Business, like life, is cyclical. Things are in vogue, fall out of fashion and — before you know it — make a comeback.
For evidence, look no further than B2B direct mail marketing. Though it was once the gold standard, it was eventually eclipsed by innovative new digital marketing approaches.
And that’s understandable — everyone wants to use exciting new tools, particularly if you’re in the tech industry. Yet B2B direct mail marketing never fell off the map entirely; smart firms have always recognized the value proposition it offers, even in a sea of flashy digital options. Additionally, new technology has helped make direct mail marketing easier and more effective than ever before.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at why forward-thinking MSPs need to invest in direct mail marketing.
What Marketing Research Tells Us
You’ve probably heard the familiar critique of direct mail: Campaigns are slower to ramp up, the process is more time-intensive, and businesses have less visibility into the efficacy of their efforts.
Yet the bottom line is that direct mail is highly effective. A study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) offers the following statistics supporting the utility of direct mail marketing:
- 79 percent of consumers who receive direct mail react immediately
- 56 percent of people think printed communications are more trustworthy
- 44 percent of consumers visit a company’s website after receiving direct mail
- The overall response rate for direct mail marketing is 3.7 percent, compared to 0.1 percent for email, paid search and social
It’s fair to point out that the DMA has a vested interest in publishing such results. However, plenty of other evidence exists testifying to the impact of direct mail.
Marketing Sherpa spoke with more than 1,000 B2B marketers and reported that 57 percent found direct mail marketing to be effective (with 22 percent calling it “very effective”).
Marketing Sherpa also offers this interesting case study of a power technology company called Blue Pillar. After integrating a clever direct mail element into their multichannel campaign, Blue Pillar executives reported an impressive 50-percent success rate. Even better, the company only needed to budget $500 to make it work.
Why was direct mail so effective for Blue Pillar? One reason is simple: novelty. While your average businessperson may receive hundreds of emails per week, Marketing Sherpa notes that personal mail only arrives in the office about once every seven weeks.
In other words, email is a victim of its own success. Executives are barraged by hundreds or thousands of weekly emails, and businesses often have little chance of standing out among the digital slush pile.
Implementing Direct Mail Campaigns
Once you’ve decided to incorporate direct mail into your marketing approach, implementing the right strategy is your next step. Fortunately for MSPs, direct mail can be easily and affordably supported by the digital channels that are already in place.
This might sound counterintuitive; after all, aren’t production costs for direct mail significantly greater than those seen with something like email? While that’s true, cost-per-lead is the number that businesses need to consider. A study conducted by the DMA found that the average cost-per-lead for direct mail is slightly lower than email and pay-per-click.
Given that direct mail is both cost-competitive and effective, it should be a strong consideration for most of today’s MSPs.
To help you craft a compelling campaign, we suggest you consider the following tips:
- Make your pitch personal and resonant.
This may be B2B, but that doesn’t mean your approach should be any less personalized. Make sure your pitch addresses the specific problems being faced by the company you’re approaching.
- Use a clean and trusted mailing list.
Even the most clever and well-executed direct mail campaign will struggle to deliver the desired ROI if you’re working from a list of questionable value. Define your audience and target with precision.
- Be unsparing in your evaluation of your own campaign.
Take a hard look at what you’re sending out. If you were on the receiving end, would it intrigue, inspire or delight you? Does it make an impression? Is it memorable? If not, you may want to reexamine your creative approach.
- Integrate all channels for maximum impact.
Direct mail, digital and other approaches can have a multiplying effect when effectively combined. The most forward-thinking MSPs use each channel in a complementary fashion. One example: Send an email in advance of your direct mail, alerting the target that something special is about to arrive in the mail. After all, who doesn’t love to receive packages? Amazon built an empire on this idea.
- Give them a compelling offer — and leave them wanting more.
Writing a clever pitch and getting a target to open and read your mail is an accomplishment. But, ultimately, it’s not enough; you need to prompt a response. Your audience has a dozen reasons to do nothing: time constraints, inertia, skepticism, etc. Your business needs to give them a reason to act that’s compelling enough to jolt them into action.
Direct mail marketing is enjoying a bit of a renaissance — and for good reason. The numbers show that it’s a cost-competitive and effective method for generating new business, particularly when used in a multichannel campaign.
By following the tips outlined above, MSPs can generate higher ROI on their B2B campaigns and earn a competitive edge in the market.