Direct mail tips for bricks-and-mortar marketers

For bricks-and-mortar companies, direct mail marketing pieces can, and should, do much more than sell a product or service. Direct mail is a fabulous opportunity to raise awareness of your brand, your products, and your services — in addition to increasing sales via specific offers.

For many years, supermarket flyers have successfully used “loss leaders” — deeply discounted staples like sugar and paper towels — to make sure customers were stopping by the store on a regular basis (and, of course, doing the rest of their shopping while they were on the premises). The hardware store mailer with a $10 off coupon for seasonal garden supplies may not move a lot of garden supplies. But chances are the sight of the mailer reminds people that they need to stop by the hardware store to pick up household supplies and tools.

While newspaper readership and network television viewing are on the decrease, people are still eagerly opening their postal mail, and, increasingly, perusing the contents of their email inboxes. As you craft and test direct mail campaigns for your bricks-and-mortar business, here are four tips to keep in mind:

  • Educate people about your brand. Chances are your business is more specialized than a supermarket or hardware store, so make sure your flyer or email gives a sense of the complete range of your products or services, even if some of them are never discounted. Simply mentioning “our many related services” in a sentence at the bottom of the mailer won’t do the trick. You want to avoid the mistake of the shoe store that for years sent out monthly mailings with discount coupons for their sports shoes — never mentioning that they also carried a full range of upscale shoes for office wear.
  • Make sure people can find you. For new customers, one of the biggest barriers to trying out a store or service is lacking a sense of how to find it. Your direct mail piece should make it easy for them. In these days of giant mall-based shopping districts, just your street address is rarely enough. A picture of your store or a small map will help. Best of all is a description (“next to the Glenview cineplex” or “a block south of City Hall”). It can make all the difference to a busy person planning a shopping trip and trying to decide if your store should be one of their stops.
  • Use email when you need speed. Email is the tool of choice when you need to advertise and move overstocked merchandise, or quickly build up a customer base for a new service you’ve added.
  • Get the right list and the best selects. Marigold’s direct marketing consultants can help you find the right postal mailing list or email marketing list, and then apply the best selects to tailor that list (by demographic and geographic criteria) to reach exactly the right prospects.

Please contact us for more information.

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