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Marketing mastery: Direct mail still viable in today’s Internet Age

May 27/June 3, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 25

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

I received a postcard the other day from a company offering their advertising services to help me grow my business. Nothing unusual about that, except that it came from Google.

Here is one of the largest digital advertising companies on the planet pitching their services via paper, ink and the U.S. Postal Service. Why would they do that? Because it works.

Here are some eye-opening statistics: Direct mail response rates for 2018 were 4.9% for prospect lists and 9% for house lists (a company’s own database of contacts). The house list response rate is nearly double from the year before.

Direct mail still has a higher response rate than any other digital, direct-marketing medium. Email, paid search and social media are all at 1% a piece, while online display ads have a response rate of 0.3%.

What’s more, 76% of consumers trust direct mail in helping them make purchase decisions. Compare that with popular digital medias: search engine ads (61%), sponsored posts on blogs (43%) and embedded ads on social media (43%).

Direct mail also has a deeper psychological impact than digital media, research shows. According to Canada Post, direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media and enables higher recall of specific brands. Put simply, direct mail is easier to understand and remember.

None of this means you should abandon digital medias. Done properly they play an important role in promoting your business. However, the idea that direct mail is dead is a myth.

Let’s look at some best direct-mail practices:

Market to your house list. Response rates for house lists are nearly double that of prospect lists, which means you should be marketing to your past customers. One of the most effective methods I’ve found is to send them a monthly newsletter using the 90/10 formula: content should be 90% fun, informative, entertaining content; 10% should be flooring content.

Since the vast majority of dealers don’t market consistently to their house lists, you can give yourself a significant market advantage by doing so.

Determine your target market. If you expand beyond your house list, make sure you’re targeting prospects who fit the profile of your ideal customer. Some things to consider include gender, income, home ownership status and where they live.

Use the right message. Every prospective flooring customer has an unspoken question on their mind: Why should I choose you instead of your competitor? All of your marketing— including direct mail—should be designed to answer that question. Here are some elements to include in your direct mail to help make that happen:

1. An attention-grabbing headline

2. Benefits of buying from you

3. Testimonials from happy customers

4. Summary of what makes you different

5. A strong call to action, along with an offer and a deadline.

Done correctly, direct mail can have a massive impact on the growth of your business. If you have a direct mail marketing piece you’d like me to evaluate, email support@flooringsuccesssystems.com.

 

Jim Augustus Armstrong is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides flooring dealers with digital and offline marketing services as well as coaching to equip them to make more money, work fewer hours and get their lives back. For information visit flooringsuccesssystems.com.