For online store owners, it's widely accepted that SEO, content marketing and social media marketing are the best ways to get new customers. And, for sure, they're incredibly important for thriving in today's e-commerce atmosphere. In fact, they've left old school methods of marketing obsolete.
Or have they?
Believe it or not, direct mail marketing is not only still around, it's a major driver of online traffic for many retailers. A recent study showed that over 85% of female buyers between the ages of 18 and 30 bought items they originally saw in a print catalog.
Curious about how to use direct mail to increase your sales online? Here are three methods other retailers are using.
#1 – Catalogs
Once upon a time, catalogs were THE convenient way to order products. Buyers clamored for the thick, glossy books full of products not available at their local stores. Now, with online shopping quickly overtaking even brick and mortar stores, many wrongly believe that printing catalogs is a waste of time and money. While it does cost more to design and print a physical catalog, studies have shown that buyers actually still enjoy having something to physically hold in their hands. While fewer shoppers buy FROM catalogs directly nowadays, they make an effective push through the sales funnel. Buyers view products they like in the printed materials, and then visit the website to finish the transaction.
Additionally, unlike a website which is out of sight, out of mind once a user leaves the page, catalogs are often kept in an easy-to-view location such as on coffee tables or in bathrooms, creating a physical reminder for interested buyers who might be dragging their feet.
#2 – Postcard Mailers
What if you want to take advantage of the perks of direct mail, but don't have the inventory of budget for a full catalog? Enter the postcard mailer. Postcards are highly affordable, but still offer a glossy, physical item buyers can hold in their hands. The benefits of using cards vs another form of direct mail is that they don't need to be opened. As soon as a customer reaches into his mailbox, your sales message is right there for viewing.
Unlike catalogs, which aim to sell products within their pages, postcards generally act as the first step in the sales funnel. Use them to announce a sale and list your store's location or website. Or, create an intriguing headline that gets buyers to your site so they can view your full list of offerings.
#3 – Brochures
Brochures make an effective marketing tool for those who have complex or pricier merchandise. It gives you the opportunity to fully explain and sell a product in detail. Whereas catalogs are a ideal for retailers with many products, they don't allow much room for description. For those who are selling higher priced goods, the extra space to explain the pros of a particular product is crucial, and buyers are more likely to read something they can hold in their hands vs on a web page.
How to Use Direct Mail to Push Online Sales
With a basic understanding of the types of direct mail marketing available, you're probably wondering how you can cash in. While overall marketing strategy will be different for every business, there are a few things you can do to up your chances of success.
Keep it targeted
Like with online messaging, the more targeted your DM materials, the better your odds of success. One of the best ways to ensure you're reaching a targeted audience is to send materials to your former or existing customers.
Sell to the locals
Even if you don't have a physical location people can visit, selling to local patrons is an effective tool. In fact, up to 54% of buyers say that they care about supporting local businesses. Using simple postcards, business cards or even placing ads in local publications are a great way to get your name out there and bring buyers to your website.
Place strategic flyers
Despite their simplicity and relatively low cost, flyers are still an effective way to draw in buyers. Make sure you use a professional printing service, and again, ensure you keep them targeted. A good place to start is by leaving them in public venues where your ideal customers frequent. For instance, if you sell designer furnishings, you might leave your information with interior designers or home renovation businesses. Create a separate message for each location's customers to get more bang for your buck.
Include specials or coupons
Everybody loves coupons, and a large percentage of potential buyers browsing through your printed materials will be looking for them. Whether it's a physical coupon or discount code for use on your website, customers are more likely to buy if they think they're getting a good deal.
Use QR codes
QR codes are easy incorporate on many materials, and they're not only an easy way for customers to get more information about your products immediately, but also to keep track of how well your printed ads are doing and attribute any potential online revenue to them.
Putting it all Together
Whatever marketing tools you use, the important thing to remember is consistency. Direct mail such as catalogs, brochures and flyers are one tool in your arsenal and should be utilized with the big picture in mind. Use them as part of your overall marketing campaign in combination with online efforts to improve your reputation, establish authority, and build a brand in the minds of customers.