Even though we now live in an age where smartphones and tablets are the new norms, direct mail is still big business in more ways than one. Direct mail is still one of the most effective and valuable marketing channels for businesses to reach their target audiences – especially when local campaigns are employed. The key to success, however, involves launching the right local direct mail campaign. What follows are the core components that, when properly handled, will work together to form a compelling 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.
Don’t Forget the Contact Info
The significant advantage that local businesses have over their bigger, national counterparts is precisely that – they’re local. Dealing with a national company on the part of the consumer can be difficult. If that business doesn’t have a physical location within driving distance, an order likely involves multiple phone calls, online channels, and emails. Local companies, on the other hand, are often just a short car ride away, which is something you should never let your prospects forget.
Always include your business’ contact information – preferably multiple times – in your direct mail materials. Include your exact address and a map of your location, as well as any identifying landmarks you may be near. Include your contact information such as your telephone number, email address, website address, and any relevant QR codes to places such as your social media profiles. Don’t forget to include your business hours, and any other pertinent information. Don’t take for granted 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 an envelope mailer with your other materials. Business cards are inherently personal – most people only get them through face-to-face interactions. Though the business card will probably have the same contact information on it that your other pieces do, this is just one subtle way to reinforce the idea that you’re a local business. It’s an important parallel to make if you’re competing with other local companies 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 marketing tactics, which companies have been using for years, is combining promotions with events. It’s why businesses – from car dealerships to electronics stores – start big promotions around the Super Bowl: If people are interested in an event, then 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
A Buyer Personas is a fictionalized version of your ideal customer. How do you create a persona? Write up a short biography, “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 daily” to help focus the content, imagery, and calls-to-action in your marketing for your specific Buyer Persona. 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.
- Are people in a particular area dealing with specific issues?
- What is 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.
Stamps are a simple-yet-effective way, according to Entrepreneur.com, to boost your open and response rates significantly. Research has revealed that mail with stamps tends to get opened more often than metered mail.
The reason envelopes with stamps on them get opened first is likely because it took a human to put a stamp on the envelope, whereas a machine probably took care of the metering. Stamps imply a more personal message. 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
It’s always a good idea to include an item in your direct mail materials that the reader will find valuable, regardless of how they feel about your proposition. It is another one of those “tried but true” marketing techniques that stands to benefit local businesses in particular. 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 on it, however, suddenly you’ve got an active piece of local marketing that could bring in many new customers over time. The original recipient 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 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 do so.
Not only do coupons dramatically increase open rates if the reader knows they’re coming, but they also spawn action. 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 your store, you and your staff can take care of the rest. National companies don’t necessarily have this luxury.