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5 Ways to Boost Direct Mail Response in Any Economy

January 26, 2015

During the 2008 financial crisis, one industry almost completely unrelated to real estate or finance was hurt to a degree far greater than many others: advertising.

In a down economy, many businesses – particularly large companies – respond to declining spending power by lowering their advertising spend. Today, almost seven years after the financial crisis, the advertising industry is still continuing to recover.

While billboards, branding campaigns, and television ads might be written off as not worth the money during a recession, there’s one form of marketing that excels even in a bad economy: direct marketing.

During the recent recession, direct marketing methods such as direct mail and email were the shining stars of an otherwise stagnant industry, generating huge results for the businesses that employed them effectively.

When used the right way, direct mail can be a hugely effective form of marketing in any economy. In this guide, we’ll share five tips to help your direct mail marketing campaign achieve its objectives in any economy, from bearish to bullish.


Focus on selling things people really want and need

While sales of luxury products decline during recessions, sales of necessities – items like food, cleaning products and home essentials – stay constant. This makes a poor economy a great opportunity to focus on the core products of your business. 

Does your business sell something people truly need? If your product is something that people can’t live without, make it the focus of your direct mail campaigns and you’ll stand out from the crowd as something worth spending money on.


Generate an emotional response using your copy

Generating an emotional response is a fantastic way to elevate your product above the crowd and stand out. People’s spending power declines during a recession, and as such they’re more likely to spend money on products they feel attached to.

Use engaging, emotional language to create a link between your product and a mood or feeling within your target audience. Copy that creates an emotional response can often be all it takes to take your product from “want” to “need” in a prospect’s mind.


Tap into the changing priorities of consumers

During recessions, the demand for certain products actually increases. Products and services that help people and businesses save money become more desirable, while products and services that involve ongoing costs become less desirable.

If your product or service helps people cut costs – for example, an energy efficient item that lowers people’s electricity bills – make its cost-saving abilities a key point of your marketing to appeal to the changing priorities of consumers.


Don’t leave any information out of your postcard

The key to achieving a high response rate is making it as easy as possible for people to respond to your small business postcard marketing campaign. Include a variety of calls to action and contact methods in your postcard to make it as easy as possible.

If you’re mailing locally, include your local phone number and address. If your direct mail campaign is part of a multi-channel effort, list your company’s website. Leaving out information can often have a significant negative effect on your response rate.


Focus on retaining customers, not finding new ones

Many businesses focus on expanding their customer base while forgetting about the people they already work with. Instead of focusing on acquiring new customers in a recession, start mailing direct custom postcards to retain existing customers.

Customized postcards connect with customers and are great for “reactivating” old or inactive accounts. It’s far cheaper to reconnect with an existing customer than form a relationship with a new one, making old customers a great target for a campaign.