Is Direct Mail Dead?

Obviously, most of my articles center around web content and blogging, but NextGear Marketing does marketing and advertising of all types. In fact, my marketing career began at a company that specialized in direct mail campaigns, so it is a subject I am very familiar with.

For some companies, the concept of direct mail has become obsolete thanks to social media, emails, landing pages and blogs, which are all generally cheaper to utilize and offer many powerful benefits in today’s consumer market. However, direct mail is still a very viable strategy for some businesses, and it can be a part of your overall marketing strategy if done right.

Who is Your Target Audience?

First, you have to consider who your target audience is. Will direct mail reach them and pique their interest? If your ideal consumer is in an older age range, then direct mail can be quite powerful. If you are primarily going after millennials, then you may want to keep your focus more on digital avenues.

I am personally in the Generation X age range, which means I fall somewhere in between. I get a lot of direct mail and some of it will catch my eye. I also spend my fair share of time on social media, as well as other online sources to make my consumer decisions. The more research you do, the more you’ll probably discover that most of today’s consumers will respond to all types of marketing. And that’s why you want your marketing strategy to incorporate a decent blend of approaches, possibly including direct mail.

What Are You Selling?

Next, you have to consider the products or services you are trying to sell. What is the best way to communicate their benefits to your target audience? What will generate the most response? Social media advertising and targeted email campaigns are essentially the same idea as a direct mail campaign. You narrow your focus and send messages that you hope will generate a direct response from the people who see/receive them.

When it comes to direct mail, most people will still pay more attention to your message when they are physically holding something in their hands (i.e. your direct mail postcard, flyer, pamphlet or letter). It’s human nature. Emails are easy to ignore or filter out as spam. Social media ads are often overlooked amidst so many other things happening in someone’s feed.

It’s true that 99.9% of all direct mail pieces will end up in the trash or shredder, but you can still make an impression on the way from the mailbox to the garbage can. It could just be furthering your brand message in that consumer’s mind as they see your mailers time after time, or the offer may catch their attention just enough for them to take action. Either way, there is some impact that you may not get through digital channels.

Is Direct Mail Right for You?

If it makes sense for your business and your consumer audience, you can still utilize direct mail (as part of a balanced marketing campaign) for great results. Just look in your own mailbox every week. The shear volume of “junk mail” shows that it is far from dead as an effective marketing strategy.

The one big downside of direct mail is that it is not cheap, especially if you compare the costs of printing and postage against social media marketing, blogging, SEO and other digital strategies. It’s all about finding enough return on investment. If your direct mail campaign isn’t generating enough business to pay for itself, then you need to focus your budget elsewhere or rethink your direct mail approach. The medium may not be the problem. It could be your designs, messages or mailing lists that need to be rethought.

Direct mail is just one medium to consider when developing a comprehensive marketing campaign for your business. For more information and a free marketing consultation, contact NextGear Marketing today.

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