A mailout or mailer is a form of direct mail marketing. This may seem strange in a digital age where “everyone” does their marketing via e-mail. A mailout uses the traditional postal system or snail mail if you will. Advertising through snail mail can still be highly effective, and it offers a number of advantages and some that e-mail does not.
One thing that e-mail is not—at least not generally—is highly targeted. In fact, the goal with e-mail often is to reach as many people as possible in order to offset that lack of targeting. With a mailout, you are trying to reach a particular person or at least a certain kind of person, such as a consumer that collects the kind of memorabilia that you sell. There is a great deal of value here in being able to target a particular kind of customer especially in niche markets where mass e-mailing can be less effective.
Signal to Noise
The signal-to-noise ratio tends to be higher with mailouts than e-mail. This was not always the case. Prior to the digital age, you would be competing with many other businesses sending out their own mailers. So-called junk mail—at least the kind that shows up in your mailbox—is sent at an all-time low. When you send out a mailer, you do not have a lot of competition—not in your particular niche and not overall. Your mailer is more likely to be read by your target than an e-mail would.
Another advantage of mailouts is that they let you avoid filters. There are many reasons why e-mail may be filtered out of a target’s inbox even if you have never sent them correspondence before. A person inundated with auto refinancing opportunities, for instance, may key on that term and send those messages straight to junk. But you offer a legitimate refinancing opportunity that is worth considering. With a mailout, you can bypass any kind of filter to reach the intended audience.
There is an old adage about junk mail and how it reflects on the recipient. Mailouts are highly targeted. They can also be highly personalized. E-mail can be personalized as well, but it does not generally come across as well and can seem like a filled-in form letter. With a mailer, you can really take personalization to the next level in order to grab a prospective client’s attention and make them feel like they are important to you due to the effort put into the correspondence.
Response Rates and Tracking
Conversion on leads is very high with mailouts. It is even higher now than it was traditionally because physical spam mail is all but a dinosaur at this point. Not only does direct mail marketing deliver high response rates, but it is very easily monitored as well. You have much information about your targets as well, and that lets you track the mailer across granular demographics. You can see exactly who is responding and who is not and adjust accordingly with the next mailout.
Instant Gratification with Postcards
Chief among the concerns with direct mail marketing is the lack of instant gratification. Will a person actually take the time to open the envelope if it is clearly marketing? If this is a concern, an effective way around this is to use a postcard that provides all relevant information in a compact and easily read message. A QR code on the card can be a great way to transition the lead to more information.
Direct mail marketing is cost-effective, and it has only gotten cheaper. Is it cheaper than e-mail? It can be. It is not necessarily cheaper up front, but it can be more cost-effective over the long-term when you consider conversion rates, data collection and so forth. In addition, the upfront costs can be five cents or even less per mailer.
Consider what you are seeking to achieve with this particular advertisement or your marketing plan overall. How does a mailout fit into that strategy? What advantages does it provide that e-mail does not? Take advantage of benefits like targeting and personalization to really get your message across.