Did your small business once use direct mail marketing, but had to cut back due to current economic conditions? Did you see a decrease in sales as a result? There could be a good reason for that.
In a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, Reporter Teri Evans highlights small businesses that were forced to move away from direct mail and over to email marketing and social media initiatives due to their tightening spending budgets.
While email marketing can offer a more cost-effective promotion approach, companies who do not know how to effectively implement this less expensive option are not seeing the results they had hoped. According to Mintel Comperemedia, U.S. consumers received almost 5.2 billion pieces of direct mail in the third quarter of 2009, which was a 27% decline compared with 7.1 billion in the same period a year earlier.
Evans connected with different entrepreneurs who were quick to blame the sluggish economy for their dry spell, but then realized how effective their direct mailing pieces had been only after abandoning them completely. Customers were approaching these owners asking if they had been removed from their mailing lists and requesting to be placed back on. For these owners, it was a valuable lesson about the power of direct marketing and why pulling away altogether might not have been the best move.
In addition to entrepreneurial examples, Evans article offers a few takeaways for entrepreneurs to use when getting back into direct mail marketing:
- Personalize your direct marketing pieces.
- Avoid purchasing mailing lists and sending fliers or coupons to a mass audience, as this practice is not cost-effective.
- Do not abandon email and direct mail marketing. Find a mixture of the two that helps promote your small business the best.
From personal experience, direct mail marketing has been a key part of our family’s restaurant marketing mix. Two recent direct mail campaigns we have ran, with a cost of $650 each (postcard design, printing, postage and labor), have resulted in ROI’s of 606% and 819% respectively. As Evans highlights in her article, entrepreneurs are finding better results when they are personalizing their mailings. On our last campaign, we featured an image of my parents on the front of the mailing. That change proved valuable since it ended up being our most successful campaign to date! We’re a family owned operation with over 33 years of business and direct mail recipients seem to find our approach appealing.
Have you had to cut back on your direct marketing spend? Has your company seen a decrease in traffic as a result?