direct mail piece is more likely to be noticed. To create direct mail pieces that stand out, follow these guidelines:
2. Keep it simple
Your offer should be the largest text element on the piece so it immediately captures the customer’s attention. Similarly, one large image has more impact than a mailer crowded with images.
To reinforce your brand message, colors in your direct mail pieces should reflect the colors used in all your marketing graphics, such as your logo. Consider using “spot color”—one brightly colored element in a black-and-white piece—to draw attention to the most important part of your piece.
4. Pay attention to paper
The paper you use reflects your brand, so choose high-quality stock. High-gloss or matte paper finishes, as well as unusual paper sizes and shapes, can help your piece stand out in a pile of ordinary envelopes.
5. Get personal
Personalization will make your direct mail piece more effective. Use customer data you’ve collected to personalize direct mail pieces with customer names or different offers for different customer segments.
6. Include a call to action
Clearly state what you want the customer to do—visit your website (set up a special landing page for the offer), call your business to set up a consultation or bring the mailer in to your store for a discount.
7. Perfecting Your Direct Mail Pieces
Need help designing your direct mail pieces? Xerox has professional direct mail templates you can use to create a wide range of pieces, including flyers, greeting cards, postcards, brochures, newsletters and coupons. You’ll save time and money, and you can feel confident knowing you’re using designs that have proven effective.
You’ll still want to test different types of designs and offers to see which work best for your specific customers. With Xerox multifunction printers (MFPs), you can print out several options for your direct mail piece to see exactly how each will look.
You can also print out one-off direct mail pieces to send individual customers personalized messages quickly. For instance, after installing a homeowner’s air conditioner, print and send a thank-you card and enclose an offer for 25 percent off annual maintenance. You ran into a former customer at a trade show? Print a personalized greeting card and jot a note asking her to meet for lunch next week.
With Xerox Mobile Print, you can print securely from your smartphone or tablet, so you can work on direct mail pieces wherever you are—or quickly print a personalized piece to send right away, even when you’re on the road.
Once you’ve finalized each direct mail piece, Xerox ConnectKey enabled multifunction printers make it easy to print and scan it to the cloud. You’ll have a record of direct mail pieces sent and your entire team can easily access them and collaborate.
Last, but not least, make sure your direct mail program is part of an integrated marketing strategy. Each element—direct mail, email, websites, phone calls—should support the rest to attract, nurture and close the deal with a new customer.