Direct Mail Best Practices
Direct mail is a meaningful, interactive, and crucial part of a real estate or other small business marketing campaign. Postcards and other forms of direct mail can be used to direct qualified leads online to interact with a business via its website and / or social media profile. Direct marketing efforts can also be used to gather additional consumer data with which to further qualify them as a prospect. Also, because technology has evolved to allow direct mail and postcard marketing to be more targeted than ever before, sending postcards on a consistent basis is one of the most affordable and cost-effective consumer marketing tactics.
Direct mail is an affordable real estate and small business marketing tool that garners excellent results. By following some direct mail and postcard marketing best practices, you can increase customer response, brand visibility, and overall return on investment. First, refine your mailing list to reach your perfect customer. Second, tailor the content of your direct mail piece to your intended recipients. Third, draw attention to only one call-to-action, and be specific in the action you want the recipient to take. Fourth, track and measure your response to see which messages or offers work best. Fifth and finally, set measurable goals, learn from your successes and challenges, and be consistent.
Motivate real estate and small business customer direct mail response with a great call-to-action statement. Use a message on your direct mail postcard that either appeals to your prospect’s emotions or creates a sense of urgency. Start your call-to-action statement with a verb and use language that is direct, simple, and easy to understand. Use effective postcard direct mail design to visually separate the statement from the rest of the postcard message.
Making your brand consistently and easily recognizable makes it easier for your real estate or other small business organization to stand out and be noticed. Follow these five best practices to make it easier for customers to recognize and approach your brand: 1) make your brand unique and simple, 2) use a bold logo that is easily seen by customers and prospects, 3) select and stick with consistent colors that represent your brand, 4) use the same one to two fonts on all branded marketing items, and 5) once established, consistently apply your branding guidelines for all outbound marketing communications efforts.
Placing focus on customer retention and loyalty can not only help you maintain your business, but also increase revenue. Communicating with your real estate or small business customer base on a consistent basis using direct mail postcard marketing is a great way to make your business top of mind and keep customers coming back. Maintain an up-to-date customer database, create a mailing schedule, and set reminders for yourself to make it easy to remember to stay in touch. Real estate agents and brokers, for example, can use postcards to inform customers of just sold and just listed property success as a way to capture attention and obtain additional listing opportunities or referrals.
The layout and design of your postcard direct mail piece plays an important role in getting the desired response from real estate and small business customers and prospects. We’ve put together three tips that will help you design a great call-to-action that gets your postcard’s recipients to take action. You don’t have to be a designer to utilize these tips as they can also help you to provide constructive criticism to a graphic designer or agency you’ve hired. First, emphasize only the action you want the recipient to take, de-emphasizing everything else on the postcard. Second, make your design simple so your call-to-action is easily found. And third, don’t feel the need to fill every inch of your postcard with words or images. White space can be an excellent way to showcase your product or special offer.
The percentage of young people who say they will respond to direct mail is on the rise. Why is this uber tech-savvy generation so increasingly responsive to direct mail marketing? They’ve realized that the majority of what they do online is not guaranteed to be private, even when password protected. Direct mail, on the other hand, is a safer way to keep information regarding sensitive topics, such as those relating to health, private. Certainly there is a chance for mail to reach the hands of an unintended recipient, but the audience of that exposure is much smaller via direct mail than online. Also, young people now expect that when a real estate brokerage or other small business communicates with them directly, the communication is personalized. Technology has allowed direct mail to be personal, interactive, and relevant, meeting and often exceeding this audience’s expectations.
In an effort to stimulate direct mail marketing activities and generate revenue from postage on direct mail postcard campaigns, the USPS has been rolling out various programs targeted at small business owners and DIY marketers. An article in the October 2011 issue of Deliver magazine features their latest service offering called Every Door Direct Mail. It’s described as a “simplified mailing process” or an easy way for businesses to target prospects in specific geographic areas, even if they don’t have a list of names and addresses at their disposal.
To a small business owner strapped for time and unfamiliar with direct mail marketing execution, this program sounds like a dream. Unfortunately, the given summary of the program is grossly oversimplified and fails to mention huge flaws.
For starters, small business owners and marketers willing to try the Every Door Direct Mail program will need to make sure their running shoes are tied on securely—because they’ll have to make several trips to their local Post Office. Rather than the four–step process advertised by the program’s description, marketers will have to do a lot to get mail out the door and into local mailboxes.
Small business owners and real estate brokers and agents can use jumbo postcards to stand out in the mailbox. Their size alone draws more attention than what homeowners typically find in their mailboxes. Jumbo direct mail postcards can be used to target prospects a small business isn’t able to reach via online channels, and potentially direct them to online properties for further information. Reminding past customers to use a particular brand is another way jumbo postcards can help build business. Stick to a monthly or quarterly schedule to stay in front of customers on a regular basis, thanking them for their business or asking for referrals.
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