Direct mail is advertising material, usually a letter or a flyer, sent by post. It’s often used by companies when they have a special offer or promotion or a new product to launch.
Because it’s usually in the form of a letter, direct mail is a personal form of communication. It’s especially effective if you use your customer database because you can personalise the letter by addressing it to the customer. And customers are more likely to read something addressed to them than a standard, impersonal ad.
This also means you’re sending it to your target market – ie people who are interested in your product or service, so you’re increasing your chances of a sale. It stands to reason that people who have already bought from you and are happy with your product are more likely to buy from you again.
Direct mail can also be used as a general promotion tool to find new customers and in this case is sent out by letter box distribution. This is effective if you target the areas according to your product – for example, if you sell children’s wear, do your letter box drop in a suburb where lots of young families live.
Some people think that with the advent of email marketing, direct mail is becoming obsolete. Emails are certainly cheaper to send, but with a one second press of a key they’re deleted, so they’re much quicker and easier to get rid of than a letter.
Email is the main form of communication for many people, and in business especially we can receive hundreds of emails per day. With surface mail being much less frequent, direct mail is more of a novelty and more likely to be noticed.
Research has shown that 70% of all direct mail is either read by the recipient or passed on to someone else to read.
As with all advertising, the headline is the most important part of the letter. If the headline doesn’t grab the customer’s attention, he/she won’t read on.
The tone of the letter should be informal and friendly, but still contain all the necessary information about your product. It should also contain an invitation to the customer to take action, eg ring you for a free quote, use an enclosed coupon, visit your store by a certain date to take advantage of a special offer.
For an example of direct mail, read my letter to backpackers about Phillip Island Day Tours.
If you would like to discuss using direct mail for your business, or any other copywriting project, please phone me on 0402 937 773 or email me via the contact form at the top of the page.
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Robin Storey is an Australian author from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. She is a certified book nerd and has no weird hobbies or unusual pets.