Direct Mail Becomes Do-able
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
I’ve never been a great believer in direct mail, that is the offers you receive in the form of letters and postcards in the mail. Until now, the expense has been considerable along with the logistics of creating a direct mail ‘piece.’ You needed to purchase mailing lists, pay for printing, and pay for postage and sorting. Like all marketing tactics, you need to track response rates to see if the expense is worth it.
Now comes the U.S. Post Office with a killer deal called “Every Door Direct Mail
If all you want to do is target a neighborhood or zip code with a postcard, the USPS will allow you to choose one or more of their carrier routes and the carriers will insert your postcard while they deliver the mail. You can send up to 5,000 pieces at a time. All you have to do is print the card, drop off the stack of postcards to the local station and pay 14.5 cents each. No names, addresses or postage are needed.
Enter the UPS Stores to up the ante.
My good friend Ken Davis, who owns the UPS store on 64th and Greenway in Scottsdale, says most UPS stores are offering to print and deliver the postcards to the appropriate carrier for the price of a postage stamp: 45 cents.
Even with this great deal, it remains important to track the response rate on your marketing investment. According to the Direct Mail Association, in 2010 postcards were the third least expensive form of direct mail at $75.32 cost per lead/order compared to email at $53.85.
Aha! Email marketing isn’t as cheap as you think, which is why tracking your response rate is crucial!
Yet catalogs beat them both with the lowest cost per lead/order of $47.61. Of course now that the cost of postcards has decreased, the total number of postcards sent will increase and the consumer will be more de-sensitized to them.
As for tracking your response rate, you should know that letter-sized envelopes had a response rate of 3.42 percent for an in-house mail list (contacts you know) and 1.38 percent for a prospect list (a list you bought or rented). Those are numbers you want to beat or it’s probably not worth the investment. Interestingly, 60 percent of direct mail campaigns in financial services aimed to produce a direct sale but the response rate was a comparatively low 2.66 percent to a house list and 1.01 percent to a prospect list.
So what do these statistics mean for you? If you want to test a postcard, send a low number and see how people respond. If you send 100 cards and 5 people become customers as a result, you have a nice 5 percent response rate and beat the average. Suddenly direct marketing seems very do-able for a small business.
Copyright ©2012 Meredith Munger