Direct Mail: The Forgotten Outbound Channel That STILL Works In Sales Today

It’s been dubbed ‘junk mail’ or ‘spam mail’ for years, and we thought that everyone had abandoned the practice. However, direct mail has been making a huge come-back as an effective sales tactic.

A full 65% percent of leaders said they are likely to respond to direct mail, and its perceived response rate is higher than that of email.

These days, I feel like every other sales rep is in love with email. I don’t discount its powerful ability to drive business; however, email is not the only way to enchant your prospects.

Common Ways to Engage With Prospects:

Direct mail is one of seven common communication methods between companies and their prospects and customers.

What Does Direct Mail Consist Of?

Direct mail consists of a physical item (note, gifts, etc) mailed to a prospect or customer to initiate a conversation or build a relationship.

When tailored correctly to your target audience and followed up with consistent communication, the results can be impressive.

Why Use Direct Mail Anyway? Isn’t That “Old School”?

Not so fast, don’t be so quick to diss Direct mail.

Direct mail is seeing a resurgence in use and response rates, and rightly so.

The average office worker today is receiving around 120 emails per day (yikes!), so it’s natural that prospects and clients will be harder to reach via digital means.

I won’t go as far as saying email is dead as a sales communication channel, it’s not.

But I think that we’ve reached a point where it’s harder to get past the noise in the digital space.

Both clients and salespeople alike are ready for a different kind of approach.

One that attempts to create a relationship with the prospect – one that surprises, brings joy or elicits other emotion.

This is where the gold lies!

What Types of Direct Mail Work Best?

Here’s some ideas for effective Direct mail:

  • Handwritten cards
  • Printed cards
  • E-gifts (electronic gifts)
  • Small gifts with company branding
  • Small gifts without company branding

Now, don’t go throwing something in the mailbox randomly just yet – take a look at the infographic below and see how you can win buyers and influence sales with direct mail.

I’ve based it on solid numbers and research, and it tells you everything you need to know about direct mail.

Here are a few tips:

Your gift doesn’t have to be expensive: Some of the most popular and cost-effective direct mailers are handwritten cards, pens, and mugs. This shows you don’t have to break the bank to get through to a client.

But not too cheap, either: The one practice which was most likely to reflect poorly on response rates and the company sending the gift was sending gifts with a perceived value of under $11.

Make it useful: Useful gifts were much more likely to get a response in our study (47% chance of response) when compared to edible gifts (3.7% chance of a response).

Personalize: One of the most successful sales strategies is personalizing the gift – and the message for your campaign to make sure it fits your target audience. You can do this by segmenting your target audience, using references to industry terms, or simply speak loudly to their pain points.

Example: If you’re selling financial services for example, and you’re sending a Starbucks coffee gift card, your message could read something like: “Enjoy a coffee on us, while we work on your accounts.”

Direct Mail in the B2B Industry

In the B2C industry, direct mail use is widespread. B2B direct mail campaigns; however, are rarely leveraged for the effective sales tools that they are.

Research shows that only 38.5% of B2B companies report that they are using direct mail, and only 30% report using it in prospecting activities.

This dynamic appears to be changing, however.

Data shows that B2B technology companies rank direct mail as one of their top five marketing opportunities and will grow their direct mail campaigns by 11.4% in 2018.

Automated Direct Mail vs Manual

Some of the challenges that companies report when using direct mail in their campaigns are about time and resources spent on the campaigns.

Only 38.5% of companies report using direct mail as part of their business. The main reasons companies do not use mailers are the cost (44.3%) and time (22.9%).

But doing direct mail doesn’t have to break the bank, nor does it have to be some complex marketing campaign that takes forever to put together.

Sales reps can now use technology to send out direct mail straight from their CRM, just at the click of a button. They can also receive notifications when their direct mail piece has landed, and follow-up with relevant messaging after the gift has been received.

One Labs experiment showed it took 58 minutes to write and send one handwritten note with an estimated cost of time and goods at $48.01. Sending an automated card was significantly cheaper, at only $4.77 per card.

The Power of Direct Mail in B2B Sales

I’ve seen some incredible deals being closed after the buyer was influenced by something as simple as a Starbucks coffee gift card, or a heartfelt thank you note after a meeting.

The power of gifts is that they attempt to form a genuine connection to people. They show that people care, they show involvement and engagement.

Use direct mail with confidence in your sales outreach.

You will be rewarded with higher response rates and higher attendance rate for your meetings.

I joined with 15 years of experience in growing revenue, from helping financial clients price and trade complex derivatives to helping multi-national organizations penetrate new markets. I host the popular Playmaker podcast and act as Head of InsideSales Labs where my expertise and research has helped over 200 clients solve the biggest problems in the sales space.

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