Direct mail is a powerful stand-alone medium, but it works equally well as part of an integrated campaign. Use it to promote new products, get new customers or retain existing ones. Send catalogues, letters, postcards, leaflets, vouchers or samples. The only limits are your budget and your imagination.
When First Direct wanted to offer customers a £50 iTunes voucher for recommending their services to a friend, they didn’t send an email which could be deleted at the click of a mouse. Instead they created a mailshot in the form of a game of pass the parcel – an unforgettable piece of mail which neatly conveying the idea of passing on a recommendation.
Mail doesn’t have to be this elaborate to be effective. For just 60p per pack, the Early Learning Centre (ELC) created highly-personalised birthday storybooks for members of its million-strong Big Birthday Club. These were sent out shortly before the child’s birthday and integrated with the retailer’s website, boosting sales by 8%. It’s been a wise investment for the retailer - for every £1 spent, it recouped £13.
Mail doesn’t just help you reach a mass audience - it’s also a great way to get the attention of powerful influencers among your target audience. Get your brand talked about by bloggers, journalists and social networkers by sending them something interesting, relevant and surprising through the post.
When Waitrose launched its weekly recipes, it sent the most vocal members of its online community a hamper with the ingredients for the first recipe - a rhubarb and ginger brulée. Half of them talked about it on the forum and Waitrose sold 14 weeks’ worth of rhubarb in four days.
With the right data and digital print technology, you can send highly targeted, personalized mail to different groups of customers. Land Rover, for example, persuaded more than 1,000 farmers to take a test drive by sending a mailpack, designed to look as tough as the vehicle it was promoting, to members of the National Farmers’ Union.
Don’t forget that your transactional mail can be a marketing tool, too. Use your bills and statements to flag up special offers, share company news and tell customers about related products and services.
A cost-effective way to reach a new audience can be to strike a deal with like-minded brands to cross-promote each other’s services. WaterAid has created an insert which goes out with water bills in England and Wales, while LOVEFiLM and Ocado regularly include inserts with Amazon parcels. LOVEFiLM recently partnered with the RSPCA and used direct mail to promote a deal whereby the charity would receive a £20 donation if the recipient signed up to a free 30-day LOVEFiLM trial.