A good marketing manager knows that when it comes to effective, personalized advertising, direct mail is still the gold standard.
While there’s no arguing that we’re firmly planted in the digital ad age, direct mail marketing continues to be one of the most successful means of reaching out to leads. Its response rate is 10-30 times higher than email, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
Still, there’s a time and place for everything. Marketing methods are more diversified than ever, and a comprehensive campaign requires both print and digital components to really make its mark.
Getting the most out of your direct mail efforts requires a strategy around not just what types of marketing materials to use, but the best times to use them. Here are seven times during the sales funnel to ditch the digital and go with direct mail.
1. Awareness: Present Your Solution
You already know the value of a good first impression. And with so many other things competing for your target audience’s attention, direct mail remains one of the most efficient ways of building awareness in the earliest stages of the buyer’s journey.
Use prospecting to target and qualify potential leads, and then send out mailers that succinctly explain the solution you can provide. Tie in your direct mail with digital components, including personalized URLs and offers as a way to inspire movement to the next step and monitor who’s moving forward. Targeted ad content can increase sales opportunities by more than 20%, so aim broadly – but personalize each mailing as much as you can.
2. Interest: Stand Out From the Competition
Customers in this stage of the sales funnel know about your product or service but are still gathering the information they need to determine whether your company is the best fit. At this point, your mail marketing campaign should be focused on answering questions that show what separates you from your competitors. Specifically: how you’re different and why you’re a better choice.
Pay special attention to those customers who have followed through on calls to action in your previous marketing efforts, but continue reaching out to that broad target list. Just because someone doesn’t connect in the awareness stage doesn’t mean you didn’t pique their interest later on.
3. Evaluation: Get Specific
Evaluation is the last stage before a customer makes a decision. Your goal at this point is to communicate clearly and compellingly what you have to offer. Use testimonials to show evidence of past successes, and invite potential customers to sign up for a demo, webinar, or informational meeting that will address the unique ways you can assist them.
In one study, 48% of consumers said they hold on to certain pieces of direct mail for future reference. If any of your potential leads have been holding out and waiting to move forward, now is your chance to appeal to them with a concrete step they can take.
4. Decision: Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse
By now, your prospects should have a clear idea about who you are and what you can do for them. Your goal: make it as easy as possible for them to follow through. If you haven’t already, send out package-specific deals that are directly related to your potential customers’ needs with personalized touches that show you understand who they are and how to provide them with the best experience possible.
Make use of data you’ve gathered in mailings from previous stages, too. For example, if you’ve found a high success CTR on personalized URLs, double down with your digital cross-marketing and simplify a potential customer’s decision-making process.
5. Purchase: Seal the deal
Your message at this stage: “Buy now.” Create a sense of urgency that inspires immediate action. Tie in your direct mail campaign to a time-sensitive promotion or holiday so that your customers see clear value in making their purchase at that time versus continuing to wait.
Don’t be afraid to continue aiming wide at this point – customer journeys vary, and many people skip the consideration stages and simply jump in when there’s a good deal.
6. Re-Evaluation: Follow up
The post-purchase stage may be the most critical aspect of the entire sales funnel. You get the most long-term value out of existing customers, both for their prospects as a repeat customer and their capacity to serve as brand advocates.
Keep the relationship going strong by following up with direct mail after a service or product has been provided. Use it as an opportunity to check in on their level of satisfaction and see what else you can do for them.
Provide further information related to previously completed projects. For example, offer tips on how to use their new product or lifestyle-based content that keeps your brand name relevant. Encourage them to share reviews and testimonials that can help you bring in more customers.
7. Repurchase: Build on Your Foundation
Turn your one-time customers into long-time customers by using direct mail to offer targeted deals that have inherent appeal. Offer deals for returning customers and/or reach out again with time-sensitive promotions. Now is also a great time to push for brand advocacy, so incentivize existing customers to spread the word to others through referral deals.
Direct mail can help you maximize your prospects in this stage by expanding on what you’ve already achieved, so don’t neglect continued follow-ups with the customers who have responded positively to your marketing efforts.
Get creative with your direct mail, always classifying both who you’re trying to reach and what stage of the sales funnel you’re trying to reach them in. The more you can target your marketing strategy, the better chance you have of getting prospects through the cycle.