Direct Mail versus Email Marketing

Which direct marketing method is most effective: traditional direct mail campaigns, or next generation email marketing? Direct mail is sent to businesses and consumers every day by a very wide range of organisations. Email marketing using opt in data is widely used, and growing more rapidly in popularity.

So what are the relative merits of each direct marketing method?

The Benefits of Email Marketing

  • Email marketing is direct marketing at its most impactful. Your message lands right in the inbox of your recipient, your message can be personalised, and even targeted to individual recipients.
  • Email marketing can be timed to the day, the hour and even minute, in order to reach consumers just when they are likely to make a buying decision.
  • Email marketing can also be tracked in detail, even to the amount of people who open and read your email, or who forward it to a friend.
  • Email marketing is more environmentally friendly, and has a far lower carbon footprint than other marketing methods.
  • Email marketing can be more cost effective as it does not need costly mailing houses, production, postage and so on. However data costs can be higher and email campaigns require a broadcasting partner.
  • Email marketing is highly effective in growing online sales for e-commerce sites: in just a few clicks the recipient can act on impulse and buy from your site.

The Benefits of Direct Mail

  • Direct mailshots are a tangible and physical representative of your brand, which can be held in the recipient’s hands. A mailer with high production values can say much about your brand, just through its size, feel and texture.
  • Direct mail is well established and proven as a marketing tool. Consumers and businesses are used to receiving marketing messages in the post, and are receptive to the message they convey.
  • Direct mail can also be used to increase your online sales from your website: increasing numbers of mail order companies are finding that their catalogues are becoming increasingly effective at driving consumers online to order, instead of by mail or phone.
  • Quality direct mail data is generally more affordable and more widespread, and does not come with fixed broadcast costs and fewer issues over compliance and the opt in procedure. The direct mail industry is also far more mature with a wider range of suppliers available.
  • Direct mail does not have to fight its way through complex spam and junk mail filters used in many email programs.

One fact is universal: any direct marketing campaign needs great quality data. For advice on sourcing the best list for your campaigns, contact us on 01304 382211.

Do your customers deserve a thank you?

Imagine your business has just won it’s industry equivalent of the Oscars. Who will you remember to thank in your acceptance speech? Your staff, suppliers, accountant or bank manager even? How about remembering a small thank you for the most important people of all – your customers.

When times are tough, it’s more important than ever to hang on to your existing customer base. After all, finding new ones to replace them can be time consuming and costly. One way of keeping up a good relationship with your customers is by staying in regular contact, and maybe even extending the occasional thank you for their custom.

Sending a regular mailshot to customers with the latest news about your business, products and services, along with a ‘thank you for your continued support’ message reassures customers they are buying from the right people, and that your business is still alive and kicking! Alternatively you can phone customers with a customer service focused courtesy call, just to see if they need anything.

Of course before you do this we recommend a hygiene check of your database. We can help provide a free audit to highlight if there are any incomplete addresses or gone-aways using Clean My List.

If you have too many customers to stay in touch with, or very limited resources, then ask us to fulfill the postal campaign for you or at least target the top clients. They could be the customers who always recommend you, cause the least customer service aggregation, who pay the highest prices, or who buy the most profitable lines.

If your enquiries reveal that a customer is dissatisfied with your service, then you have a chance to deal with the issue before it becomes too serious. Take criticism on the chin and seek a resolution wherever possible.

There’s also another dimension to maintaining good relations with your customers. In this brave new world of social media fueled online chatter, its even more important to keep your most important team members, your customers, on side and on message. Thanks to forums, blogs and social networks bad news about your business can travel fast!

Remember sending a letter in the post can be perceived as more personal than email, plus we can take care of the complete print and post process – all we need is your PDF letterhead, your CSV address list of recipients. We’ll print, insert and send them all for less than the cost of a 2nd class stamp! You can do this online 24/7 using the Create & Post tool or offline with a Selectabase team member during normal working ours.

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Recognising the different stages in the b2b sales process can help you gain new leads and convert them into business….

1. B2B Prospects

A prospect is a company which could buy your product or service, but that you’ve never contacted before. This doesn’t mean every other business in the country is a prospect: just the ones which might actually have the need for your product or service, and the resources to pay for it. Prospects should be the target of your direct marketing and field sales activities. They can be identified and gathered in a number of ways, and are usually managed in a prospect list or database.

2. B2B Leads

A lead is often confused with a prospect, but is in fact a prospect that you have had some contact with: either by them contacting you, or you approaching them directly using field sales, telemarketing, or direct mail. Leads are often managed by the sales team, whose job it is to try and convert the lead into a customer as soon as possible.

3. B2B Customers

The most important conversion your sales process needs to achieve is from Lead to Customer. It may only be a small one off or sample order, but they are still a customer, and your relationship with them has changed forever. Now you can focus on building a relationship through your customer service team, and regular communication using direct marketing, service calls and newsletters. You also need to get the valuable second and third repeat orders which are the sign of growing customer loyalty.

4. B2B Clients

Clients are customers who buy your product exclusively from you, and not from anyone else. In other words you have become the sole supplier. For some businesses such as accountants and banks it’s normal for customers to become clients from the start. For others, converting a customer into a client can take much longer. But it can be worth the wait. Clients will usually buy more frequently and are also a great source of recommendations, referrals and testimonials.

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New business development and customer acquisition all mean the same thing – gaining new customers for your business. And direct mail has an important role to play. Working from a profile based on your existing customers you can use direct mail to target more of the same. Or use direct mail to reach new types of customers in new areas, or launch new products or services.

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