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Thu, 2018-07-19 10:23 / By Alex

Direct Mail and You

The Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) reports that most Americans are exposed to nearly 10,000 ads every day. With all that clutter, how can one distinguish the good from the bad? How can you be sure that your marketing captures your buyers’ attention? The solution is to understand how the brain processes and retains information.

Humans now have an eight second attention span, and with all the content floating around the digital sphere, it’s easy to get overloaded and simply ignore it all. So what content truly resonates with people? The DMI reports “consumers today expect advertisements to be social, personal, and interactive.” While digital marketing, like social networking, emails, PPC, and retargeting ads, are great ways to reach your customers; they are often not as effective as Direct Mail. You may be asking yourself why? Direct Mail elicits more of an emotional response to marketing compared to digital methods. Those emotional responses are influenced by these five factors:

  1. It’s Personal – Getting something by mail already feels more personal, but when that letter or postcard or newsletter has the name and other unique details about that buyer (when they last visited your dealership, offers specific to them, etc.)  it makes for a more unique experience. Plus, buyers are more likely to respond to offers that speak to their needs.
  2. It’s Targeted – With up-to-date mailing lists layered with customer demographics, you can pinpoint your audience and those more likely to respond more accurately than other mediums.
  3. It’s Traceable – With direct mail, you can receive an accurate accounting of your campaign’s success. Things like landing page visits, questions asked, and cars driven off the lot, direct mail can help you put a number on your campaign’s metrics and helps you measure your campaign’s success.
  4. It’s Integrated – Though direct mail is an effective tool on its own, when paired with digital platforms like social media, email and PPC, direct mail is far more effective. In addition to allowing for multiple touch points, direct mail gets ten times the response rates of digital marketing.
  5. It’s Tangible – Direct mail lets your message stand out amongst the clutter of modern advertising. It will never get lost in a spam folder, and it’s tangibility makes it more memorable and engaging than digital forms of marketing. Direct mail is by nature a more expressive medium, and with it you can put the best aspects of you brand before your buyers’ in a format that’s proven to convert leads and inspire recall.

Aside from the emotional impact that direct mail has, there are also psychological studies proving that direct mail is a great way to reach your buyers. The USPS did a study to find out whether digital ads or physical ads resonated with people more. What they found is that “participants processed digital ads more quickly but had stronger recall and emotional responses to physical ads.” Statistics also show that the number of online purchases that are influenced by some type of direct mail, like a catalog, was 84%.

As for the way our brain handles direct mail? Direct mail is 21% easier for our brains to process and 70% easier for our brains to recall. Our heart rates slow when we read physical copy, and research has even found it to lower our stress levels. These stats don’t just affect Baby Boomers – Millennials (those born between 1981 and 2000) also enjoy getting and reading direct mail.

What can you do to maximize your direct mail’s impact?

  • Make it personal – Printing technology is more advanced than ever. Now, you can personalize every last detail of your mail, including the envelope. By adding your buyers’ names or personalized messages like “we miss you” “thank you for your patronage,” or “don’t forget your next appointment on xx/xx/xxxx,” your mail is sure to resonate more with your buyers.
  • A/B Testing – Split tests are another great way to track your marketing to see what is working the best. You can do this by sending out two or more different mailings to prospective buyers that feature different messages and designs to see which one achieves a better response rate. You should be split testing regularly so that you can sharpen your marketing ax and determine which type of marketing your buyers prefer. For those starting out, you can keep track of the prospects that respond in an Excel spreadsheet but it would be wise to switch to a CRM tool like Salesforce or others as soon as possible.
  • Find the optimal Cadence/Touches – The majority of people who send direct mail send out one letter or postcard and then stop. To crush your competition you must have sequential mailings, we recommend a minimum of three mailings for each campaign. If someone notifies you that they are no longer interested in your materials, then you can take their name off of your list. But until they contact you, you must assume everyone is a potential customer until they prove otherwise. 

To increase the effectiveness of each letter, reference the previous letters you have sent instead of sending the same exact letter or postcard every time. One of the greatest direct marketers of all time, Dan Kennedy, would say that one is the worst number in marketing. Sending multiple mailings and using multiple forms of media is the key to truly reaching your buyers. As long as each mailing sequence you do is profitable, you should continue mailing letters until it is no longer profitable.

  • Mind the color of everything, even the envelope – In addition to humans having a short attention span (about eight seconds), our brains also respond to different colors in different ways. Blue is a calming color, while green represents health and money. Red, yellow, and orange make us passionate and spur us into action (which is why they are used for a lot of fast food logos). White symbolizes purity, and connotes simplicity. While you want to use colors that compliment your branding, be aware of the subconscious response your brain will have.
  • Don’t forget the data – While all the research shows your brain and body respond positively to direct mail, you should still focus your efforts on reaching the right consumers. Keep your mailing list up to date. Not just by removing those who are not interested and adding those who are, but by updating last names, addresses, and other contact information. This will help you maintain your personalization.
  • Tracking Leads/Results – Track your leads and how much they cost.

By tracking your leads and costs per lead you can improve on your response rate and increase your effectiveness. Some of the easiest ways to do this include using different names or telephone numbers on letters, or asking the customer how you heard about your business. You can also track your mailing list by matching IP addresses, or send a follow-up email after you’re sure your buyers have received the piece.

Direct mail is a great way to reach your customers. It allows for more personal, targeted messaging. Because direct mail is easier for the brain to process, and because you can get the materials directly in their hands, your messages will resonate with your buyers more than other forms of media. But finding the right way to reach your buyers can be hard. That’s where the experts come in. When you’re ready to ramp up your direct marketing efforts, contact Alex Woodward today.