When it comes to direct mail marketing, the tide has shifted. Not that long ago, direct mail campaigns were considered an antiquated marketing strategy. Email had become the preferred form of selling to customers and marketers were all over it. Once it seemed everyone had bought into it, however, it suddenly became fashionable to send and receive physical mail again.
So here we are, back at direct mail marketing, and it’s producing incredible results. Let’s learn what quality mail marketing is and how some popular e-commerce brands have used it as part of their success stories. Then you can apply those same principles to create your own success story.
What is Quality Mail Marketing?
You could say that quality mail marketing is direct mail done right. If you can learn how to use direct mail marketing effectively, you’ll give your business the best chance for success. Just because you’re a digitally-discerning, direct-to-consumer (D2C) and/or e-commerce business, it doesn’t mean you have to stay in that space. If you find a marketing method that works for you, like direct mail, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make it a staple in your strategy. That’s why many e-commerce businesses target their customers via direct mail. They know it works.
Cheryl Kaplan is the president of M.Gemi (pronounced em je-mee), a predominantly D2C company that sells handcrafted Italian shoes for men and women. She sees the value in quality mail marketing because it’s worked for her company. In an interview with Vox, she said:
“Direct mail went away for a while, but more digital brands are seeing how well it works as strong marketing. It’s a different way to speak with customers who are sick of the ads they see on Instagram.”
Additionally, direct mail success is determined largely by the way you present your brand and message. She continued:
“It used to be that the way to stand out was to look like you were screaming. It’s very different now. You want to get your point across quickly, otherwise you go in the garbage.”
Many a modern-day direct mail marketer incorporates high-flash photography, bold fonts, matching color schemes, and brash catch phrases. Kaplan called it “storytelling in a bold, interesting voice.” If you can get your message across quickly and effectively, with some of the aforementioned traits, you’ll likely keep direct mail as a consistent aspect of your marketing strategy.
Casper Knows Urban Millennials Need Their Sleep
Does it seem like there’s a new mattress manufacturer appearing in your Instagram feed every week? Purple, Leesa, and Nectar are among the many brands vying for your social attention—and money. In fact, there are now more than 170 foam mattress brands in competition with one another. Mattresses have become a thriving $29-billion industry, and Casper, which began in 2014, currently has the largest market share among them.
The New York-based bed-in-a-box company made over $200 million during their first two years. Now they’re expanding into retail stores like Target and Nordstrom, and they opened almost 20 pop-up shops in large U.S. markets to test their own retail sales efforts. With the prosperity of those ventures, Casper now has plans to open over 200 brick-and-mortar shops in the next three years.
How did they achieve their success? One of the ways was with quality mail marketing. They filled mailboxes around the country with their slick blue booklets touting a “great night’s sleep at a price that won’t keep you up at night.” These self-mailers were printed on durable, glossy cardstock and sent primarily to urban millennials. But Casper also cast their direct mail marketing nets wider, filling group mailers with glossy ads that promised “the best sleep of your life.” These print ads gave potential customers something tangible, and it kept their products and brand on people’s minds. One look at their sales figures ($400 million of revenue in 2018) confirms that their direct mail marketing strategy was worth the effort. They’re now America’s top-rated mattress.
Make a Strong First Impression with Quality Mail Marketing
Like Casper, be sure your direct mailer looks as good as your product. If you want to make a strong first impression, the mailpiece needs to be well designed and beautifully printed. After all, for many people who are just learning about your brand, this may be the only incentive they have to visit your website and become a customer. Plus, you may enjoy additional benefits because people are more likely to save and share your mail piece. Bottom line: don’t skimp on your presentation.
MSP can help you make your direct mail piece look amazing. Just ask us how you can get started.
Harry’s Grooms Their Direct Mail Recipients for Subscriptions
Men’s grooming will likely become an $80-billion industry by 2024, and online shaving company Harry’s plans to be a big part of that growth. The fledgling subscription service has graduated from a relative unknown in the industry to a household name you can find in Target displays and other large retail stores. Harry’s built their brand with a “superior razor at an even better price,” and they paid particular attention to their target market’s best interests. In fact, they spent a great deal of time asking their three-million recurring customers what they wanted.
One marketing method they found particularly successful was quality mail marketing. Harry’s observed that their email marketing messages had a tendency to get lost in the shuffle—whereas, by comparison, a piece of direct mail marketing had a lot less competition. The results showed that direct mail was worth the effort rather than relying solely on digital marketing channels.
From the aforementioned Vox interview, Harry’s head of acquisition marketing, Pete Christman, said:
“People our age get hundreds of emails a day, but they only get ten pieces of a mail a day, if that many. From a numbers perspective, email is a much noisier environment.”
Don’t Get Lost: Direct Mail Stands Out More Than Email
Direct mail is less likely to get lost in the advertising shuffle than email. You likely get a lot of emails on any given day, whereas you may only get a few pieces of physical mail. You can’t ignore that ratio, especially when you consider that almost 80% of people sort through their mail immediately upon receiving it. Don’t abandon digital, but use direct mail as a way to capture the attention of potential customers.
