Direct Mail – The Golden Opportunity is NOW

Direct mail services

One of the biggest ramifications of the new GDPR legislation is that marketing departments are going to need to re-think the ways in which they contact prospects and customers. In view of this, we believe that there will be a significant increase in the use of direct mail in the coming months and years. In fact, an incredible marketing opportunity exists right now for those who act fast, ahead of the competition.

Direct Mail

In complete contrast to digital and online marketing, Direct Mail is a marketing approach that uses physical, printed promotional materials, which are posted to clients and prospects through the mail. Such marketing pieces can include anything from leaflets, postcards and newsletters to brochures, catalogues and even boxed samples. They can also include personalisation, for example showing the recipient’s name within the actual printed content, creating added impact.

The key steps needed for a typical direct mail campaign include:

  • Developing a customer database and/or purchasing a mailing list of prospects;
  • Copywriting, designing and artworking the mailing piece itself;
  • Printing the mailing piece;
  • Stuffing envelopes, addressing or labelling and/or otherwise assembling the finished components of the mailer, as applicable;
  • Dispatching the direct mailer to the customers and prospects. This can be door-to-door or posted to individual addressees …

Then crucially, of course, you need to be ready to handle any responses when they come in. Analysing the results is also extremely worthwhile so that you can learn from the data and improve things in your next direct mail campaign.

Professional Help

Southside Print can help with many of the steps above. Once you’ve supplied us with your mailing list or database, we can turn that into printed labels or, indeed, use a kind of ‘mail merge’ process to personalise envelopes or the direct mail pieces themselves, so that they’re ready to pop straight into the postal system.

With our own in-house graphic designers, we can also make sure that the design and artwork of your marketing piece really looks the business and conveys your promotional message in the best possible way. Clearly and speedily communicating the right message is, after all, just as important as snazzy graphics.

Southside Print are primarily commercial printers, so we can ensure that your printing looks attractive and professional and uses the most appropriate materials, finishes and weights. The weight of your direct marketing piece is crucially important, in fact. Should too heavy a paper or card weight be used, then you might find that your postage costs suddenly escalate. This factor requires careful consideration in terms of not only the thickness and weight of the paper, but also the size. Being a millimetre or gram over a certain threshold can add extra postage costs. When you are sending thousands of direct mail pieces, even just a few extra pence of postage on each item can cost you a small fortune in extra charges, particularly if your recipient database is significantly large. Care needs to be taken and this is one of our great fortes at Southside Print.

Response Rates

So, what kind of response rate can you expect from a direct mail campaign? Well, it all depends upon factors like how closely suited your mailing list is to your product or service and how good your marketing ‘offer’ is in the first place. Also, of course, it depends upon whether you are mailing a ‘house’ list of existing customers (who will be more likely to respond) or an entirely new prospect mailing list, for example one supplied by a professional list provider.

All in all, though, the traditional wisdom is that the average response rate from a direct mail campaign falls typically into the 1% to 5% range, with “an attractive cost per acquisition” according to the Direct Marketing Association (‘DMA’). According to a recent report by the DMA, direct mail significantly outperforms all digital channels, by a long shot. This may, indeed, become even more true now that the GDPR data rules have come into full play. ‘House’ lists usually glean a 5.3% response rate while ‘prospect’ lists typically result in a 2.9% response rate. In contrast to this, digital response rates are significantly lower in comparison (online display advertising 0.9%; email 0.3% [prospect list] to 0.6% [house list]; social media 0.6% and paid search 0.5%). Quite a difference! Cost per acquisition with Direct Mail was shown to be favourable too. However, direct mail was not an outright winner in this respect, being outperformed for that metric by email and social media marketing campaigns, which makes sense given the economy of using those platforms, at least until now — the fortunes of email marketing in particular may soon change now that the new GDPR legislation is in force. Indeed, recent reports from the Royal Mail and other direct marketing associations show that a combination of direct mail and email usually results in the very best results for sales and marketing promotions. So, it makes more sense than ever to integrate both into your marketing strategy.

Direct Mail Formats

Another DMA report showed some very interesting and useful data in respect of formats, with oversize envelopes coming in top position with a 5% response rate. Postcards came in second place with a response rate of 4.25%, ‘dimensional’ (non-flat) pieces achieved 4%, catalogues came in with a 3.9% response rate and standard sized (e.g. C4) envelopes achieved a 3.5% response rate.

Overall, the report showed a 15-17% ROI which, in terms of marketing channels, is a strong return on investment for a standalone campaign.

Your Biggest Direct Mail Opportunity is NOW

The really good news is that your competitors are likely to have neglected direct mail in recent years, in favour of digital marketing. So, if you act before your competitors, break the trend and capitalise on the gap left by the recent GDPR legislation changes before your competitors do, you could see an ROI significantly higher than the report’s stated 15-17% range. It will be extremely interesting to see the results for Direct Mail in a year’s time, in fact.

The re-birth of direct mail is, in effect, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that marketing departments should embrace before everyone climbs back on board! With direct mail having already increased in the last two or three years, even before the GDPR legislation came into force, the opportunity for really significant success is right now.

Contact Southside Print

Contact Southside Print in London Bridge for more information on how we can help you with design, printing and dispatch of your direct mail pieces. Call 020 7378 6754, request a quotation here or simply send us a message here and we’ll be happy to help you to make the most of this unique opportunity. Learn more about our direct mail services here.