The Power of Snail Mail Reply

Getting carried away with technology.

The mail pick up was very late a few days ago and my assistant had left for the day. I had this one letter I had been working on far too long and I wanted it to go out. When I saw the mail carrier coming down the hall, I rushed to the postage meter that suddenly looked like a console on the bridge in Star Trek. I took a deep breath, slid the envelope in, and – cha ching – postage applied. I stood admiring the American flag that the meter had stamped next to the postage and thought – we really should replace that with some sort of QR code (you know, those square, two dimensional bar code doohickeys that seem to be everywhere). Well, as I stood thinking about what the QR code could link to out in cyberspace for advertising purposes, I missed the mail anyway.

Then I thought, well, I hear that the QR code fad is waning and we really should be thinking about embedding chips in the mail pieces so that our customers and prospects can use NFC (Near Field Communications) – you just wave your NFC enabled smartphone over the envelope and maybe the letter could just pop up as a PDF on the phone’s screen? Probably not. Well, something slick should happen – I just didn’t know what . . .

Back to the letter.

The reason I was sending out a letter instead of an email was to get the recipient’s attention. Doesn’t a letter get your attention these days? Especially something addressed to you personally from a company like Summit & Pinnacle Industries in a linen envelope with the company address and logo pressed into the paper with real engraving plates. As you run your fingers over the print you can feel the indentation from the plates. The letter just telegraphs importance. It must be special. Otherwise, they would have just sent an email.

A really nice piece of traditional mail demands my attention. It piques my curiosity. It’s just, well, rare. Digital content isn’t rare, but mail is. Mail can rise above the noise level of digital advertising.

Direct mail will be making a comeback. Things to consider before embarking on a direct mail campaign.

  1. Your target audience is well defined. Mail has a much higher variable cost than email, and if you haven’t done a tight market segmentation and narrowed down the universe of prospects – sending out 10,000+ direct mail pieces is not going to yield an acceptable ROI.
  2. The mail campaign is reinforced by other marketing touch points. The mailing, just as an example, could direct the recipient to a customized web landing page providing even more detailed relevant information. You don’t want direct mail to operate in a vacuum. It should be connected back to other parts of the overall marketing strategy.
  3. Use direct mail to reach appropriate prospects that are not reading your email. Everyone should be availing themselves of the technology that now exists to tell you who is and who is not reading your email. You may even have prospects that have opted-in to receive a newsletter via email but they are not even opening the email. Don’t give up. This group should rank high in your direct mail campaign.
  4. Customize. Customize. Customize. Do not send the same message to all prospects. This rule can be equally applied to your other marketing strategies, but try to make the mail personal. If you’re a software company – the message you deliver to your prospect’s financial folks should be quite different than what you send to the CTO and staff.
  5. Consider dimensional mail if you can afford it. If the target base is small enough, the response rates for beautifully designed dimensional pieces will most definitely be higher. These days, dimensional mailings (B2B) are so infrequent that you are destined to get the prospect’s attention.
  6. Follow up. For example, if you’ve sent out a mail piece with an ad campaign specific URL that contains a call to action and the prospect has opted-in to receive some more information from your company – these are now warm leads and should be nurtured accordingly.

At Palm Coast Tech, we take a seasoned holistic approach to integrated marketing. We think that companies should not forget that there are business prospects in leadership positions out in the marketplace that remember the world before the Internet. One of the objectives of any marketing strategy is always to capture the attention and interest of a prospective customer. In 2013, we think being a little bit old-fashioned has merit.  Palm Coast would be delighted to help you design and execute a direct mail campaign with an ROI that will eclipse many of the most popular digital tactics.

Best regards,

Steve Amador


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