We’re currently in an Age of Entrepreneurship where long-time business people are leaving their cubicles and corner offices to create their own companies from the ground, up. We’re also seeing the resurgence of the “maker” mentality; more and more consumers are opting for small shops over Big Boxes and homegrown over mass produced. And although a local approach to business is great for a city’s economy, it typically doesn’t come with the same marketing budget that the corporate world offered. So what is the small business owner to do with limited resources?
Market big by marketing smart. And one way to market smart is to market locally with direct mail.
Discover 5 ways to direct market big with a small budget:
1. Do Your Mailbox Research
What kind of mail do you actually read? What do you automatically consider “junk” and toss? Make a note of the aspects of a mailer that catch your eye or pique your interest. If you’re a member of your own target audience, use yourself as a focus group of one. Collect a few different pieces and keep them on hand to reference elements that work for you.
2. Don’t Insult Your Customers’ Intelligence
More often than not, your customers know when they’re being advertised to. It’s no longer a question of “is this advertising,” but rather a question of, “is this good advertising?” Outdated tactics like baiting and switching, claiming “FREE” everything, superfluous use of exclamation points and being visually shouted at are an immediate request for placement in the recycling bin. Keep it simple and talk to people like they’re people.
3. Get to the Point
As the saying goes, “don’t bury your lead.” Put your unique selling proposition within the first few sentences of your copy so potential customers will immediately know if you’re offering a product or service they can use. Keeping your target audience in mind, use a tone that resonates with them (writing to Millennials is much different than writing to Baby Boomers) — in any instance, keep it conversational. Even if you’re selling a specific medical device or law service, use jargon-free terminology. Think of someone you know well who fits into your demographic and write to them.
4. Think Outside (Or Inside) the Envelope
Consider your product, service and target audience before deciding on a marketing medium; different forms of direct marketing work for different segments. Some offerings are better as a postcard. Some require longer copy in the form of a letter to include more details and personal benefits. You’ll also want to align your color scheme and materials with the branding of your item. Think about every detail down to the paper weight and finish. You may also want to consider including something unique in your mailer: a branded pen inside the envelope to entice the recipient to discover what’s inside; a scratch-off section with a prize or discount; a useful element such as a built-in To-Do List or branded sticky notes. If you have the budget, experiment with A/B testing to see which type of message lengths, writing tones, design elements and extras work best for your business.
5. Inspire Action
Even if you’ve created a direct mail piece that’s beautifully designed, well written, useful and locked within the attention span of your potential customer, you’ll never convert him or her into a client without a call to action. You don’t have to close the deal immediately, you just have to motivate your customers to travel further down your sales funnel. Encourage them to take the next step by asking them to sign up for your newsletter or call for a free consultation. Create a sense of urgency and give them a reason to act.
Smart marketing isn’t necessarily about budget — it’s about strategy. Money doesn’t turn prospects into clients, but messaging does. Make sure you’re taking the time to plan out every detail of your direct marketing piece so your hard work doesn’t become just another piece of junk mail for the recycling bin.