What’s old is new again. As more and more businesses turn to digital marketing channels, such as social media advertising, video pre-roll, and email marketing, it's easy to overlook the tried-and-true method of direct mail prospecting.
While digital marketing has become a popular way for businesses to reach their target audience, there are still many potential customers who prefer to receive marketing messages through traditional channels like direct mail.
According to a recent study published in Small Business Trends, 42% of direct mail recipients read or scan the mail they receive, and nearly two-thirds of consumers have made a purchase as a result of direct mail.
The Benefits of B2B Direct Mail Prospecting
For B2B companies, direct mail can be particularly effective, as it can be used to target decision makers and influencers within a company who may be more difficult to reach through digital channels. By leveraging the benefits of both digital and direct mail marketing, businesses can create a more integrated and effective marketing strategy.
In this blog post, we'll explore seven benefits of B2B direct mail prospecting along with some considerations for why direct mail prospecting isn’t right for every business. Read on to learn about how direct mail prospecting can drive results for your business.
1. Increased Response Rates
Direct mail has a higher response rate than many other marketing channels, such as email or social media.
According to the “2018 ANA/DMA Response Rate Report,” which was co-produced by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Data & Marketing Association (formerly the Direct Marketing Association), direct mail has an average response rate of 4.4%, compared to email's response rate of just 0.12%. This means that direct mail is more likely to capture the attention of your target audience and generate leads when compared with email’s potential to capture attention.
In addition to its higher response rate compared to other marketing channels, direct mail can also encourage customers to take immediate action. By including an expiration date or limited-time offer, you can create a sense of urgency that motivates customers to act quickly. Additionally, direct mail can be an effective way to re-engage with dormant or inactive customers, encouraging them to return and make a purchase.
2. Better Targeting
One of the biggest advantages of direct mail prospecting is the ability to target specific segments of your audience with personalized messaging. With the help of customer data and segmentation, you can segment your send list and tailor your message to speak directly to the needs and interests of just that portion of your audience. This can make them more likely to engage with your brand. This level of personalization can also help you build long-term relationships with customers, driving repeat business and increasing brand loyalty.
With direct mail, you can target your message, design, form factor, tagline, or even call to action to a specific audience based on factors such as industry, company size, or geographies such as state, city, or neighborhood. This allows you to tailor your message to the specific needs and pain points of your target audience, increasing the likelihood that they will take action on your offer.
3. Increased Brand Awareness
Direct mail prospecting can also help to increase brand awareness. By consistently sending targeted, high-quality mailings to potential customers, you can ensure that your brand stays top-of-mind when they are ready to make a purchasing decision.
Direct mail prospecting can be a powerful tool for increasing brand awareness, particularly when used in conjunction with other marketing channels. By featuring your brand's logo, messaging, and unique value proposition in your mailings, your brand is sure to be consistently present in the minds of your prospective customers.
Additionally, including a call-to-action that directs customers to your website or social media channels can help to drive traffic and further increase brand awareness and brand engagement.
4. Increased Credibility
A well-designed, high-quality direct mail piece can also increase your credibility with potential customers. Using quality materials, cutting-edge design, and modern engagement tools such as QR codes, social media handles, and more, direct mail marketing campaigns can convey a sense of professionalism and expertise that can be difficult to achieve through digital channels alone.
This level of professionalism can be particularly effective in industries where trust and reputation are crucial, such as finance or healthcare, or in cases when trust needs to be rebuilt with your audience.
5. Tangible Impact
Direct mail is a physical, tangible item that can make a lasting impact on your target audience. This can be especially important in B2B marketing, where decisions are often made by a group of people who may be more likely to engage with a physical piece of mail than a digital ad.
In addition to being a physical mail item that can be touched and felt, direct mail can also make a lasting impact on customers in a way that digital channels can't. By creating a unique, eye-catching design, you can create a piece that customers are more likely to discuss with their colleagues or supervisors. This can help to generate word-of-mouth buzz, trigger inspiration, and increase the overall effectiveness of your outreach.
Direct mail can also be a cost-effective way to reach potential customers. While the cost of designing and printing mailings can be higher than digital marketing channels, the increased response rate and better targeting can often result in a higher return on investment.
Direct mail prospecting can be a budget-friendly way to reach potential customers, particularly when done at scale. By leveraging bulk mailing rates and working with a trusted printer, you can keep your costs low while still achieving a high level of quality.
7. Easy to Measure
By leveraging a unique URL, campaign-specific hashtag, or targeted call-to-action in your mailing, you can track the response rate and determine the effectiveness of your direct outreach campaign. This data can be used to:
- track conversions,
- monitor campaign health, and
- refine your targeting and messaging in future mailings, leading to even better results
Direct mail can also be an effective way to collect customer data and feedback, which can be used to improve your overall marketing strategy, bolster customer engagement, underscore your brand’s trustworthiness, and even evolve your company’s products or services.
Drawbacks to Direct Mail B2B Campaigns
Although there are numerous advantages to even the best B2B direct mail examples, it is worth noting that direct mail outreach is not an appropriate or effective marketing strategy for every business. Direct mail prospecting does come with some notable drawbacks, which include:
- Timing – Unlike digital advertising campaigns, which can be set up and made live in just moments, B2B direct mail campaigns require extra time for printing, fulfillment, and delivery.
- Environmental Impact – Printing processes and physical delivery are inherently wasteful due to the inherent usage of dyes and paper for fabrication and fossil fuels for delivery. This problem can be made worse if campaigns are not printed on recyclable materials. If your brand is aligned with sustainable practices, low carbon footprints, or other environmental issues, your audience may view direct mail as a contradiction to their beliefs.
- Targeting Limitations – While direct mail allows for some level of segmentation and personalization, it may not be as precise as social media and digital marketing channels. This lack of precision can be seen in an inability to target specific audiences, layer in personalized messages or calls-to-action, or reference other elements of your B2B mail advertising campaign. This can result in a lower response rate or wasted spend on customers who are ill-prepared for your content or are not a good fit for your product or service.
Direct Mail: Results You Can Rely On
In spite of its limitations, B2B direct mail prospecting can still be a valuable tool in your marketing toolbox. With a well-designed, highly targeted mailing campaign, you can increase response rates, increase brand awareness, and establish yourself as a credible, professional partner in your target audience's eyes.
SalesHive’s B2B direct mail marketing services help our partners reach the customers they desire with campaigns that are sales-driven, memorable, and effective. Learn more about our B2B sales outsourcing tools.