Creating a direct mail campaign for your freelance business
Direct mail can be an underutilised tool in the freelance marketing box of tricks. Misconceptions regarding cost and complexity are largely to blame for this common oversight.
In this article, we unpick direct mail, looking at its benefits and how you can set about creating it, as told by Iain Schofield from Hello Market.
Why should I use Direct mail?
Direct mail allows you to communicate one on one with your prospects and clients to develop or strengthen connections through personalised messages and content. While direct mail can be employed in isolation, it’s best used as part of a wider marketing strategy.
By using physical mail in conjunction with your digital marketing, you establish authenticity with your target audience. Follow up digital marketing with direct mail to add substance to your message and increase the retention of digital marketing such as social media and email.
If telemarketing is part of your strategy, direct mail can be a great door opener. Sending a piece of direct mail gives you the perfect excuse to make further contact. What’s more, you’ll have a ready-made jumping-off point for the conversation - ‘I’m just calling to check you got the letter I sent last week? Oh, you did…’
What sort of direct mail should I send?
Direct mail comes in all shapes and sizes. From leaflets to letters, brochures to postcards; whatever you need to say, there is a format with which to say it.
If you’re reaching out to prospects, a leaflet outlining your services or a formal introductory letter can be a great start. Tie these together with your other channels by using consistent language and imagery.
Direct mail isn’t just for finding new clients. Mail can also be a great way to touch base with existing clients and keep them sweet. Simple soft touches, such as greetings cards, are a great way to keep your name fresh in the minds of clients and nurture a positive relationship.
What should I include?
Clear headline – neatly summarise your reason for getting in touch with a persuasive headline.
Call to action – tell the reader what you’d like them to do next with a clear call to action. This is the final push to convince a lead to convert into a customer.
Contact details – If you want people to get in touch, including contact details is essential. Position near your call to action for greater prominence.
Images – include attention-grabbing imagery where appropriate – if you’re a graphic designer, this is your shop window.
Text – Keep copy simple and concise.
Personalisation – adding personalisation is a great way to improve engagement. Use your data to personalise everything from salutations, copy and even images.
How often should I send it direct mail?
With prospects, don’t be disheartened if you don’t get a response at the first time of trying. Follow up with multiple touchpoints to increase your response rate. With clients, you can be much more sparing with your direct mail. Occasional soft-touch mailings will be sufficient to keep your name fresh in their mind. Use popular holidays (Christmas, Easter or even Halloween), as an excuse to touch base.
How do I create direct mail?
When it comes to creating direct mail, you have a couple of options. You can create a campaign yourself or outsource to a specialist direct mail provider. If you’re uncertain how to get from concept to print, employing the services of a specialist can be helpful. A direct mail provider will guide you through the entire process, advising the best print and delivery options and any specific artwork and copy requirements. If you’re happy to go it alone, direct mail platforms like Hello Market allow you to upload your artwork and data, add the finishing touches and mail online.
How much will it cost?
With paper, print and postage, direct mail costs can soon add up. The exact costs will depend on the configuration of the mail pack you want to send. If you outsource your campaign, the mail house will advise all costs upfront and recommend cost savings (they want your business after all). If you opt for the DIY option, Hello Market lists prices upfront, calculated based on quantity and mailing format. These prices include postage and there is no minimum order.
What response should I expect?
As a general illustration, direct mail achieves (on average) a 4.4% response rate compared to email’s 0.12% (response rate report, the Direct Marketing Association). Of course, the response rate will depend on the quality of your mailing, the sort of response you’re looking for and how well you combine direct mail with your other marketing channels.
Don’t give up if you don’t land a client at the first attempt. As with most marketing methods, the key to direct mail is perseverance.