Direct mail was here, then gone, then back again. That’s the popular perception, anyway. But, here’s the thing: direct mail never “went away,” it just took a momentary back seat to digital marketing while it got a much-needed facelift.
Still, even with all the hype around digital marketing today, businesses don’t always consider direct mail as a viable B2B marketing channel. Some still believe it’s overly time-consuming to design and implement, and others feel there is a lack of information after the send, specifically as compared to digital avenues.
While those misconceptions may have held merit years ago, they’re no longer based in reality. The fact of the matter is, direct mail has proven to be one of the most successful marketing tactics to-date. Studies show that direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital marketing, it has a much stronger recall than digital media, 79% of people take an action as a result of direct mail (as opposed to 45% for email), and the response rate is much higher, too.
If you want to maximize the benefits of direct mail, the American Marketing Association suggests the following tips to help B2B marketers execute the best possible direct mail campaigns:
- Align with sales to help choose your prospects
- Create clear and concise call-to-action (CTA)
- Customize your mailers to your audience
- Personalize your message
- Make it unique and easy to share
- Be environmentally friendly
- Implement a follow-up plan
- Enjoy the process!
With those best practices in mind, it’s time to start thinking about the type of B2B campaign you want to execute—they generally fall within these four main categories:
A direct mail campaign focused on prospecting is more about creating awareness and a positive brand association than it is about asking your audience to perform a particular action. It’s a way of introducing yourself to people and businesses that may otherwise not know you. Be sure to include strong brand components, memorable imagery, and an easy way for people to learn more.
2. Lead generation
This is generally sent after your prospecting campaign, but as opposed to your prospecting and awareness efforts (which should include a light CTA or none at all), your lead generation mailers should have a strong, distinct call-to-action. The goal is to convert warm leads into opportunities, so businesses will often include a memorable incentive, like an Amazon gift card.
3. Nurturing and closing
In an office setting, goodies can spread like wildfire. Something simple like a box of gourmet cookies or maybe even a candy dispenser for the office can create a lasting memory and a significant amount of buzz. The idea here is to grow the number of fans you have in your targeted company.
From there, it’s time to focus on the decision-makers of the transaction. Sending something unique to the key stakeholders is a great way to solidify a working relationship or even reignite an account that may have stalled. These mailers should be highly branded and unique, like a personalized bottle of wine or an invitation to join you for golf at an exclusive club.
4. Brand evangelist
Brand evangelist mailers are sent to your current customers and are designed to turn them into brand champions. This looks like branded apparel, high-end water bottles, or portable phone chargers, for example. The idea is to gift your existing clients with items that they’ll actually use in public so your brand is being shared with others both internally and externally.
With these B2B direct mail campaigns, you’ll inevitably set yourself apart from not just the digital crowd, but also from those who are still sending big-batch, blanketed postcards and mailers.
Need help designing your next B2B direct mail campaign? Drop us a line.