Social media, online marketing, mail shots, SMS — it seems that there is a constant stream of new marketing methods as technology continues to advance at a pace. Companies are tripping over themselves trying to keep up, increasing their marketing budgets to use new channels and juggling a huge amount of information from each of these sources.
Let’s be clear. Technology is a fantastic thing and the advent of multi-channel marketing has given businesses the chance to tap into whole new markets, communicating with customers and potential customers that were previously beyond their reach. But in all the excitement surrounding online technology, it is important to remember the traditional marketing methods which have served so well in the past are still an important part of business development.
Direct mail was previously the optimum way for companies to contact prospective customers, as well as a good way of retaining existing customers. Properly targeted direct mail is still a highly effective form of communication and will beautifully complement your online marketing campaigns. You can find companies that are still thriving by offering comprehensive consumer and business mailing lists so companies can create a suitably targeted list of prospects.
So in our digital world, why would you still be using the old-school methods of marketing? There are lots of reasons, actually. For a start, you can make direct mail really personal, addressing your customers by name and offering them something a little more exciting than a gas bill in their mail. You can also make your campaigns highly targeted, so you know that you are sending exactly the right offer to exactly the right people. You can also make sure that your direct mail is responsive to your customers’ needs, tailoring your offering accordingly.
When you pick up your mail, the chances are that you go through it straight away. You might not read everything there and then, but you’ll put it on the kitchen table to look at later. An effective piece of direct mail will be in your customer’s house and therefore in their sight, while an email is relatively easy to ignore or it simply gets lost in amongst hundreds of others.
Direct mail is good for your business in other ways, too. You can very easily track the success of your campaigns by recording any coupons which have been redeemed, websites visited or phone calls made, so you’ll know how effective your marketing has been and what to focus on next time.
There’s no reason for direct mail to be boring, either. Choose a funky little postcard or a beautifully designed brochure, a simple leaflet or a traditional letter. Use images, play with typefaces, add some headlines — the options are limitless!
Let’s embrace technology and enjoy the opportunities it affords. But let’s not forget that sometimes the old ways can be the best.
Catherine White is a marketing specialist who regularly writes and blogs on a number of related topics. She uses sources such as The Data Octopus to keep up to date with marketing methods.