Direct mail marketing should be a part of your business, whether it is an offline or online business. Established companies can use their existing client list to use as a base of mail marketing. Alerting your current customers to promotions and new products can keep your name in front of theirs.
If you have a website and wish to build a mailing list, it is very important to not just get their email address. This is important for a few reasons.
Emailing people (even existing clients) is not always effective. Sure, it's the cheapest and takes the least work, but the mass emails people are getting and deleting are increasing more and more. Spammers have really hurt the direct email marketing campaigns of legitimate business. You should still do it, but don't rely on it.
A person's email address changes, and unlike a physical address - the mail is not usually forwarded. You just get a rejected message that your mail was not delivered. You don't want to have to overhaul your list every few years.
Having the street address of your customer or visitor allows for better direct mail marketing. You also get a better sense of where your prospects are coming from. If you notice more visitors from Michigan, you may have something to go on there. Only having an email address tells you very little.
You don't want to go overboard getting more information for your direct mail marketing list. Do not require too much information on your contact form - if you are using one or your newsletter. People will get turned off if you are asking them dozens of questions on a form. Name, Address, a phone number and an email is all you need. If you are in the investment business or in a business that is helped by wealthier clients, you may want to add in some type of qualification, but never ask for anything too personal.
Your mailings should be based on a few key things.
Keep it to new products or promotions. If you don't have one, start one. This could be just new pricing, special offers etc. Getting direct email or mail from companies saying the same old thing is a waste of everyone's time.
Cold mailing is similar to cold calling. Never send direct mail to a company without an attention name on it. It is a waste. Getting someone to look at something you send them is hard enough when it is sent to the right person. Sending mail to the attention of: “Manager", “Supervisor", or “owner" is not effective. It actually shows a lack of regard for the customer. It is obvious that he is just “one of a thousand" people you mailed, and believe me - he or she will see it that way. Go to their website and get a contact in the right area. Even call them up first and get the name. You do not have to talk to them first. In fact, many successful marketers will send material out first and then call vs. the more popular (and many times unsuccessful) calling first and asking permission to send information afterwards.
Using directories for direct mailing
If your business is B2B and is specific to an industry, consider purchasing a directory that lists companies in your business. It will cost a little, but time is money and if it takes 3 months to get the information on the Internet, it may be worth it to have a good directory on hand. These directories are excellent for direct mail marketing. You will have hundreds or thousands of complete listings. Some of the information that could be in the directory may not be available on the website. Items like listing the owners of the company, the prior years sales, and number of employees. A website can inflate a company's appearance.
There are online directories available for mail marketing, but many of these are copies of others and the information may not be current.
Build your direct mail marketing campaign by using all of your resources and hopefully using some of the tips written here.
Nick Hunter is the President of AIT and the owner of runawebbusiness.com - A website dedicated to small business Internet owners.