Direct Mail Marketing

Use Case #1: Direct Mail as a Marketing Channel Arrow

… let’s think about direct mail marketing.

In this use case scenario … ACME Corporation sells direct-to-consumer (DTC) products via an eCommerce website and brick-and-mortar retail store.

As the new CMO, you’ve seen direct mail marketing work in the eCommerce and retail industry.

Based on your experience, you’ve learned that direct mail success largely depends on the company’s business model, target audience, marketing budget, and marketing collateral.

Direct mail is the original direct response marketing channel.

It’s a one-way communication channel from a brand … to a targeted prospect list.

The goal is to persuade the prospects on your list to take your offer … to get them to respond.

Prospects who respond to direct mail campaigns are bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFu) leads.

BoFu leads have high conversion rates. And they typically convert faster.

Direct mail marketing can be used to:

  • build brand awareness & positioning
  • promote new product & service offers
  • grow customerbase & top-line revenue
  • increase customer retention & reduce churn
  • improve customer experience w/ personalization

To decide if direct mail is a viable marketing channel for ACME … first, you need to define the following KPIs:

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
    (how much is ACME paying and willing to pay for a new customer)
  • Lifetime Customer Value (LCV)
    (average purchase value) x (average purchase frequency) x (the customer lifespan)
  • Retention Rate, Churn Rate, Customer Satisfaction Score, and Revenue Growth Projections

Previously, you and your team conducted competitor research. And you discovered that ACME’s competitors do not use direct mail as a marketing channel.

This is an opportunity, .

If your direct mail marketing experiments are successful, then direct mail could become a growth marketing channel for ACME.


Because direct mail can be scaled.

I once read that smart marketers look for marketing channels with the fewest competitors. And they run experiments to see if they can win and scale the channel.

That’s pretty smart.

If my memory is correct, … I read that in the book:

Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers
by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mare

Essentially, Gabriel and Justin write about ‘how to find the marketing channel that will be key to unlocking the next stage of growth’.

Traction is a great book, . You should check it out.

Okay … let’s get back to the direct mail marketing program for ACME.

How to Approach Your Direct Mail Strategy

Let’s assume you’ve gathered all the above.

You know your CAC, LCV, churn rate, customer satisfaction rate, and revenue projections.

You’re ready now, .

Next … it’s time to ideate a direct mail marketing strategy for ACME’s eCommerce site and retail store.

Let’s think about some direct mail marketing strategies to accomplish the following objectives:

  • communicate ACME’s values & product offers
  • grow ACME’s customerbase & top-line revenue
  • improve ACME’s customer retention & reduce churn
  • improve ACME’s customer experience & satisfaction

Let’s think about objective #1.

Objective #1: Communicate Values & Product Offers

Communication of company values is a lost art.

But it’s also vitally important to your marketing.

In the book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap, and Others Don’t,” by James C. Collins … the 11 companies that became great were all religious about communicating their company values.

You can use direct mail to accomplish this objective. Everyone else is selling on direct mail.

But … what if you used it to communicate your company culture and values?

Hmmm, now that’s something different.

And in marketing, differentiators are good.

You could send your existing customerbase and warm pipeline leads a professionally printed company newsletter every quarter.

Would it be worth it … heck yeah!

Everybody else uses email to send newsletters … and you can still use email to send your monthly newsletters.

But quarterly newsletters … well, that’s something special.

Think about it, .

The hardest part would be to design a kickass branded newsletter template that you could repurpose every quarter.

In the quarterly newsletter, you could write about your company culture and how it aligns with your company values.

Make it fun. And interesting.

You could include really cool photos of your team, and highlight some of your best employees.

You could soft brag about your biggest wins of the quarter. And you could soft promote new product offers.

Always be creative (ABC) … think outside the box.

Test it. And run experiments.

Done right … a quarterly direct mail newsletter could pay off in spades. Because no one else is doing it.

Okay, … that’s just one idea to communicate ACME’s company values and product offers via direct mail … but I want you to think about it.

Let’s move on to objective #2.

Objective #2: Acquire Customers & Grow Revenue

Obviously, most companies use direct mail marketing to acquire new customers and grow their revenue.

But guess what. So many of those companies are doing it wrong. And it’s a shame.

If you want to use direct mail to acquire more customers, then you have to do what some of the best marketers of all-time did.

You have to copywrite direct response marketing sales letters.

But don’t try to do it yourself, .

Direct response copywriting is one of the hardest and most rare marketing skills there is.

I don’t know … this is a blind guess … but I suspect only 0.1% of marketers today can write quality direct response copy.

Typically, all the best direct response copywriters write direct response copy all day long.

It takes a lot of practice.

And they’ve spent hundreds of hours studying the best direct response copywriters in history.

For instance, do you know why you’re still reading this, ?

Because I’m writing it direct response style.

It’s hard to stop reading direct response copy … you’re interested in what’s next.

So, for objective #2 … my suggestion is to find and hire a direct response copywriter if you want to acquire more customers and grow ACME’s revenue via direct mail.

But, don’t forget about your mailing list.

The quality of your mailing list is just as important as the quality of your direct response copy.

Start with pulling a prospect mailing list from your CRM pipeline.

But, if you need a cold mailing list … a good place to start is Kantra Media.

Okay, … let’s move on to objective #3.

Objective #3: Improve Retention & Reduce Churn

Once you acquire a customer … what’s more important than improving customer retention and reducing churn?

Nothing, right?!

So why not use direct mail as a channel to keep your customers from leaving you?

The best marketing is sticky … like crazy glue.

Instead of producing a downloadable PDF (boring and overplayed) … imagine if you printed a definitive industry guide that contained critically important industry research, and you direct mailed it to your customers a couple of times per year.

Your customers would probably be sitting on the edge of their seat in anticipation for it.

The power of anticipation in marketing can not be overstated, .

Use marketing psychology to your advantage.

Research, write, design, print, and direct mail something so valuable that your customers can’t do without it.

There is nothing better than being able to touch, hold and annotate education materials.

In my opinion, a professionally printed book will always be better than a downloadable eBook.

Remember, think out side of the box.

Your customers will sit in anticipation for a special, and valuable gift from you twice a year that they can’t get from anywhere else.

Do you think this would help improve customer retention, ?

And, will it help reduce customer churn?

Yes. And yes.

Chances are a direct mail strategy such as this idea will pay for itself in the longrun.

Let’s finish up , and move on to objective #4.

Objective #4: Improve Customer Experience

Customer experience is the holy grail in 2020.

If you’re not investing in improving customer experience, then you are at serious risk.

New emerging and existing brands that offer a better customer experience are always poaching for customers. And they have a good chance of winning because a better experience matters. It matters a lot.

One of the easiest ways to improve the customer experience is with personalization.

And, direct mail is a great channel for personalized marketing campaigns.

Here’s a simple idea for you.

When you acquire a new customer, send them a sincere handwritten note on a branded thank you card.

When your customer repeats an order, send them another handwritten note.

When your customer has a birthday, send them a birthday card with a handwritten birthday wish.

When your customer hasn’t order in several months, send them a handwritten note with a coupon code.

Etc, etc, etc…

Make your brand human.

Use personalization and direct mail to improve your customer’s experience. It will make your brand memorable and create customer loyalty.

There you have it, .

Four ideas and strategies to use direct mail to achieve common marketing objectives.

Good luck.

Anthony Ragland
Saturday March 21, 2020 3:56 PM EST

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