As a contractor, you may have explored a few different channels for growing your business. While email, search engine ads, social media, and other digital marketing methods are popular, it can be hard to make an impact on these already-saturated platforms. If you're looking for a unique and effective way to reach your audience and get a leg up on your competition, direct mail marketing can help. Here is some information on what direct mail marketing is, why it's effective, and how it can help your contracting business grow.
By definition, direct mail marketing is advertising sent by a business through the mail to recipients who didn't expressly request the mail. Businesses create and send advertising materials like flyers, postcards, catalogs, coupons, or pamphlets so that potential customers can learn more about what that business does and how they help meet their customer's needs. Mail marketing allows your business to reach out to your audience in a creative, memorable, and effective way, and raise awareness about what you can do for them.
The process of creating a direct mail campaign includes a few steps. First, businesses start by researching their intended audience and identifying their needs and desires. From there, a business buys, builds, or rents a list of potential customers or prospects and designs and creates a piece of mail that appeals to that particular audience. Once the campaign is sent out, the business may track the results of their campaigns by using a unique URL, phone number, QR code, or promotional code.
Any type of business in nearly any industry can use this type of marketing to their advantage. If you sell a product or a service that people want to buy, you can use a direct mail campaign. With most businesses focusing on digital marketing, starting a mail marketing campaign is one way to cut through the noise and get your business noticed without spending a lot of money.
Direct mail marketing is particularly great for contractors who want to reach a wider audience or retain current customers. You can easily create a mailing list of prospects by looking at satisfied customers whom you helped in the past and targeting their neighbors or those who meet certain demographic requirements. You can use a special offer in your direct mail piece to get people interested in using your services, or you can ask current customers to spread the word about what you offer to their friends and family. Including a call to action (i.e. "Call us today for a consultation!") lets people know what steps to take next.
Direct mail marketing is effective for contractors. According to research, direct mail and email marketing campaigns get similar response rates, but a 2018 study found that direct mail campaigns can result in purchases five times larger than those of email campaigns. You can combine these two platforms for an even bigger result. And direct mail has a significantly better response rate than paid search ads, social media platforms, and email marketing.
Direct mail marketing has a high return on investment. Recent studies point to a nearly 30% ROI, which is a similar ROI to social media. This means that for every dollar you spend on mail marketing, you'll see more responses, more leads, and more sales. By touching base with your audience frequently, you can be sure that your services stick in their mind.
There is less competition in the mail marketing world now that so many other businesses have turned to digital advertising. This means that you have less competition when sending out your campaigns. And while older audiences remember throwing away piles of junk mail, younger audiences don't have the same experience. Receiving mail is more novel and unexpected to the Millennial and Gen Z generations, which means that mail stands out while email will likely be ignored.
Direct mail has a higher lifespan than other forms of marketing. For some people, when an email hits their inbox, they may choose to keep or discard it within just a few seconds, or it may get buried in a mountain of other messages. Direct mail, however, has a lifespan of 17 days. This means that people are more likely to hang onto the mail you send them, glancing at it more than once so that your message and branding sticks in their mind.
Now that you understand what direct marketing is and how effective it can be, here are a few of the biggest benefits that contractors may see when using it:
In today's highly digital world, you may be wondering if you should put all of your marketing efforts into digital platforms. But you're also aware that direct mail marketing for contractors can have some serious benefits. The great news is that you don't have to choose between one or the other. Mail marketing can seamlessly integrate with your digital marketing strategy, and they can work synergistically, giving each platform a boost.
You can include a QR code on your direct mail piece so that you can send people directly to a unique landing page on your website and count how many people visit that page. A QR code can also link to a video where you can explain your services to potential customers. Or you can send out direct mail and email at the same time so that people are getting messages from multiple channels. The more exposure people have to your brand, the more likely they are to respond!
Make sure to keep your branding and voice consistent across all channels, so your audience sees a unified message. When combined with digital channels, mail marketing can give your brand an authentic, trustworthy feel. Receiving mail feels like more of a personal experience than simply being included on an email blast, and direct mail can give your business legitimacy.
If you're ready to get started with mail marketing, there are a few important decisions you need to make. First, think about your audience. Who do you want to reach out to? What are their needs? What kinds of offers may entice them to reach out to you? Once you feel like you know your audience as well as you can, take some time to craft a unique piece of content. Choose colors that stick with your branding, and you may want to consider making your mail piece a unique size or shape. Include visually appealing elements like logos, photos, and big, bold print. As a contractor, you may want to include a special offer like a free quote or a discount to improve your response rate.
And don't forget to track the results of your campaign. In the past, businesses assumed that their direct mail piece was a success if they saw a significant increase in sales, but today, we have tools that we can use to better track campaigns. Using unique phone numbers or URLs to track who is responding to your campaign can give you valuable data that you can use to hone in on your audience and improve future campaigns.
Finally, remember to stay in touch with your audience often. It may be smart to send prospects something once a month, as doing it more often may be seen as annoying. However, it can take a few tries for someone to remember your business and become a customer. Test different elements, like frequency of mailings, different types of mailing, and different design elements to see which gets the best response. Once you have a clearer picture of what your audience responds best to, you can create a direct mail marketing formula that works for your contracting business.