Direct mail-Not going anywhere

letter-mail-mailbox-postboxWhen one works in direct mail it means spending some time defending ones own business. People often tell me things such as, “I don’t ever buy things through mail,” “Big businesses don’t do that anymore,” and “But isn’t email more popular?”

Today’s technology has changed the direct mail industry. However, it has not irreparably damaged direct mail marketing. To the contrary, direct mail has been enhanced technology in many ways. Direct mail is great at getting leads to visit a website, encouraging customers to buy online or collecting information (including email addresses!).

Rest assured that direct mail isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. To prove it, here are four reasons why you should use direct mail in place of email to get the best results.

  1. Inbox overload

How many emails do you get a day? How many do you read a day? I would bet that the first answer is higher than the second. The fact is that most of us get many more emails than we want to read.

Our inboxes are overloaded with personal communication, updates, news and offers. While these may all be great, we don’t have the time or desire to click into each and every email. Many people don’t even sort through their email.  This means your marketing message, might very likely be just sitting there.

So what happens to it?  When your prospects finally get around to their inbox they’re likely to just “Select All” and “Delete.” Say goodbye to your sales message and sending it was a waste.

Sure, you could argue that people throw away physical mail too, but the numbers are in favor of direct mail here. A study by Epsilon showed that 77 percent of consumer’s sort physical mail as soon as they get it. Even better, data from the U.S. Postal Service showed that 98 percent of people check their mail every day. That means a lot less is sitting in the physical mail box and a much better chance for your sales piece getting read.

Email might have changed marketing for the good, but you can use that change to your advantage. Let other businesses focus on email marketing. Let them put their messages in the massive inbox overload that everyone is experiencing. In the meantime, there is not nearly as much competition in your standard mailbox.  That is truly where you should be aiming your sales messages.

  1. The personal touch

Getting the letter past the garbage shoot is just the first step. You need your piece to connect with your customers on a personal level. Unless you plan to take up door-to-door , you’re not going to get any closer than direct mail. With a strong mail piece, you will walk right into their home, sit down at their dining room table and market yourself with expertise that only you can deliver.

You just can’t achieve those same results with an email. When they are reading their email, they may have a dozen other things going on as well. They have notifications going off in the background letting them know 20 new emails just arrived in their inbox, or they have a new Facebook or Twitter post to look at. All the while, your email is like a tiny little voice, trying to peep in for some attention.

Does that sound like personal contact to you?

In the age of multitasking, computer users are by far the most distracted. And that’s one reason why unsolicited emails get such little attention. Direct mail is all about talking directly to the people you want to reach.  Direct mail allows you to step right into prospect’s lives as soon as they open the piece. A strong mail piece meets your prospect’s train of thought and runs with it.

So take the chance to join your prospect’s at the table. Forget fighting for email space during a busy day and step in when they’re already taking a moment to themselves. Once they have your mail piece in their hand, it’s time to let it do its job.

  1. Increased trust

With increased technology comes an increased concern for privacy. What with hackers constantly breaking into “secure” sites and identity theft being a real threat, people trust electronic communication less and less.  Scams are common and people do not trust attachments and links in an email. Sometimes, even images can get eaten up by a spam filter.

So how are you going to get your email to stand out? How are you supposed to impress your prospects? How can you “wow” them to the point where they simply must know more?

In short, you can’t.

You don’t get options with email. When your message drops into an inbox, you get a subject line or headline. That’s it. And you can use all the fancy tricks you want, but the fact is simple: Sometimes a headline just isn’t enough.

In addition, fancy emails with multiple attachments aren’t seen as trustworthy. People are suspicious and careful in the online world. This caution is entirely to the detriment of your email. In fact, even the simple words you write might be doubted. After all, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, right?

Direct mail is not faced with these same problems. You can “attach” as much as you want without setting off alarms. Bells and whistles of a fancy package are added bonuses instead of red flags. Consumers are bound to trust your direct mail sales piece more than they would a suspiciously fancy email.

  1. Enhanced delivery

A direct mail piece has the opportunity to be much more impressive than a simple, bland email. While this is not always necessary, it’s definitely nice to have so many options.

Here’s a good example: Around the holidays, I receive Christmas cards from my family across the country. As soon as I grab my stack of mail, I recognize them. They’re the ones with bright red or green envelopes. I would never dump that in the trash without looking at it!.

A lot of people have built-in cues like this for something special that signals to them that a mail piece is worth opening. You can duplicate these cues to give your mail piece a better chance of making it to the table. Colored envelopes are only one example. You can also use a “handwriting font” for the address to make your sales piece look like personal mail. Another option is to always use a, physical stamp instead of indicia (which instantly says “mass mail advertising”).

Another great option for making your direct mail stand out is to use what we call a “lumpy mail” package. This is a type of three-dimensional mail piece that makes your prospect feel really special. Plus, it’s intriguing.

There are also dozens of envelope shapes, sizes and dimensions to pique curiosity instantly.

You can also include freebies in your packages that help promote your business while providing the recipient with a small gift. Pens, stickers and even coasters can all be printed with your business name and included in direct mail.

When was the last time you got a pen in an email?

If you want to stand out, you must do something different than what your competitors are doing. Everyone can send an email, but direct mail is something special these days. Not only that, research shows that direct mail connects with customers on a deeper emotional level and provides a much higher response rate.

So don’t ever let anyone tell you again that email has sunk the direct mail industry. It is just not true!