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When is direct mail a waste of good money?

Over the past few years, you may have noticed less “junk mail” coming through your letter boxes. As more brands jumped onto the social media band waggon, I am sure there were a lot of brand managers singing with joy because they could cut down on letters, printed leaflets and expensive stamps.

Direct mail – or more commonly known as junk mail – used to be one of the few ways businesses could get in front of potential customers.

Now, as social media is “free” (which of course is said with tongue firmly in my cheek!), why would you still want to spend money on all that old-fashioned stuff?

Is direct mail really a waste of good money?

You probably know me as someone who specialises in digital marketing. It’s what most of my clients come to me for … help with their website, social media, digital products and email marketing.

So I suppose it’s a little unusual for me to write about direct mail. But direct mail – sending stuff out in the post – is something I do in my own business. And something I actively encourage my clients to do within their own marketing campaigns, too.

Relying solely on online marketing and, more importantly, solely on social media, was always a crazy strategy to take.

And it’s even crazier today as the internet and social media space are getting more and more and more crowded. Tweets, Facebook posts, comments and likes … it’s pretty noisy out there and it’s tough to attract and engage with your target customers online.

So it’s no surprise to me to see my door mat getting battered again with direct mail. The brands have finally realised that you can’t just switch off one communication channel and replace it with another.

Direct mail can and should work with your online strategies.

But when is direct mail a waste of good money?

Well, when it’s a crappy little leaflet without any thought of how to get the person receiving it should respond.

This is my small rant over on Facebook about a particular leaflet that I got through my mailbox this week:

[raw_html_snippet id=”fb video direct mail piece”]


Direct mail doesn’t have to be like this, you will be pleased to know.

And in fact, the universe was obviously synchronised with me this week as the very next day, I got an almost perfect piece of direct mail that I thought I would share with you.

hillary blinds direct mail

Here’s what gives this piece of direct mail a better chance of making sales:

1. The envelope. I haven’t shown a picture of it here, but I actually thought it was a very early Christmas card! I couldn’t believe someone was sending me one so I ripped it open to find out how would dare send one so early in November.

Result – the envelope got opened!

2. It’s personalised. It’s super easy today to get personal with printed stuff, so there’s no excuse really not to include the person’s name somewhere in the text.

3. The offer stands out & it’s simple. No complicated terms or minimum spends. £25 off on my next order. Great.

4. Time limit. Yup, I have to take action right now if I want to claim my £25 off my order. I can’t file this away until I feel I want to use it … I’ve got to book a consultation now.

5. I know what to do. The phone number is right there. Easy to spot. I’m not going to get confused on how or what to do next.

6. It’s tracked. If you look closely, there is a number in the bottom left-hand corner. I would assume (and hope!) that I will be asked for this number if I was to call up and then Hillary’s would be able to know which piece of direct mail I had got.

Now, I’m sure if I was to put this up for a public critique, there would be plenty of marketing consultants who would make plenty of suggestions to make it better. But it does the job, as far I’m concerned … remember my motto “Completion, Not Perfection”.

And without knowing what the results would be (I, unfortunately, won’t be calling up to take up the offer as I have no need for blinds right now … but if I did, I would be) I would recommend you take a copy of this flyer and put it in your swipe folder.

It’s definitely going into mine.


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