Recommend leveraging the U.S. Postal Service for marketing purposes and watch the eyebrows rise. 

“How quaint!” 

“Shall we also deliver our assets by horse and buggy?” 

“OK, Boomer.” 

After all, this is the digital age. Viva la internet! With email, social media, shifting trends, and the influencers that mold them, why would anyone use antiquated snail mail campaigns?

The answer lies with what we’re going to call the Special Delivery Effect. A person shows up in a large, magical truck and brown uniform--knock, knock, knock--then leaves. You fly to the door, and there it is: a package, with your name on it. 

You receive it like an Oscar nomination. Such joy! So unexpected! They like me! They really like me!

You ordered it, but still.  

Because of the Special Delivery Effect, direct mail leaves a lasting impression on the recipient. In most cases, the response rate for a direct mailing campaign can be anywhere from 0.5% to 2%. Those numbers might seem low, but when compared to a less than 1% cold email response rate, they’re nothing to sneeze at. 

Now that we’ve convinced you of direct mail’s unexpected potential, here are four ways to use it to benefit your business (without looking tragically out of date).

Sell the Experience

Let’s face it: unless you have an exclusive patent on your product or service, customers can probably find it somewhere else. Here in the Information Age, business owners need to be innovative to rise above the noise. We think one of the best ways to do this is by selling a unique experience. Studies show that experience will influence customer buying decisions more than price

Enter: direct mail.

Personal Mail Marketing Campaign copy

Handwritten cards on unexpected occasions are one way to get a customer’s attention (and capture their loyalty). While follow-up emails are appreciated, a handwritten thank you card fosters a more personal connection.

How else can you enrich the customer experience? Think of campaign assets that fit your brand image or space, such as a few recipe cards for food products you sell. 

You could also take your marketing strategy in the opposite direction: send out a you-color-in postcard as a gentle reminder of your brand, or a crossword puzzle card. Simple but effective, it could serve as the reminder your customers need to come back for another site visit. (Combine your direct mail with a discount for maximum effectiveness.)

The Soft Touch

Inspiring Customer Loyalty with Direct Mail

Who doesn’t love a little unexpected something? Use samples to make your customers feel valued and simultaneously nudge them from one segment to another. 

For example, if you sell coffee and coffee accessories, send your subscription coffee club members some free samples of your coffee filters or a new line of upscale coffees. Including a note that thanks them and introduces them to your other products softens the “sales pitch” with a warm and personal voice.

If your business doesn’t use product samples, take a different approach. Come up with a clever, memorable minipack to send to potential customers. Check out this real life example from our Marketing + Content Director, Grace:

Around the holidays last year, my partner and I (renters in a new town) received a teeny package from a local real estate agent. Inside was a cute Christmas ornament coupled with a punny one-liner. 

From the day we moved in, we’d been inundated with boring postcards and letters from local agents that went straight into the trash. Jennifer’s tactic was different--and way more effective--for a few reasons:

    • She sent a package instead of a letter or a postcard. For most people, there’s an instant mental connection between “package” and “gift” or “treat.” She made this connection even more apparent by choosing a (pricier) decorative bubble mailer. I was compelled to open it; how could I not?!

    • She used a proper stamp to send it (seasonal and noteworthy), instead of a pre-printed computer-issued label (cold and business-y). 

    • She sent something we would actually want.
      • No one uses fridge calendars anymore, and everyone has a billion pens. That’s not going to make you stand out. Jennifer chose a gift that was seasonally appropriate, usable, and packaged festively to boot.

    • She used humor and brevity to make her point.
      • I love punny jokes, and her “clauses” one on the package genuinely made me smile. Her message was short, to the point, and most importantly--memorable.

Personal Direct Mail Marketing Gift

We’re closing on our first home next month. Guess who our real estate agent is?

Get Personal, Work Up a Buzz 

Another great way to use direct mail is by including physical business cards printed with unique coupon codes for your site. Include a personalized note encouraging your customers to give the discount cards to their friends. 

You can even create custom landing pages for the coupon cards to target and welcome new customers who use these codes, specifically. Tailored URLs create a high sense of personal value for new customers as you introduce them to your brand.

Mix It Up 

A solid design on a good piece of card stock can be highly effective, but it’s important to keep your mind open to atypical marketing strategy options as well. We suggest something like seeded paper, which is...exactly what it sounds like: paper with wildflower seeds embedded in it. 

Letters written on high quality seeded paper can be buried in the ground or a pot, and, with proper water and sun, flowers will spring up within a few days. Not only do plants make people happy, but now those customers have a constant reminder of you, firmly planted in their garden or on their window sill.

Likewise, posters, tchotchkes, and items you usually reserve for tradeshows can be creatively included in physical mailers. Ultimately, the goal is this: you want to inspire customer loyalty. If a customer is going to make a decision or purchase relating to your business sector, make sure you’re front and center in his or her mind.   

When used thoughtfully, direct mail marketing is certainly not dead. Done right, it can generate leads, enhance customer loyalty, and make an impression. 

Unsure of where to begin? We’ve got some bang-up marketing experts that can help.

Reach us here to start the conversation.

Topics: Marketing, Business