Do you ever look at the physical “junk mail” that comes through your letter box? Or the email newsletters that pop into your inbox? These are all categorised as ‘direct mail’. If you maintain a database of customers and send information to those customers in the form of newsletters, catalogues, special offers and other merchandising material, then you are sending direct mail.
Does direct mail still have a place in the days of social media? Has social media affected the direct mail industry? Direct mail is certainly on decline and some would argue no – social media is a cheaper way of getting your message out to a larger group of people. I must admit, I do wonder why I am receiving some of the direct mail – it frequently has no relevance to me.
However, direct mail can work really well if done with thought and care as these statistics show. In these days of instant messages and overload of general information, I still get a sense of enjoyment or even excitement when opening a personalised letter – particularly if it feels nice – the feel of the envelope or letter gives an immediate impression. I also value helpful and interesting email newsletters.
But the contents of the mailing need to be relevant to me. Even better if the company has already made a relationship through social media or personally through networking.
Direct mail can work really well in conjunction with social media. You can also use information gained from social media to build your database so your direct mail campaigns are targeted more effectively. Use social media to alert consumers to look out for a new direct mail campaign and use direct mail to drive traffic to your social media sites.
For example, imagine an accountancy firm who had been engaging with me on social media and got to know my business. They could send me a regular “personalised” letter, giving me a list of tips or the latest regulations I need to comply with based on what I have been saying on social media, along with their product or service offering and how they could benefit me. I might not change accountants immediately but I think I would be more likely to further engage with them on social media or recommend them to others if I found their offering relevant.
I think that social media is changing the direct mail industry for the better. But what do you think? Do you use direct mail in your business? It would be great if you could share.