Direct Marketing Article
How to Dress Up Direct Mail
By Deborah Simpson, President Multi-Craft
Those familiar with the marketing industry know that nearly anything is
possible when it comes to print and mailing. However, managing budgetary,
logistical and ROI concerns is what gives us pros the expertise to develop
the smartest mailing campaigns for our organizations or clients. Recent
studies show that dimensional mail produces higher response rates than other
direct mail formats. Recently, marketers have reported response rates
anywhere between 25% and 50%.
So, what's new in dimensional mail?
It is not just about sending something fancy; it's all about engaging
clients and prospects. Every day we receive letters, postcards and flat
mailers and if they don't grab your attention, they are quickly discarded.
The Winterberry Group reports that 63% of consumers said they were more
likely to open a direct mail piece that came in an interesting package.
Dimensional mail maintains effectiveness in engaging the recipient based on
shape or appearance alone, but you'll be much better off to take the extra
steps in delivering a stand out message.
• Make it pop! Sending an item that is playful or requiring some assembly
extends the engagement. This takes the recipient from being intrigued enough
to open your mailer, to engaging with the meaning behind it and more likely
to take another step toward action.
• Make your dimensional mail campaign shareable and memorable. Social media
is not the only way to get target customers to share something. In fact, it
could be argued that a clever mailer, being physically shown to a friend or
co-worker, has a higher impact than sharing something only on social media
in the hopes that the right people will see it and share it. Bonus - if the
mailer is something useful that they might save and use over and over again
you will extend your brand recognition.
Beware of budgeting and boxing
Of course, some dimensional mail can cause great production challenges. It
is easy to get caught up in the fun, imaginative possibilities of a
dimensional campaign and forget about cost of production and postage.
Mailers can integrate the latest print technologies with old-fashioned
hand-assembly that can require a high-level of precision. The production of
dimensional mail can also take longer than traditional flat mail.
• Almost anything can be mailed if you're willing to pay the price - first
class postage, Custom Market Mail fees or high shipping rates. The USPS will
mail bags, cans and drums (properly sealed and within weight and size specs)
- even coconuts! You may have to pay an extra non-automation rate, but the
impact may be worth it. A document bag, bank bag or sport bottle can act as
both gift and package in one.
• Dimensional mail will cost more than a letter, traditional mailer or
postcard, but it's not about the cost - it is about the value - the return
on investment. The increased engagement that comes with dimensional mail and
the increased response rates may make it worth it to you and your
organization. The extra steps in making a standout package or envelope can
only increase your chances of reaching your targets. In any case, sort out
the details sooner rather than later, so that you might save on cost and
reap a higher ROI.
• If dimensional mail isn't in your budget, consider being creative with
unique envelope sizes, colored envelopes, unusual envelope windows or a
teaser printed boldly on the outside of the envelope. A letter in a FedEx or
ExpressMail package can sometimes be as enticing as a dimensional mail piece
- and may be more affordable. One of the benefits of the FedEx or
ExpressMail package is that it is immediately given importance and gets
through to the intended recipient. Consider all available shipping services
including UPS, Fedex and USPS. Work with your strategic printing partner to
establish the size, weight, packaging and most cost effective shipping
method early on to avoid custom production or other costly services that may
not be necessary.
Additionally, The United States Postal Service is undergoing many changes
- from the closing of 229 processing facilities to the enactment of new
postal regulations. Most of these regulation changes will be effective
January 2013. When it comes to being budget conscious, it is very important
to be aware of the changes so that any negative impact is minimized. So, if
you are planning to launch a direct mail campaign of any kind, especially
dimensional, be certain to work with a print and fulfillment partner that is
knowledgeable about the new regulations and can help you keep cost down.
Direct marketing encompasses a variety of tactics today and they all have
their place. The customization and versatility that direct mail offers is
still very effective in getting new clients into the sales funnel. Mailings
are also great tactics for integrating marketing campaigns, as they can lead
customers to something online, on social or even in-person. Direct mail
continues to be the key component of direct marketing.
About the Author:
Deborah Simpson has been the president of Multi-Craft for more than twenty
years. Multi-Craft is a privately-held marketing services and support
company founded in 1955, providing strategic marketing support, creative and
print services, mailing, fulfillment and database management for businesses
seeking opportunity and growth in their market. Its focus is to develop
solutions with measurable results and ROI for a long-term business
partnership. For more information visit: