Even though we now live in an age where smartphones and tablets are the new norm, direct mail is still big business in more ways than one. Direct mail is still one of the best, most effective and most valuable ways for businesses to reach out to their target audiences – especially when local campaigns are employed. The key to success, however, involves launching the RIGHT campaign. What follows are the core components that, when properly handled, will work together to form a truly powerful marketing campaign for local companies.
Personalization in direct mail is important, but especially so when dealing with local campaigns. According to the Direct Marketing Association, an incredible 70% of all Americans STILL say that direct mail is a much more personal experience than Internet marketing and 56% said that receiving mail in the first place was a “real pleasure.” Personalization in your local campaigns is a great way to use stats like these to your advantage.
In short, EVERY aspect of your materials should be personalized – from the greeting directed to a specific person to the relevant, direct call-to-action that speaks less in general terms and more in a one-on-one fashion. Work hard to include text that outlines your reader’s specific pain points, then move along into information about how your product or service alone can solve them. All of this will lead to materials that sound less like they’re coming from a business and more like a concerned friend, which is absolutely what you want to encourage action.
Don’t Forget Your Contact Information
The major advantage that local businesses have over their bigger, national counterparts is exactly that – they’re local. Dealing with a national business on the part of the consumer can potentially be difficult. If that business doesn’t have a physical location within driving distance, an order likely involves multiple phone calls, e-commerce channels and more. Local businesses, on the other hand, are often just a short car ride away, which is something you can never let your prospects forget.
ALWAYS make sure to include all of your business’ contact information – preferably multiple times – in the body of all your direct mail materials. Include your exact address, any identifying landmarks you may be near, your telephone number, email addresses, business hours, etc. Don’t take for granted the fact that you’re local – people have to know how easy it is to call you. If your business operates in a large metropolitan area, also consider including directions from various points in the city to help make it easier than ever to find you.
Include a Business Card
Speaking of including contact information, always include a business card in the envelope with your other materials. Business cards are inherently personal – nine times out of ten, a person likely received one due to a face-to-face interaction. Though the business card will likely have the same contact information on it that your larger materials do, this is just one subtle way to reinforce the idea that you’re a local business. It’s an important parallel to make, particularly if you’re competing with other local businesses for the same core audience. It’s also another item with your contact information on it, increasing the chances that the reader won’t accidentally misplace one and have no idea how to contact you.
Go “All In” On Local Events
One of the most popular, age-old marketing techniques that companies have been using for years involves tying in promotions with big events. It’s why everyone from car dealerships to electronics stores kick into high gear around the Super Bowl – people are interested in an event and they’re likely interested in promotions related to that event by default.
The same can be true of local companies, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. If your area has a particular event coming up – like a “founder’s day” ceremony or something similar – use that fact to your advantage. Send out materials with promotions or copy that tie into that event to increase both the timeliness and the relevancy of your message in one fell swoop.
Embrace Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are often fictionalized versions of your ideal customer. You write up a bio of “Sally, a single mother from Illinois who is 34 years old, makes $40,000 a year and who deals with X, Y and Z issues on a daily basis” to keep your eye on the prize, so to speak. Rather than writing in general terms, you can craft your copy like you’re writing to Sally – thus increasing the likelihood that real people just like Sally will respond.
When using buyer personas, make sure to consider how the local area might affect someone like your fictionalized target customer. What are the issues that people in a particular area are dealing with? What things are popular in your area? What local colloquialisms can you work into your copy? Paying attention to all of these factors will help with really embracing the “local” angle of your materials a great deal.
This is a simple-yet-effective tip that, according to Entrepreneur.com, can actually boost your open and response rates in a significant way. Research has revealed that mail with stamps tends to get opened far before metered mail. This is likely due to the fact that it likely took a human to put a stamp on the envelope, whereas a machine probably took care of the metering.
Local direct mail success is all about establishing that powerful, intimate connection with real people and getting them to view you in the same light. Though it’s a small step to take, it’s one that can pay off huge.
Consider Including a Valuable Item The Reader Can Give Away
This is another one of those “tried but true” marketing techniques that stands to benefit local businesses in particular. It’s always important to include an item in your direct mail materials that the reader will find valuable, regardless of how they feel about your proposition. A pen is a great example, because even if the reader has no interest in your business – everyone needs a good pen.
If that pen also has your logo and address in it, however, suddenly you’ve got an active piece of local marketing that could attract the attention of many customers over time. That original reader can give the pen away, slowly building brand awareness to each new person who uses it. Even if that person loses your pen, you’ve still essentially got a business card that will pass itself around the area over time.
Include Coupons With Expiration Dates
Finally, one of the most effective ways to add power to your local marketing campaign is to embrace coupons as often as possible. Coupons aren’t necessarily appropriate for all types of businesses, but if yours CAN offer a particularly valuable timed promotion, you should definitely do so.
Not only do coupons dramatically increase open rates if the reader knows they’re coming, but they also spawn action like nothing else. People love saving money and by putting an expiration date on the coupon, you’ve given them a deadline before those savings are gone forever. Likewise, by indicating that the promotion is good ‘in store only,” you’ve given your local customers a much-needed excuse to hop in the car, drive over and see what your business is all about. Once they’re in store, you and your staff can take care of the rest. National businesses don’t necessarily have this luxury.