The other day, I received a postcard for a dentist nearby advertising for new patients. It just so happens that I’m looking for a new dentist, and I was planning to do some research and make an appointment after the holidays. This got me thinking about the value of a good, old-fashioned, direct mail campaign in today’s digital world. The postcard I received is a great example of a successful mail piece—it did its job and got me to call! Yet so many business owners are quick to reject the idea of a direct mail campaign and choose to focus their efforts solely on digital marketing.
Yes, digital marketing can be convenient, efficient and cost effective. Websites, social media platforms and email campaigns are great for engaging with current or prospective customers who are familiar with your business. And, with the ability to forward and share online, you can even grow your audience through your digital marketing efforts. But, when it comes to introducing your company to prospective new customers, a well-executed direct mail campaign may be the way to go. In fact, there are plenty of statistics out there that support the value of including direct mail in your marketing mix.
You’ll notice I mentioned a “well-executed” campaign. Direct mail can be costly, but the good news is that most elements of a campaign can be modified to fit your budget, and if all those elements are carefully considered, you can maximize the return on your investment. Today, let’s talk about one of the most crucial elements of any direct mail campaign …
Timing will get your foot in the door!
If your timing is right, you’ll reach prospective customers who are actively seeking the services you provide. Take my dentist postcard as an example. I’ll still do some research before I make my appointment, but that dentist is already one step ahead of any of the others I might consider. Why? Because, they made it easy for me! Of course that dentist doesn’t know what’s on my to-do list for this month, but I doubt it’s a coincidence that they reached out to me at the precise time that I needed them. Thanks to their planning, that postcard managed to stay out of the junk pile, and that dentist’s office is one step closer to having a new patient!
Here are some things to consider when planning the timing for your direct mail campaign:
- Think about the services you offer and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you were looking for the services your company offers, when might you start researching companies? When would you be planning to make calls for estimates or to set up appointments? You may score some valuable points if your mail piece lands in a potential customer’s hands at just the right time!
- Now that the holiday season has come to an end does your mailbox seem empty? Mine sure does! Consider what your own mailbox and schedule are like during different times of the year. Take advantage of a post-holiday lull if it makes sense for your business.
- If your business isn’t seasonal, or if you’re looking to pick up business in the off-season, a direct mail piece advertising a special event or sale may engage new customers. Even if the timing isn’t right to take action, your prospective customer will likely save the piece for future reference and may connect with you online. It may not be an immediate sale, but it’s a valuable lead!
If you have a timeline in mind for your direct mail campaign, that’s great! I’ll share more tips on turning that mail piece into a phone call in my next blog!