5 Ways to Use Direct Mail in Your Business

By Melanie Schaefer

Direct mail can bring in more customers than print, radio or local TV advertising. Here are five ways to include it in your marketing plan.

How can you bring in more customers for your business than you're getting through print, radio or local TV advertising?

The answer for many businesses is direct mail. Direct mail puts your message right in front of your prospect in their own home or business. When you send the right mailing to the right list at the right time, your direct mail is a cost efficient and easy way to get customer attention and sales.

Reminders
In the fast paced world that we live in it is hard enough to remember what we ate for dinner last night let alone when our last dentist appointment was. That is where your direct mail piece comes in. A reminder could be anything from a postcard reminding the customer when they are due for an oil change or a suggestion to repeat the purchase of a birthday cake for their Aunt Tilley. As long as the service or product is something that needs to be repeated or gets used up, this method will work for your business. In addition to a response the customer will be happy that they were provided with such individual attention.



Promotions
Everyone loves to save money. So what better way to grab attention than by offering an opportunity to spare a little green? Sending a postcard with a chance to win a new product or offering $15 off a purchase of $60 or more, will inform new and existing customers about what you have to offer. Be sure to set an expiration date and make it prominent on the mailing so customers will rush to save money now, before the promotion is over.

Start a Catalog
By sending out a listing of all the services or products you provide you are able to educate the consumer on what your business has to offer. This type of direct mail can also give an individual the opportunity to buy your product or service through mail order. Be sure to include your telephone number and your web address as an alternate way to order your products. By mailing out a catalog of services and/or products you are notifying the public of your business and giving them the opportunity to purchase your products if visiting your store is not an option. If creating and mailing a print catalog is out of your budget, put the catalog on a website, then send out an inexpensive postcard to customers and prospects pointing them to the catalog on the web.

Notification of New Products or Services
When your business decides to offer a new service or handle a new product it is an exciting time. Why not share the excitement with your customers? Sending a postcard notification that you now lay retaining walls along with the usual landscaping or that a computer program you offer has just been updated allows the consumer to utilize the new service or product. Perhaps one of your customers were looking into retaining walls but knew that you did not offer that service. Now that they see the company they trusts offers the service they need the decision is easy. People like to be kept informed.

Start a Newsletter
The best way to keep your customers informed is by a newsletter. In your newsletter you may want to include articles that have to do with your business, special offers for newsletter readers, announcements about new products or services, or possibly stories about your staff. Pick a schedule for the newsletter (monthly works well for many businesses) and stick to it. When customers and prospects see your newsletter on a regular basis they'll start to remember you and your company as an authority and a reliable source for the products and services you sell.

If you don't know how to format newsletters for publication, take a look at Microsoft Publisher. It comes with a variety of free templates. By playing around with colors and graphic you are able to make a product unique to you even if it is a pre-made publisher layout. Or, look in industry trade publications for companies that prepare the newsletters for you, leaving you a place to put your own business information and return address on the finished product.

As you begin to utilize direct mail in your business be careful not to bombard the customers with mail. Like the not so courteous courtesy call during dinner, an onslaught of mail may invoke unfavorable thoughts every time your company is mentioned and lead to a direct root to the trash bin at the site of your company's name.

© 2008 Attard Communications, Inc

 
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