As of mid-2016 email deliverability is still an issue for legitimate marketers. According to the report, legitimate email servers averaged a delivery rate of 73% in the U.S.; six percent were filtered as spam, and 22% were missing. This lags behind other countries: Australia delivers at 90%, Canada at 89%, Britain at 88%, France at 84%, Germany at 80% and Brazil at 79%.
Neil O’Keefe, senior vice president of marketing and content at the Data & Marketing Association, says that marketers began questioning direct mail’s endurance in 2007. That year, Statista reports that smartphone sales jumped 70% from the previous year to $8.7 billion. At the same time, the volume of mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service began to plummet: In 2006, people in the U.S. sent 213.1 billion pieces of mail, according to USPS; by 2017, they were sending 149.5 billion pieces each year, a 29.9% decline. By this point, smartphone sales had reached $55.6 billion. The price of postage and paper had skyrocketed, as did the number of internet users—everything seemed to hammer a nail into direct mail’s coffin.
But before any of you young guns scoff and discount the idea of a mail marketing campaign, you might want to read through this blog entry. Direct mail, while certainly a dinosaur in the world of marketing, can still be a powerful weapon in your arsenal – if it’s done correctly and intelligently, of course. We’ll lay out a few broad tips for you to consider if carrying out a direct mail campaign. While we would still urge the majority of business owners toward a more electronic/Internet based marketing strategy, you can still get solid results from direct mail.
Every week, the folks at InVision send a roundup of their best blog content, their favorite design links from the week, and a new opportunity to win a free t-shirt. (Seriously. They give away a new design every week.) They also sometimes have fun survey questions where they crowdsource for their blog. This week's, for example, asked subscribers what they would do if the internet didn't exist.
Project conversion metrics. The general rule of thumb is that the smaller and more targeted your list, the more you can spend per piece. It’s better to make a strong impression to a few than to make a weak impression to many. Know your cost per unit, and project a conversion rate, so you can estimate whether your campaign will have a positive ROI before running it.
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Unsubscribe rate. Unsubscribes are always going to happen no matter what, and that’s usually OK because those people probably would never have bought from you anyway. However, a high unsubscribe rate can indicate that you are losing potential customers. Check the following: Why did people subscribe to your list in the first place, and are you delivering on that promise? Is the content of your autoresponder highly relevant to the segment it is being sent to? Are you sending too many sales emails with too little value emails?
The concept is simple. If someone is reading an in-depth blog post of yours, chances are they’re very interested in what you have to say on the topic. The key is to then offer them something that is directly related to the topic they’re reading about. You know they’re already interested, so by offering instantaneous extra value it’s not difficult to see why people would gladly sign up.
If you are able to consult with customers one-on-one, ask any new clients how they heard about you. This will be trickier if you own a restaurant or clothing store since you won’t be able to track down every customer to ask how they heard about you. In these instances, consider asking customers to take a survey on every receipt. Offer an incentive (coupon, discount, etc.) to increase the chances that people will actually fill it out.
Once your list is targeted, you need to spend an equally large portion of time coming up with a great deal – even if it means you might lose a bit of money on it. The underlying goal of any marketing campaign is to gain new customers, and it’s worth it to significantly reduce your profit margins to gain said customers. Once you have a surgically-honed list and an amazing offer, then you can spend some time on the design, copy, delivery methods, postage rates, date of delivery, size of the mailer…there are a lot of other options to consider, but following the 40/40/20 rule you can see how important audience and offer truly are.