The physical power of direct mail in the digital age

How many unread messages do you have in your inbox? For many of us, our email inboxes are cluttered with queries from businesses with special promotions or new product launches. Many businesses appear to only rely on email messaging, but just think of the potential clients and markets they are missing. Direct mail can help fill that gap.

Here we’ll cover just what counts as direct mail and why what may first appear as an old school strategy still gets results in today’s marketplace.

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What is a direct mail strategy?

For Jay Abraham, direct mail refers to all written material used to communicate with prospective and current clients. This includes letters, postcards, emails, brochures and proposals; these are pieces that go directly to your leads. Direct mail, no matter if physically printed or digital, can do the work of hundreds of sales people. It’s a marketing strategy that can, if used well, offer excellent return on investment (ROI) and reach markets you’d not get any other way.

How effective is direct mail?

A 2018 study showed that direct mail campaigns led to purchases five times larger than purely email campaigns. Even better? Combining email and direct mail efforts led to even better results with purchases six times larger than email campaigns alone generated. If you’re looking to target younger markets, remember that they likely receive tens, if not hundreds, of emails a day but very few pieces of physical mail. Your older customers might call it “junk mail,” but younger customers associate “junk mail” with email instead of direct mailings.

Testing direct mail strategies

Just as in all marketing testing, direct mail rests on continuous, tracked tests to understand what works better to gain your desired target, whether that’s lead generation, store visits or sales conversions. The effective use of direct mail can develop and penetrate new markets, niches, and opportunities. Here are just three examples of how you can use direct mail in your business:

1. Test promotion types against each other

For example, there’s a new store opening; maybe it’s the first one in the town or just the first one in a particular neighborhood. The company sends out two different pieces of direct mail: half the residences in the area receive a coupon for $5 off a purchase, the other half a coupon for 5% off a purchase. They can track which offer brings in more clients along with how much they purchase, then use that information to calibrate offers connected to future store openings or promotions.

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2. Reactivate clients

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Every business has clients that have gone dormant. One direct mail campaign strategy could be sending a piece of physical mail to this client list, then later sending an email with a similar offer, both with codes that can be used online or in person. Which method generates more total sales? In fact, according to the Small Business Association, 76% will discuss physical mail from a brand or retailer they have purchased from in the past. 


3. Lead generation

Strange as it may sound, paper-based direct mail can be a powerful online lead generator. A clear, urgent call to action or clever headline can get someone to open a physical piece of mail they would immediately send to spam in their inbox. Your direct mail strategy can also help reinforce other avenues of brand recognition, from advertising to endorsement deals. The first mailing might get them on your website to sign up for a special offer, but it might take repeated mail offers to complete the shift to paying client. We bet they’ll be looking at that mailed material longer than any email they get. See what methods result in the best lead generation and conversion, then repeat. 

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Jay Abraham

About Jay:

Jay Abraham is a proven business leader and top executive coach in the United States, and a close friend of Tony Robbins. Jay has spent his entire career solving complex problems and fixing underperforming businesses. He has significantly increased the bottom lines of over 10,000 clients in more than 1,000 industries, and over 7,200 sub industries, worldwide. Jay has dealt with virtually every type of business scenario and issue. He has studied, and solved, almost every type of business question, challenge and opportunity. His principles can be the difference between mediocrity and a business that generates millions of dollars in additional revenue.

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