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Mastering The Lost Art of Direct Mail Marketing


Row of mailboxes, direct mail

When you think about small business marketing strategies, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

With its promises of being quick, cost effective, and the perfect platform for reaching an unlimited pool of potential customers, social media is almost always at the top of the list.

But now we’re getting to a point where every small business (and I mean every) is doing it. And even if you assume they’re not doing it that well, they’re still making it that much harder for you to stand out from the crowd.

If that sounds familiar, it should—it’s the exact same thing that happened with direct mail.

Think back to the days before Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest when small businesses relied heavily on catalogs, fliers, and coupons to pitch their wares to prospective customers.

Because the strategy was relatively inexpensive and allowed small business owners to reach a large number of potential customers much more efficiently than with cold calling, direct mail volume drastically increased overtime.

That is, until the price of postage started to climb and recipients started to get fed up with all of the junk mail. Just like that, direct mail was put in “time out” and the shift to digital marketing was officially upon us.

After a lengthy hiatus, is it finally time for direct mail marketing to reemerge? You betcha.

Try as you must, but you can’t put all of your eggs in one small business marketing basket. A well-executed direct mail campaign can drive prospective customers to take action just as effectively as any website or enewsletter.

Take for example this postcard I received from Mad Mex, a Pittsburgh-based Tex-Mex restaurant.

Happy Birthday promotion example from Mad Mex

For starters, it just looks different. It’s obvious they spent time and money designing and printing the postcard.

They incorporated their logo, unique personality, merchandise and an image from one of their locations showcasing their wide variety of beers on tap making it almost possible for you to picture yourself sitting at the bar having a drink to wash down a piece of delicious cartoon birthday cake.

With my birthday right around the corner, I can redeem the postcard for a complimentary burrito of my choosing. And because they have their direct mail process down to a science, it arrived early allowing me enough time to actually use the thing (a minor detail but one that can make or break your campaign). 

Of course, there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to bring a friend and that means a paying customer.

Direct mail marketing for restaurants is a no brainer. But if you’re not in the restaurant business, that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own campaign.

Think about your products and services. What offer would entice potential customers to come into your store or visit your website to redeem your postcard? Don’t be afraid to experiment with a few different ideas to see what resonates best with your audience.

And when you’re ready to give it a try, check out Every Door Direct Mail from the USPS.

What about you?

After its extended hiatus, do you think direct mail marketing is poised for a comeback? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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