Before we get started I want to make sure to get something very clear: I do not talk negatively about any other forms of marketing. I always tell people that online marketing only complements print marketing, or direct mail, or any other kind of advertising. I still recommend that my clients do something like direct mailers. However, I want to make sure you understand the differences between direct mail and online marketing.
1. When someone checks their mail and find a mailer in the box, what do they typically do? Most people just throw it in the trash. That’s a reality for direct marketing.
2. Direct mail is relatively inexpensive to send out one piece. The problem is, it’s only going out, typically, one time. So say for instance that you send out a mailer to a thousand people, and it’s only $200. You think “Wow, that sounds great! I can send it to certain zip codes, and certain neighborhoods, it’s awesome!”
But with online marketing and social media, you can send out a message every day. What if you wanted to send out a mailer out every day? Well that $200 now becomes about $5000! Just like that! So if you think it’s a better use of resources to do direct mail, I challenge you to add up the dollars to see what it would take to be able to send something out every day.
3. Not just that, but the targeting you can do in online marketing is fantastic. I’ve talked about this before, how with social media you can target not only certain demographics but specific interests. You can send a mailer to particular demographics, zip codes and neighborhoods, but you still can’t target those interests.
4. And not only that, but you can’t have a conversation with your customers through direct mail. Your customers can’t ask that piece of mail a question. Meanwhile on social media you can have a two-way conversation with someone, whether it’s through email, or messaging their Facebook page, or sending a tweet.
5. Now that I’ve told you how direct mail doesn’t work, let me tell you where it does work. And it does, I’ve seen it work on me! One of my clients runs an auto repair shop, and they sent out some direct mail that was very timely — it reminded me that I needed an oil change. I thought, “Oh, yeah, I need to get that oil change!” So I went to the shop and got it done. That’s an example of how direct mail can be effective when you use it to target your current audience.
Those are some of the differences between the way direct mail and online marketing work. Now let me explain why your direct mail marketing will be much more effective if you use it along with online marketing:
Imagine someone gets a mailer. Instead of picking up the phone to call that business, more and more people are taking this next step — they’re going online and they’re researching what that company’s all about, looking through their Facebook page, clicking through their Twitter account, their Pinterest account, looking at reviews, etc. If you are only doing direct mail, understand you’re missing the boat on that second step, because people want to see transparency. They want to go online and learn all about you.
On the other hand, if you’re only doing online marketing you’re missing that person, like myself, who may have forgotten about an oil change and your targeted piece of mail will bring him in.
The world is moving towards online marketing, and for good reason! With online marketing you get everyday exposure, and with direct mail marketing you get a one-time blast. But sometimes that one-time blast may be just the right piece of information your customer needs. Direct mail and online marketing really work best when you use them together. If you know a business owner who could benefit from this comparison, please share this post with them! Thanks! Also, if you would like to receive tips weekly to help with your online marketing efforts, subscribe below!