Marketing Comeback Kids

Find Marketing Success With Direct Mail and Email Newsletters
by : 

Megy Karydes

January 26, 2015
Marketing Mondays - Marketing Comeback Kids

Remember when we were told email marketing would mean the death of direct mail? And Facebook posts would replace email marketing? Surprise! Both direct mail and email newsletters are very much alive and well. Actually, it’s not that surprising considering we all consume information in different ways.

If you’ve abandoned your direct mail or email newsletter, you may want to reconsider. If you still use either or both, this year’s goal is to ramp it up.

Direct mail

Direct mail has gotten a bad rep because it costs money to print, and postage isn’t cheap either. Yet, it can be a very cost-effective way to remind people why they should support your business.

I love getting postcards from my local independent retailers and services because it reminds me they exist and makes me think about who I need to get gifts for. It’s even better if the postcard has an enticing offer or is date-sensitive, because it’ll make me visit sooner than later.

Here are a few tips on ramping up the effectiveness of your next direct mail campaign:

  • Make sure your mailing addresses are accurate. This will cut down on undeliverable mail, which is a huge cost-savings.
  • Opt for eco-friendly paper and printing services, and ask if the company would be willing to give your business a discount if you include their logo or contact information on the piece.
  • Plan ahead and arrange for bulk mail postage. It can be a very economical way to send your mailing. There are restrictions on how you need to prep your bulk mail, so check www.usps.gov for details. Otherwise, consider sending postcards instead—they cost far less than a regular piece of mail.
  • Another option is a full-service printing and mailing service. For example, companies like www.UPrinting.com can do it all—design, print, and mail. It even offers eco-friendly paper and design services as add-ons if you need them. NOTE: I’ve not used this company nor am I related to them in any way. I simply did a search online. I recommend you ask for recommendations near your place of business or even contact your local chamber of commerce for suggestions.

Email newsletters

Getting people to give you their email address is almost as hard as getting them to give you their phone number. Why? Because people don’t want to get spam. However, many of us have set up a separate email address specifically for offers, so it doesn’t crowd our work emails, and we do go through them. If the email subject line is enticing enough or the message is from a company we want to hear from, we’ll open it.

Here are some tips on starting or building an email list:

  • If you have a lot of emails in your in-box right now and want to pull the contacts together, check out Contactually. They offer a free, 30-day trial, after which time they charge you monthly. I like how it pulls all my contacts, which I can place into “buckets” based on their role. You can separate your contacts by customers, vendors, sources, partners, or whatever you’d like and then tailor your emails to them easily.
  • If your website platform offers it (which most do), add a feature on your home page that offers a discount when people provide their email address.
  • If you use a point-of-sale system that captures emails, make sure to add your customers who supply you their email to your master email newsletter list.
  • Ask customers to subscribe to your email via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (be sure to include the link so you make it easy for them).

It’s amazing how few small independents businesses regularly use email these days when I feel bombarded by emails from the big boxes. You don’t need to send emails daily, but I would definitely recommend sending one at least once or twice a month. Monitor who opens your messages and when—and who doesn’t. This information can be very helpful as you prepare future emails.

Regardless if you do direct mail or email newsletters or both, a good marketing campaign is that much stronger when it’s supported in other ways. For example, make sure your direct mail piece recommends people visit your website to get added to your email list. Your email collection service should also ask for their mailing address. Once your email is sent, add the direct link to all of your social media sites (as appropriate). Do the same with the visual from your direct mail piece. The more your marketing pieces relate to each other (similar images, copy, tone, etc.), the easier it will be for your customers to remember you and consider doing business with you sooner than later.

What’s your best marketing idea that brought you the most business? Send me a tweet and use the hashtag #MarketingMondays with your idea!


Megy Karydes is principal of Karydes Consulting, a boutique marketing and communications firm and freelance writer who often covers retail for various magazines. She likes her calendars, whether digital or on paper, and has her editorial calendar pinned to her board in her office to remind her what day it is! Find her on Twitter at @megy.