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Check your mailbox, and it's clear that direct mail is alive and proliferating even as electronic communication continues to grow. Every year, a growing number of marketing professionals converge at conferences and workshops to dissect the secrets to successful results in both direct mail and its more inclusive term, direct marketing. (Direct marketing encompasses catalogues, postcard decks, door-to-door sales, direct response TV, home shopping shows, or other vehicle that attempts to make an immediate sale.)
Today, companies embarking on direct mail campaigns for the first time are joining the fastest growing segment of the direct mail industry -- those who haven't used it in the past. Turning to this medium makes good sense when you consider the following advantages:
Direct mail allows you to zero in on almost any target audience. With the availability of well-defined lists and database capabilities, there are unlimited groups you can test. Its selective approach makes it possible to enjoy repeat sales to proven customers.
From the moment your package arrives and the prospect first reviews it, there are no other products or services competing for the reader's attention. This creates a unique opportunity to make a powerful impression and to motivate the behavior you want.
With your creativity and modern printing capabilities, direct mail can have an almost infinite variety of looks, feels, smells, and subtle but important characteristics. Packages can carry the right combination of overt and covert messages, as expansive or concise as you wish.
The ability to carefully select the recipients of your marketing messages has the additional advantage of allowing you to personalize those messages. Direct mail as part of a database marketing effort centers on reaching people with a special need or interest, and tying your product and service to that common concern. Personalize your pitch based on your knowledge of your target - maybe it's using their names in the copy, or addressing their distinction: "as an engineer," or "as a loyal customer, you..."
With direct mail, you know clearly whether or not your mailing worked. Either it did or it didn't, and how well or how badly. Requiring only a seller and a buyer, much game playing is removed from the marketing process, leaving only accountable results.
Experts say the four most important elements to successful direct mail campaigns are: the list, the offer, copy, and graphics. To that, add good profit projections and an offer that's hard to refuse - and whether you're the giant in your industry, or the new kid on the block - direct mail has the potential to deliver your highest marketing response rates.
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