Can I Be Direct…? Part V

I Love Mail

So, the question comes up… with the ease of connecting through e-mail, social networking sites, and other online media, does traditional or direct mail have a place anymore?

Well it seems…, the answer is yes.

In fact, today happens to be the biggest day of the year for the U.S. Postal Service, who will process between 900,000,000 and 1,000,000,000 cards and letters in the next twenty-four hours.


This, in spite of the fact that it would be much easier to blast e-cards to a distribution list.

Yes it’s true…, it takes a lot more effort to put together something specifically for each individual. On the other hand, people like to know they’re special… and your customers and potential customers are no different.


When sending direct mail at this or any other time of the year, do it right.

If it looks like mass-marketed, bulk-mailed spam…, it will end up in the same place that you put junk mail when it is sent to you.

As we spoke about here, the most important step in reaching out with any marketing effort is to clearly identify your ideal customer, and deeply understand their most pressing business objectives… and issues.

Once done, everything else we do as small business owners and marketing professionals needs to be about them, and the challenges they face.

One doesn’t need to look far to see that many advertisers miss this completely. Without regarding the specific needs of the market, their message is irrelevant to their audience, often making claims that are suspect at best, and unbelievable at worst.


Here are a few suggestions to make your direct mail (and other marketing communications) more effective:

1) Personalize everything. Identify your ideal customer, and the problem you solve. Define this clearly, and do not attempt to cast a wide net.

2) Be real. In your content, write as you talk… forget platitudes, and avoid cliches or vague references to quality, dependability, service, or delivery.

3) Don’t try to cram everything into one piece. Get a calendar, and set up a schedule of valuable contact points… and intersperse them with other, more personal forms of communication.

4) Be consistent. Pick a reasonable number of targets per week that you can reach out to, and followup with. If your sales cycle is twelve weeks… you’ll need a different strategy than if it’s twelve months.

5) Be truthful. Sounds obvious…, but it is critical that every claim made, can be delivered every time.

6) Have a clear call to action, and be willing to give valuable information, resources, or samples along the way. The goal is to genuinely improve your ideal customer’s business or life, resulting in a long term realtionship… not a temporary transaction.

7) Treat each direct mail piece as a specific step in the process; a process which leads to the ultimate goal. Know the specific objective of each step, and how they relate to your overall marketing strategy.

These could include creating awareness, introducing a new product or service, or answering questions or objections.

Maybe you just want to preface a phone call or summarize meeting or discussion points. Or use it to move your ideal customer to a more interactive medium like your website or blog.

In any event, these can be powerful tools to start and strengthen your business relationships.


Want more? They are only limited by the imagination… I look forward to hearing your ideas.



The more people take advantage of mass electronic communication, the easier it is to stand out by being personal.

View each activity as a step. Consistent base hits win more games than sporadic home runs.

Be real. Be valuable. Be real valuable.


Photo Credit:

Pink Sherbet Photography