A few years ago, pre-pandemic (time has gotten weird!), I attended 24 or more conferences per year. That was way too much. But it gave me a good sense of current marketing trends. For the past year or so, there’s been talk about a hot new tool that is disrupting online marketing.
Want to take a guess at what that hot new tool is?
It’s direct mail!
Yes, you heard me correctly. The “new” disruptor in online marketing is a near-ancient form of media. This is no surprise to me and likely isn’t a surprise to you and many others. There are, at a minimum, 2 really good lessons about marketing here that can impact your business.
The First Lesson: Nothing Is New
It may be new to you. It may be a new spin on an old tactic. It may even have fancy new packaging. But it is all the same old stuff repackaged and resold time and time again.
Let me give you a few examples: Facebook marketing is simply a digital display of a Yellow Pages ad. Instagram marketing is digital magazine advertising. Podcast ads are digital radio ads. Google Adwords are digital newspaper classifieds. Many so-called gurus are updating old courses on how to write classifieds or Yellow Pages ads for new media. Then they’re selling those rehashed products to you for obscene amounts of money. Stop buying into the idea that anything is new!
There’s also a risk with new — it may not work. It may not work in your industry. It may not work today but will tomorrow. The examples go on and on. Of course, there can be massive first-mover advantages if you take a risk and try something “new.” But if you’re going to do that, you must do it responsibly. Let me explain. When you want to try “new” marketing, view it as an experiment. Go into it with any knowledge that you can gather and be prepared to lose all the money you’re investing. Never cancel other marketing that is working to experiment with a “new” marketing campaign. Doing so would be the equivalent of taking mortgage money and going to the casinos. We’re entrepreneurs, not gamblers. We take calculated risks. We don’t get bored with our own stuff.
The Second Lesson: Online And Offline Marketing Work Together
Your direct mail marketing should supplement your online marketing. How do you do that?
At The Newsletter Pro, we use an O2O strategy. When we market to someone online, our goal is to take them offline as soon as possible. If we market to someone offline, our goal is to bring them online as soon as possible. This allows us to use multimedia marketing and gives us the best shot at converting the prospect to a client.
Let me share some examples. When I speak at an event, I’m doing offline marketing. At most speaking engagements, I end with a lead-generation call to action with the reward of a free book. Participants get the free book by texting in. When they text in, an automated system captures the person’s data and puts it directly into our CRM system. This allows us to get their full contact details and instantly brings the customer from offline to online. That’s because one of the first pieces of data we capture is their email address. We also get a physical mailing address. I spend $17 to mail out our Shock and Awe package for each person who fills out the form. By delivering high-value presentations and following up with text opt-in, we capture 70% of the audience members I speak to.
It is, typically, much easier to see this in action than to just read about it. Text “TNP” to 208-269-9111, and you’ll get to see firsthand how the marketing works. As an added bonus, I will send you a short document detailing how we use this service and what technology we use to make it work. This way you can shortcut the process of adding this lead-capture method into your own business.
Why Direct Mail Works
Direct mail is disrupting online marketing because today, it takes many more touches to get someone to buy. As you know, we’re inundated with marketing messages all day, every day. You have much less competition in the mail than you do online. This means that, in many cases, you can get more qualified eyeballs on your message via direct mail. Finally, it is working because so few people are doing it. In a world where going wide is the norm, the person who goes deep stands above the rest.
Everyone is looking for the easy button. “How do we scale this?” is a common concern. “How do we spend the least amount of money possible?” everyone asks. These are the wrong questions and the trappings of average entrepreneurship. If you want to be the best, you can’t simply copy your competitors. You have to do things that make you stand out from the pack. Direct mail marketing is one of those things. It also has the added benefit of being very profitable when done correctly.
Market Based On What Works, Not Your Preferences
I want to make one last point. I hear this all the time from people who are simply misinformed. They say, “But I sell to millennials, and they don’t read direct mail,” or “I don’t like getting mail, so this doesn’t work,” etc.
I’ll start with the latter. Who cares what you like or don’t like? It is unlikely that you are your target market, and even if you are, your personal feelings about a form of media are irrelevant. I don’t love social media, but I’m happy to make money on it. I rarely buy anything from it, but, once in a blue moon, I still do. Just because it isn’t my preference to buy from Facebook ads doesn’t mean it isn’t yours.
Currently, the generation that purchases the highest number of products from print catalogs is millennials — not baby boomers, not Gen Xers — millennials. It may seem crazy, but they learn of a product in a catalog and go online and buy it. People trust direct mail far more than they trust online marketing or email marketing. Of course, that doesn’t mean those items don’t work; we all know they do when executed properly. But you may be overlooking the “new” disruptor of online marketing by not including direct mail in your bag of tricks.
P.S. If you’re looking to add direct mail to your marketing mix, we can help. In addition to custom and semi-custom newsletters, we also send thousands of other pieces of direct mail. We can help with postcards, letters, and many other forms of media. We even publish a few magazines and catalogs for our clients. If you need help adding more media into your mix, call a Pro at 208-297-5700 or schedule a meeting by visiting Newsletterpro.com/schedule.