Direct Mail Marketing Tips For Retailers

Direct Mail Marketing Tips to Bring Retailers More Traffic in your Front Door.

Business is lousy. The economy is tanked. You’re looking around your store and saying, “Where is everybody?”

Good News: If you’re a retailer, here are some lean direct mail marketing tips to show you how to get people to show up at your front door. If you’re in a service business, here are direct mail tips that show you how to get your phone to ring. If you’re a restaurateur, I usually get hungry around 7PM. If the campaign works really well, I’ll be bringing a few friends.

1. Track Response of All Your Direct Mail.

Learn what’s working in your direct mail program, and just as important, what isn’t. Leave a memo pad by each phone and when you receive a call – in the very beginning of the conversation – say, “And how did you hear of us?” Write down the response on the memo pad, and throw that slip of paper in a specific drawer and forget about it. At the end of the month tally all the slips up and you’ll have a pretty darn good idea which direct mail campaign brought in the most customers.

2. The Best Direct Mail Campaign Ever: Mail to your house list.

No matter what industry you’re in, what you’re selling, or what type of business you own, your direct mail strategy and your direct response email campaign should have a single priority: to mail regularly to your house list. This is the lowest cost and most effective direct marketing strategy you can have. Hummm… Lowest cost? Most effective? Any questions?

Preferred customer sales, private sales, pre-sale access before you open to the general public – make your house mailing list people feel special. They are. Start by collecting current customer’s names and addresses. If you don’t have a customer “house file” – a list of the names and addresses of all your customers – start one now. This will become your most valuable asset.

Sign people up for your FREE Preferred Customer mailing list at every opportunity! Keep a card by the cash register, and by the front door, or both. Don’t be afraid to recommend to each person that they fill out the card so you can place them on your private mailing list to receive special offers and preferred customer treatment (and prices!)

3. Specify Direct Mail Lists to target your “Best Prospects” and get a customer for $.44

Depending on your type of business, getting new customers through direct mail can be a precisely targeted direct marketing campaign sent only to your very best prospects, with no wasted advertising expense. Send your direct mail to geographic targets (close to your store), demographic targets (people similar to your current customers who like to/can afford to shop in stores like yours), and industry related personnel – in the specific markets you serve (lawn care, hearing aids, etc.).

Additionally direct mailing lists can be specified according to zip code, income, number of children and ages, pets, house value, net worth, and an endless array of other parameters. Think about what characteristics your current customers have, and order your mailing list with people who have similar traits. If you don’t have a great direct mail prospect list, start one of those mailing lists now. Yea, right now.

4. Mail a Gift Certificate

A gift certificate is inexpensive to print, light weight and low in cost to mail. The nice letter you send with it? Same. The goodwill it generates, invaluable. A gift certificate is a double function direct marketing piece. It’s good for the customer and great for you, too. Gift certificates A) bring people into your store; B) offer discounts on selected overstocked merchandise; C) are cheap to print and D) light to mail; E) are naturally easy to track with great precision; and F) always have a high perceived value. They work on both new and returning customers. To make sure people open your envelope, print “Gift Certificate Enclosed!” on the envelope.

Best of all, a gift certificate has a cost only if the customer actually shows up and redeems it. No customer, no cost.

5. A Direct Marketing Campaign to Get Referrals

Feel free to ask any of your better customers if they have friends they would like you to send a $5 gift certificate, with their compliments of course. As an added incentive and as a surprise bonus, mail an additional gift certificate to the customer making the referral. Include a letter saying, “Thanks for the referral.” Then mail the new referral prospect a letter and the gift certificate – compliments of your original customer (and from you, personally.)

This “referral method” is one of the most effective direct mail campaigns on the planet, and is the best way to acquire new (and similar) customers who immediately have faith and trust in you, your firm, your services. Customer acquisition cost from this direct marketing campaign: just $.44 in postage. That five dollar gift certificate? Well, that’s taken off the merchandise or food bill: so it didn’t really cost you five bucks, did it? It was the discounted cost of your wares.

Whether used for new customer acquisition, referrals, or to get customers to return to your store, direct marketing campaigns using gift certificates are one of the most effective uses of direct mail. This is one of the best marketing tips for any business. All your direct marketing campaigns should include some kind of referral marketing techniques and gift certificates make this campaign easy to succeed.

6. Specify Geographic Direct Mail Lists to Precisely Target Your Retail Market

Retail direct mail campaigns usually target a geographic center. Everybody likes to shop in their own backyard. Limit your direct mail marketing to people who live or work within driving distance. That “geographic market segment” qualification of your prospects varies by type of store and average sale. Generally speaking, the larger the ticket item you sell, the longer people will drive to get it.

Reaching people with your direct mail message can get expensive in a hurry, especially if you reach for the wrong set of people who are not shopping for your goods or services. Conversely, since direct mail can be targeted to tightly it can be the most effective and measurable marketing method you can use.