One of the urban legends is that the direct mail marketing is dead and that there is nothing you can learn from it. However, it’s just a legend.
Here are some great lessons about email marketing you can learn from direct mail marketing:
Insist on urgency
Think about this – it’s Black Friday and you have a few more minutes to buy something. The decision practically makes itself for you-you have to buy or it will be gone and you might regret it. However, what if the same discount was offered indefinitely? Would you buy it this very second or save it for later? The latter is a common response.
But brands often make this mistake – they offer a discount yet no time limit. Not only is it not a viable business choice (except in certain cases) but it also milds the effect of your discount. It’s not rare anymore. And if it’s not rare, why do I need it?
This is an approach direct mail always took. They send out an advertisement for a discount – great! Oh, but look – there is a time limit. So your customers have to hurry up and make a decision fast if they want it. And they usually buy because they don’t want to miss out on the opportunity.
You see how urgency makes a difference?
“Use urgency in your email marketing strategies. Come up with the most compelling campaign you can afford and then offer it with a time limit. Include a nice countdown clock in the email as well,” says Tony Hubbert, an author at Draftbeyond and Writinity.
Play with format
Direct mail is never quite the same, is it?
Sometimes you’ll receive a catalog, sometimes just a flyer or a poster. Sometimes it’s something else. There are countless shapes and sizes for direct mail. And it wows people. You never know what it’s going to be and what it’s going to say. However, people are pretty sure what it’s going to be when they receive your email. That’s why they are not excited and they are not opening your email.
How about trying a different format?
Change your HTML design, share your message in a fun way – maybe include a video or a list, or an infographic. All of this can make your recipients actually like your message and check out what you have to sell. Take a lesson from direct mail – be innovative with the format.
Test it before you send it
Imagine if all of the direct mail marketers would send their messages without testing them out first – how many dead trees and lost expenses there would be. But they don’t. They think everything through, come up with something great and then test it on a select number of users.
For instance, the color scheme – one Slim Jim catalog is in red and another is in purple. They test which color brought them more conversions.
Continuously optimize your messages.
“Your message will never be completely perfect but it can come pretty close if you test different combinations and variations of the same thing. With emails, it’s even easier,” says Dennis Fulton, an office manager at Last Minute Writing and Researchpapaersuk.
However, make sure to understand your audience and why they work with you in the first place. Then, use that insight to form your messages.
Find your ideal audience
This is the key to having a successful marketing strategy no matter what kind of marketing you choose. You need to narrow your audience down and then work on narrowing it down even further, to the people who are actually willing to buy your product.
For instance, not every person who is visiting your jewelry website wants to buy your products. “Some of them are just looking, some are getting design inspiration and so on. However, you can focus your messages on those who will buy – long-term partners for each other, for instance. This is your audience – contact them specifically with your offers,” – explains James Gaertner, an Email Marketer at Gum Essays and LuckyAssignments.
Get the timing right
Finally, you have to get the timing right. This is one of the most important lessons direct mail marketing can teach you. For example, furniture catalogs rarely get sent during the winter – it’s cold and people don’t want to change what they are comfortable with. However, check back in the spring or the beginning of the summer – people are throwing old things away, wanting something fresh and this is the time when you can find all the furniture catalogs you need.
The same goes for the example above. For instance, you’ll rarely get many conversions on Easter but you will probably get the most of them from your target audience before Valentine’s day.
See? Direct mail marketing techniques are far from being dead. In fact, everything we know about email marketing comes from direct mail. You can use these to improve your results and drive more conversions.