Direct mail marketing is as old as the hills.
The problem with direct mail, as naysayers view it, is that it takes a “spray and pray” approach: spray an area with your mailing and pray that a) it’s received, 2) the people receiving it need your services 3) those people don’t lose or throw away the mailing, and 4) they actually reach out to you. At best, that’s behind the times; at worst, it’s a terrible waste of money and resources.
But if you dismissed direct mail marketing when you first started out in favor of other marketing methods, it’s time you take a closer look. The possibilities with direct mail have increased dramatically over the years, and it’s a great way to reach a particular audience.
For starters, the targeting that can happen with direct mail may be surprising to a lot of originators. You can target a particular geographic area, sure. But you could also target based on age, credit score, types of mortgage they already own, eligibility for certain loans, even something as specialized as the type of car that people drive. Whether you bring your own list to the mailer or obtain a list from a prospector, you can take that list, segment it, and create completely separate messaging for each segment. Not to mention, putting people’s names on the mailings, thereby increasing the likelihood that it will stand out and be read.
There are also plenty of opportunities for direct mail to partner with other types of marketing. CFO and co-owner of Mailings Unlimited, Jon Webel, says that his company is constantly looking for opportunities tie in direct mail with any digital platform in any direct way, and one way may be through the USPS, which has launched a program called Informed Delivery.
A client signs up for Informed Delivery, and they are able to digitally preview their mail, viewing images of the exterior, address side of letter-sized mail. What’s more, the USPS is letting you attach additional messaging to each piece of mail, which will be viewed if a client clicks on the image.
“This is pretty brand new, and the opportunities of being there early is there for everybody right now. There’s not a lot of people utilizing the service,” Weber says. “One thing that we have done kind of in anticipation of it is some of the copy that we see and the suggestions that we have for copy is, put more meaningful information on the address side of a postcard or self-mailer.”
Although Informed Delivery isn’t available in all geographic areas yet, it holds tremendous potential.
Webel has noticed that mortgage originators don’t make up much of his business, at least not in recent years.
“A lot of them were going big or go home, and not a lot of them took advantage of the opportunities,” he said. “Very few people use it for what I think it would be good at; using an old-school technology to build rapid business intelligence.” He adds that the availability of segmented data is still higher for direct mail than it is for email.
And don’t forget – tracking is a very important aspect of direct mail marketing, just as with some digital marketing methods. Not only can you track whether or not the mail is getting to the recipient, the tracking is a variable component of a package that continues with special codes, offers, and the like. Have a strategy in terms of how often you’re going to mail, what product(s) are you going to promote, and don’t be afraid to shift the messaging if the results aren’t what you expected.
“There’s a lot of smaller guys that need to market and are afraid to get their toe in the water,” Webel said. Obviously, the bigger the package the less it costs per item and the more likely you are to get discounts, but Webel says there’s an opportunity at every price point, and mailings can happen on a very small scale.
So don’t discount direct mail! It can be quite cost-effective, and as there are a lot fewer pieces of physical mail being delivered these days, there’s much more opportunity to stand out in the eyes of potential clients.