Did you hear that? There is less noise in your mailbox!

by Sheila O'Mara on May 5, 2010


On the April 28th episode of TVPG, Get More Business, Radio Show, our guest was Josef Katz – The Marketing Maestro!  He was a wealth of knowledge and I was so excited to hear what he had to share.  I couldn’t even comment much because of the notes I was taking. 

One of the nuggets of information that Josef shared was about direct mail.  Now as a small business owner, I pride myself on my marketing efforts that have been virtually free.  I pound the pavement networking and use social media to the best of my advantage so that I do not have to spend an excessive amount of money on marketing.  My thought is that if I build relationships with people that will last, I will be better off in the long run.  A postcard in the mailbox can hardly have the same effect as meeting me in person, or reading my blog and experiencing the passion I have for what I do. Right?

Josef was a proponent of direct mail.  I will be the first to admit I was totally turned off by that statement.  Why would anyone pay for a mailing that may or not be read?  Then he said the magic words and it fell into place:  “Direct mail may be an effective marketing tool because the mailbox has much less noise in it with the advent of email and social media.”  That was absolutely on target!


Noise in the mailbox?

I hadn’t thought about it until just then, but how many of us automatically hit delete from certain vendors, companies, or people for that matter.  We are deluged daily by excessive amounts of unwanted email and it is easily taken care of with the push of a button. Remember when it was like that in your physical mailbox?  All kinds of junk mail came in and went right to the trash.  I hadn’t thought of that until Josef mentioned it, but we have certainly seen a reversal in that recently.

Case in point:  I provide email marketing for a retail shop.  We have a data base that we send email to on a regular basis (about once a month).  We also send out special notices for events that are taking place.  We usually have a coupon or a “mention this email to get …” promotion attached to the email. For the bigger events, the store owner also sends out postcards with the same coupon or promotion on it.  Here is the funny thing, she has almost double the database on her email list than she does her postcard list, but she regularly gets more people to bring in the postcard for promotion fulfillment then she wills the email.  I was scratching my head about that, but after Josef’s comment, it makes complete sense.  I now agree that with less competition in the mailbox, it really does make sense to try direct mail marketing.

Of course it will depend on your business, your target audience and your budget.  When I do marketing for certain services I provide – say Staging for Seniors – that demographic is not on the internet.  They are still reading newspapers and opening their mail.  It makes sense for me to market to them using those methods.  The younger hip twenty and thirty-somethings hoping to sell their starter homes and move up are not reading the newspaper – so that would be wasted money.  They are into the social media sites where the marketing takes little more money than the investment of time.

I think it is safe to say that putting your eggs into any one marketing basket is unwise.  I would love to hear about your marketing forays – especially with direct mail.  My only experience with direct mail was when I offered a free class with a local furniture store during one of her huge sales.  She paid to have a mailing done and I remember being shocked to think that she was paying for something like that.  The reality is that she would only have to sell a small amount of inventory to pay for the mailing and then rest would be profit.  Makes much more sense now then it did then!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

TomPier May 6, 2010 at 1:23 pm

great post as usual!

Jason Sanders May 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Sheila – I think the content of the piece really matters here. Although I don’t have experience using direct mail to promote my business, my consumer experience is that coupons and special offers translate better through direct mail, than digital mail.

Emailed coupons just don’t translate as well. Sometimes I mean to print them out and use them, but inevitably they get buried in my mailbox … the the sale passes and I miss out. It’s much easier to tack a coupon or postcard to the fridge and usually I end up utilizing those offers.

Great post!

Josef Katz May 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Sheila, Thanks again for having me on the show and great to hear you found the information valuable. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind when using direct mail:

- Test, test and test different formats (envelope packages or self mailers can be very effective too), messages, offers, personalization etc
- If your product/service is physical direct mail might work well as you pointed out people bring in / hold onto their mail
- Make sure you have a way to read the results so you can determine if the ROI is where you need it to be

Happy to chat in more detail about any project you have where you are considering direct mail.

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