Wayfair Uses Omnichannel Marketing
Furniture and home goods e-tailer Wayfair has been around since 2002. So it’s no surprise that the Boston-based company has amassed 14-million items from 11,000+ global suppliers. Like other successful e-commerce entities, they’ve somewhat outgrown their online-only status. Wayfair made $6.8 billion in 2018 because they had mastered the concept of an online only, e-commerce business. So they tested the retail waters with pop-up shops in Illinois, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. They also opened a permanent store in Natick, Massachusetts, and an outlet location in Florence, Kentucky. Why did they do this when they were already thriving? They felt there was untapped potential for business in the retail realm.
Wayfair used the Natick Mall location plus the pop-up stores primarily as additional marketing channels. Then they let their outlet store serve as a place where open-box returns could find a second home. The next phase was to get all the channels to work together—aka omnichannel marketing. So they produced a robust, 92-page mail-order catalog with approximately 775 unique items and sent it to both prospects and current customers. Erin Moran, a spokesperson for Wayfair, praised the effects of direct mail in a quote from Multichannel Merchant.
“We think that direct mail … gives us a valuable, immersive touch point where we can tell our brand stories and enhance the shopping experience for our customers.”
Omnichannel Marketing Provides a Seamless Shopping Experience
As technology has evolved, modern-day marketing methods have grown, too. With so many marketing channels available now, you can give your customers a seamless shopping experience with omnichannel marketing. This approach allows your online efforts to work alongside your retail endeavors and beyond. If you have a physical location, plus a website and social media channels—and you’re creating direct mail campaigns—make sure they all work in unison for your very best results.
Quip Helps Their Customers Solve Problems
Quip is a Brooklyn-based oral care company that sells dental products (toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, etc.) via subscription. This is not your standard oral care fare, though. Quip founded their company on the best design principles rather than the latest tooth care trends. How so? They believe the way your toothbrush is built has a bigger impact on your oral health than the latest industry fad. Each electronic toothbrush is purposefully designed to help their customers break the bad habits of brushing their teeth by offering products that solved their problems.
Quip used, in part, quality mail marketing methods to reach those customers. Like many of their successful digital counterparts, they discovered a new way to market to potential patrons: via their mailboxes. Like many other e-commerce brands, Quip learned that direct mail cut through the clutter of email marketing. The statistics support that thinking. According to the Direct Marketing Association, almost 80% of consumers act on direct mail immediately while generating a far greater response rate than email. Plus, direct mail generates more customers.
To track their direct mail efforts, quip couldn’t rely on the instant methods they experienced with digital. So they used discount codes that were specific to each of their direct mail campaigns. This allowed them to see which of their campaigns were successful and which were not. Then they could determine how to proceed with future endeavors, based on what worked and what didn’t.
Monitoring Conversions Helps You Understand Your Campaigns Better
If you want an accurate account of your direct mail campaigns, use mailer-specific discount codes to monitor conversions. This is not a new philosophy, it’s just one that works. Discount codes entice customers to buy while also serving as a way to track your campaigns. This method will help you not only sell more of your product or service, it will also help you understand your direct mail campaigns better so you can plan more successful ones in the future.
Furniture Brand Article Embraces Print Marketing
Online modern furniture brand Article claims to be the “best way to buy beautiful modern furniture.” Since 2013, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company made it their mission to “make great style easy, long-lasting, and well-priced.” And it worked. Article began making a profit after two years and their earnings are now over $100 million a year, thanks largely to their digital marketing efforts. Despite that success, they knew there were more people who hadn’t heard of them yet. The marketing team reveled in their digital marketing efforts, but they also felt there were many other ways to reach people. So they created a printed product catalog to send to prospective customers.
In an interview with Digiday, Article CMO Andy Prochazka said:
“Digital has its limitations. It’s wonderful in some ways. You get instant feedback, and you get very rapid reach and access to what sometimes feels like infinite scale. But you quickly realize, once you look a little beyond that, there’s a whole world of other ways to reach more people.”
Enter quality mail marketing. Article designed product catalogs in-house while their data science team strategized ways to measure the responses. They set aside two months to monitor the results and used a control group to track traffic and conversions from the various demographics that received the catalog vs. those that didn’t. They paid particular attention to the website traffic of the featured product pages, plus social media activity from the regions that received it.
Measure Your Direct Mail Responses
There are many ways to measure your direct mail traffic. Mailer-specific codes are a popular and effective method of measurement, as we previously mentioned, but you can also look at things like website and social media traffic. If you want to experience the ultimate direct mail reporting mechanism, Direct Mail Panorama provides complete transparency into your direct mail’s performance. Plus it allows you to track and analyze every step of the mailing process. Direct Mail Panorama is the future of direct mail management. Contact an MSP representative to talk about it today.
Quality Mail Marketing Works
Some of the top e-commerce companies know that quality mail marketing works. It’s how they reach an audience they might have otherwise missed if they were only using digital marketing methods. What can you say about your brand’s direct mail marketing efforts? Do you use an omnichannel marketing approach? Are you sending beautiful mail pieces that provide a high-quality first impression? Do you track and analyze your results? If so, how detailed do you get?
There are a lot of questions to answer, but if you’re going to “do” direct mail, be sure to do it right for the best results. One way to assure this happens is to partner with a reliable direct mail provider like MSP. Contact an MSP representative today to talk about your quality mail marketing future.
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