Direct Mail and Your Small Business

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Blue FiveDirect mail is a marketing practice in which the promoter or seller of a product or service sends marketing messages directly to the prospect or buyer. The uniqueness of the direct mail practice is the opportunity it affords the seller of delivering the message without using another medium so that there is no loss of control of the way the message is delivered or presented to the prospect. Another point of differentiation from other forms of marketing is that the promoter also gets use one distinct opportunity to promote, pitch and probably make the sale.

There are different types or methods used for implementing direct mail and these include sales letters, catalogues or other pictorial marketing collateral, sales letters combined with brochures.

In understanding the place of direct mail in your small business, it is important to note that your advertising budget is comparatively small. This means that you have to come up with and implement strategies that will fit within that budget but still yield the necessary results. Direct mail really affords you this unique platform with which to achieve this objective. We can take a look at some practical uses for direct mail for a small business. These include:

i. A small business can showcase its products or services to a much larger audience both geographically and demographically.

ii. Lead Generation: Depending on the nature of the product or service that you are promoting, direct mail could be the best means of generating qualified leads. It reduces your expenses and works effectively.

iii. Follow-up: By reading the sales letter, the prospect is more open to any follow up such as telephone.

Direct mail also presents a number of advantages to small businesses. Some of these include:

i. Direct Mail Grabs Attention: It is almost certain to command the attention of the prospects particularly as it is not competing with any other offers. This is in contrast with adverts in newspapers, magazines or trade journals.

ii. It is Relatively Cost Effective: While advertising is hardly targeted, direct mail will help a small business to pinpoint prospects and direct offers to them at a far less cost with higher possibility on making the sale.

iii. Generates Data: When a small business runs a direct mail campaign, it is able to generate a reasonable amount of data which will come useful in future campaigns. This data makes it possible for small businesses to determine the amount of funds to devote to a campaign thus saving scarce resources.

iv. Permits Innovation: A small business can simply increase its conversion rate by introducing innovative methods like adding a free sample. This works as an incentive to the prospects to make a purchase.

Direct mail however, also has disadvantages to a small business. These include:

i. Apathy: An offer, no matter how good simply must scale the skepticism hurdle in order to get read. This is because most people are averse to solicitations.

ii. Negative Perception: Direct mail these days is increasingly being referred to as ‘junk mail’.

iii. Needs Mailing Lists: Without mailing lists, direct mail is quite useless. The process of compiling a mailing list is quite tedious.

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