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Direct Mail Advertising: A Quick Guide for Home Service Professionals

Direct mail advertising.

What is Direct Mail Advertising?


When was the last time you received marketing material in the mail? Do you feel a sense of wonder as a consumer, guessing what it might be that a small business has sent you?


Is it a sale notice? A discount coupon? Perhaps it’s a catalog of new products and services.


Whatever it may be, many people receive direct mail marketing, turning regular homeowners into customers


Direct mail marketing involves any form of physical correspondence as a means of marketing your business’s services. Believe it or not, direct mail services still remain popular, especially among home service businesses like plumbers and electricians


Studies have shown that 67% of customers feel that direct mail pieces are more personal than Internet-based marketing campaigns. Better yet, 83% of purchases are influenced by relevant direct mailing!


As new marketing channels grow daily, a direct mail marketing strategy still stands the test of time. For local businesses, this provides a great opportunity to boost their marketing efforts and engage with more customers through direct mail marketing campaigns.


How can you start? Keep reading to find out! 



Is Direct Mail Advertising Still Effective?

Digital marketing has taken the world by storm, but the age-old formula of traditional mail still remains relevant and effective to this day. 


Helpful for speeding up decisions.Studies have shown that the response rate from a target audience through direct mail is higher!


If you’re conflicted about leveraging direct mail and want to stick purely to digital advertising, here is why you shouldn’t give up on the channel: 


  • It’s interactive and provides a sense of physicality: Direct mail works because of its very physicality. People respond positively to a direct mailing because it gives them something to do. They can tear open the mailer, consume the content, and respond more viscerally to your marketing material.


  • It’s targeted and personal: Have a special offer you want to provide to select customers? You can target specific customers through direct mail. For example, you can incorporate creative templates or coupons and entice new customers into cashing in on these offers! While digital marketing allows you to target specific customer bases, too, there’s just something a little more personal about receiving a mailer!


  • It can be more memorable: In the age of digital marketing, consumers are often bombarded with ads (4,000 to 10,000 a day, to be more specific). Direct mail advertising with a memorable design or package is just one way of sticking out from the competition and crowd.

Envelope design.You can get creative with your choice of envelope design, as shown in the example above!


  • There’s not as much competition: Unlike the multi-channel, highly competitive digital landscape, the playing field is comparatively smaller for direct mail advertising. This can lead to a higher return on investment for marketers and businesses that opt for this medium.


  • You reach an entire audience that’s not online: There may be a demographic within your audience that still visits the post office or depends on the United States postal service for interacting with companies. Through direct mail advertising, you can tap into an entire audience that isn’t on the web.

How Does Direct Mail Advertising Work?

So, is direct mail marketing as straightforward as email marketing and social media? It can be if you follow these steps: 


1. Set and define clear goals with your direct mail advertising

Direct mail advertising provides a cost-effective way for businesses to reach more customers, but you must nail down your goals to make the best of them. 


Do you want to use it to announce a new product or service? Are you hoping to bring more traffic to your brick-and-mortar location? Or maybe you’re hosting a special event you want to invite customers to? 


Define your goals first, and the rest will follow. 


2. Understand your audience and tailor all messaging accordingly

Use the data insights you have on your customer base to fine-tune your direct mail messaging accordingly. What are your business’s unique selling points (USPs)? How can you tie that in with your customers’ desires through your messaging? 


PostcardYou can even deliver postcards like this one


3. Based on your audience, carefully curate your mailing lists

First, choose between two different mailing lists: 


  • House lists: Includes names and addresses from existing customers or prospects you have. (For home service businesses, house lists are the best choice since these customers already know your business and its offerings.)
  • Purchased lists: Includes lists curated for select audiences from agencies or external sources. 

Then you can begin sorting through your customer base by any insight you might have. What services does a certain group of customers need? What age groups are you hoping to reach with this specific mailer? Make sure to send intentional mailers with the recipient in mind. 



4. Decide on a Call-to-Action (CTA) 

They’ve received your mailer. 


Now what?


