In Snail Mail We Trust

Jan 21, 2013

You have a professionally designed Facebook page. Your Twitter feed is jammed with the most compelling, clever, and crazy tweets of 140 characters or less. And your Pinterest page has more photos pinned up there than Grandma has stashed in her old photo album.

Why, then, aren't those new clients banging down your front door or flooding your phone lines?

When discussing business challenges with fellow entrepreneurs, I often come across the belief that new technology can somehow replace traditional marketing efforts that are oh-so-important, and as of late, oh-so-forgotten.

You see, with all the mesmerizing glitz and glamour created by modern marketing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, traditionally successful mediums like direct mail have fallen to the wayside. But for many small business owners, the good ol' fashioned way of generating new client leads may very well be more effective when it comes to getting you to the finish line of success.

A Direct Line of Response

According to a recent survey conducted by Target Marketing, an industry publication for direct response marketers, the channel that delivered the strongest ROI for customer acquisition was overwhelmingly direct mail (aka snail mail). And while many of today's digital marketing techniques are often geared toward younger audiences, direct mail effortlessly transcends demographics and easily reaches people of all ages, income brackets and ethnicities.

Believe it or not, this seemingly overlooked marketing method is actively being used by America's leading Fortune 500 companies to effectively generate new leads and boost customer retention levels.

Now granted, simply mailing out a 4x6 postcard with your name and phone number on it won't do the trick. You've got to apply the same thought and creativity that digital marketing requires - and adapt it for use on a piece of paper bearing a postage stamp.

Make the Most of It

The key is to attach incentive or value to the mailing—be it a postcard, letter or anything else that fits in a mailbox—and grab the viewer's attention in a previously unexpected way. Here are a few examples of how that can be accomplished:

Make It Stick: It's always important to make sure your message sticks out in the recipient's mind. The Farmers Insurance Group sent out a postcard campaign that took this concept literally—the front of each postcard had a mini bumper sticker which could be peeled off and actually placed on cars.

Stay in Site: Mailings can serve as powerful tools that drive traffic to specific websites or landing pages. Remember to print the URL boldly, along with a captivating message of why people should visit. Depending on your industry, the landing pages you create can be used to capture valuable information about the prospective client, encourage them to sign up for a free consultation, or even persuade them to make a purchase on the spot.

It's a Scan: Add a QR code that will lead the viewer straight to your website, online catalog, or even a live Twitter feed. I recently heard about an auto dealership that mailed out postcards with nothing but a giant QR code in the shape of car. It was so intriguing that even recipients who didn't have smartphones asked friends who did to scan the QR code and see where it led.

Data Is King: By appending the URL listed on each mailing (e.g. adding a forward slash to your existing web address, such as www.yourwebsite.com/postcardoffer), you can direct visitors to a new page within your current website to accurately gauge the ROI for each mailing and track metrics at the click of a button.

The bottom line?

Place your trust in snail mail. When looped together with other marketing platforms—including savvy use of digital media—direct mail campaigns can truly be worth their weight in gold. And with the price of gold these days, that's nothing to sneeze at.

Meny Hoffman is the CEO of Ptex Group, an Inc. 500/5000-ranked marketing and business services firm headquartered in Brooklyn, NY. A longtime entrepreneur, he specializes in creating strategic marketing solutions and business-boosting tactics to help small businesses achieve higher levels of success. To learn more, follow Meny Hoffman on Twitter or email him at meny.hoffman@ptexgroup.com.

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