Local Marketing with Direct Mail
How Direct Mail Can Be Effective for Local Marketing
Integrating Direct Mail into Your Local Marketing Campaigns
When it comes to direct mail marketing to local homeowners, there are a variety of approaches. The two most often used are mass distribution direct mail marketing like ValPak and Money Mailer and strategically targeted direct mail campaigns sent to a more defined audience with a more defined message from the local business. While each of these approaches can be effective when combined with other local marketing efforts – yard signs, truck wraps, involvement in Chamber of Commerce, locally focused Internet, mobile and social marketing – by themselves, they are usually very costly and generate far less return than the local business owner expects. So let’s break down each of these and how to use them most effectively with other media sources.
Strategic direct mail marketing campaigns are the ones we are most fond of as they can have a very local and very personalized approach. For instance, a landscaping company can take pictures of a landscape design project they did for a home and incorporate it into a strategic direct mail campaign to the nearest 500 neighbors. With the proper messaging and incorporating Facebook ads, canvassing and door hangers into this campaign, this can be a very effective way of local marketing to the neighborhood.
Strategic direct mail marketing usually has a higher cost per distribution, yet can have a much higher return if done correctly. For instance, the strategic direct mail cost is usually around $1 per piece whereas mass distribution direct mail campaigns are usually less than 5 cents per piece. So let’s explain the difference as we discuss mass distribution.
Mass distribution direct mail marketing is usually a bundle of ads in one envelope so that everyone is sharing in the cost of the distribution. Two that are popular are ValPak and Money Mailer. For around 5 cents per home, a local business can create an ad that goes inside this envelope with other ads and hit 50,000 for less than $2,500 in a one-time distribution. Most of the sources that provide this offering require one-year agreements, yet you can usually get by with a 3-6 month trial period.
The three common complaints about mass distribution campaigns are 1) low response rates, 2) the offers usually have to be discounts on services in order to gain their attention and 2) your ad can be placed in an envelope and mailed with competitors’ ads. Response rates are usually low because fewer and fewer people open and go through these ads individually. However, if only 1% of the 50,000 do and 5% of them have a need for your services, that is 25 homeowners who may be calling you. To get them to call, you normally need some type of discount that equates to 10% or more off which again hurts your margin. If, however, you do get all 25 to call and the campaign costs $2,500, then you are paying $100 per lead (still far more than the target of around $50 for most local businesses).
No matter which approach you take, setting and measuring goals are important. Making it easy for your prospective clients to take action is very important – calling, completing a web form, scheduling online or through your app, etc. So make sure to make it easy for them.
Social180 helps our clients with far more strategically targeted direct mail campaigns than with the mass distribution approach. While we still have some clients who use the mass distribution approach, it is often for smaller, younger local businesses needing to at least get the word out and not as concerned with the types and locations of prospective clients. Strategic campaigns, on the other hand, may not yield 25 calls, but they are also much more qualified calls as competitors and others are not part of the distribution.