If your business has carefully constructed a compelling CTA, it will drive your direct mail recipients into taking action. What do you want your customer’s main takeaway to be? An advertisement without a CTA is one of the easiest ways to lose out on leads and fall flat.


Postcard from HVAC company.Take inspiration from this personalized sample postcard from an HVAC contractor!


5. Select the best format for your message 

Depending on your message, choose the most attractive format to leave a lasting impression on your customer. You can choose from:


  • Postcards Used for one-off announcements or promotions. Often used to highlight events or new products or services and can come in two forms – regular-sized postcards (4” x 6”) or oversized postcards (6” x 9” /  6” x 11”).
  • Letters — Uses a letter and response format, often leveraged for surveys or customer feedback.
  • Booklets/Catalogs — Used by businesses to highlight, in detail, their various offerings, services, specific rates, and contact information like your customer service phone number and more.
  • Newsletters — Used by businesses that have a strong relationship with their target audience who are keen for more information on a regular basis. Think of this as a subscription to a magazine.

6. Design your mailer 

It’s time to design your mail. Keep in mind your brand voice and let its personality shine through! Just make sure you don’t overdo it with the graphic design. You don’t want your key message buried under the flashiness of any graphics and distracting details.


 Pro-tip: You can leverage modern-day templates to make your job easier! Or you can go the extra mile and do something creative, yet true to your brand!


Creative mailer ad.This example incorporates humor into the customer’s direct mail experience!


7. Start mailing!

Work with a trusted direct mail processor or high-quality print shops to get your mail ready for posting! Depending on your customers’ regions, you should choose a postal provider that delivers quickly and easily to them.


Once this step is done, strap yourself in for more customer engagement!

The Dos and Don’ts of Direct Mail Advertising

Today, 88% of purchase decisions are made at home. If you’re planning to leverage direct mail marketing tactics to entice customers into doing business with you, you have to nail your campaigns and leave no room for error! 


Keeping this in mind, here are some do’s and don’ts to follow as you get started on your mail advertising journey!


  • Do: Make sure you have a clear call to action (CTA) A direct mail without a CTA won’t benefit your business in any way. Whether it’s an invitation for a contest, a promo code, or a survey, ensure you create a clear and specific CTA that leaves no room for confusion.


    • Do: Run some tests first — The last thing you want is to invest your entire budget in one mailer design, only to have it warrant limited responses. Test the waters by engaging with customer test groups or panels. Choose the design that gets the most positive response and roll with that one!


  • Do: Drive some traffic to your business’s online website or review platforms — A great strategy to grow inter-channel engagement is by including CTAs to other platforms, such as your mobile app or any of your online review platforms. And if your direct mail demographic isn’t already online, maybe it’s time to give them a little nudge!


  • Do: Measure your results and effectiveness of direct mail campaigns — You can use trackable QR codes, links, phone numbers, and other trackable measures of ROI to know just how your direct mail campaigns performed. Replicate the success of your campaigns to grow more customers in the future.


  • Don’t: Forget to proofread your mailer — Nothing is more discouraging to a customer than a simple, utterly avoidable typo. Proofread your mailers before you send them. This is a rule of thumb for all marketing correspondence!


  • Don’t: Forget to follow up — Never underestimate the power of a follow-up. Be it a thank you note, a post-sale survey, or even a request for a review, showing your customers you have them in mind can go a long way in guaranteeing future business!


  • Don’t: Oversaturate or clutter your mailer with every single detail of your business — You want to promote your business subtly, not overwhelm your customers with details of every service you offer. Make sure your mailers have easy readability and are not heavy on the brain-work. You want your customers to feel at home, not stressed when they open your mail.

Market Your Home Service Business with Signpost

Whether you’re a home service business that’s just a startup or a household name in your neighborhood that’s been catering to customers for decades, it’s undeniable that direct mail advertising can drive significant returns.


You can partner with us at Signpost to help you manage your online marketing on your behalf. We offer marketing automation services, can help manage your online reviews, and more! 


While we help you grow your business online, you can fortify your relationship with your direct mail audience. 


So, what are you waiting for?


Get started with us today!

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