How to effectively grow your small business with direct mail

By Emma Miller

Over the years, we have learned to quickly recognize spammy emails – we scan our inbox and delete those without even bothering to open them. It has come to a point that even free products cannot entice us to answer the e-mail’s call-to-action. We are surrounded by so many different offers daily that not many things hold action-taking appeal.

On the other hand, receiving something else in the mail apart from bills and court summons holds an element of surprise. For older generations, direct mail evokes nostalgia, while younger digital generations find it very interesting and retro. Direct mail has never vanished from the business world, it just needed an update. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to grow your business with the help of direct mail.

Start with a mailing list

The first and possibly the most essential step is to make a mailing list. If you don’t get it right, you will just squander your money, resources, and time. If you have taken your time to work on the customer experience and ask for feedback after each purchase, you will have no problem distinguishing which of your customers should be targeted in a particular campaign.

For instance, you want to send them coupon codes or offer a free lesson in Mandarin – to ensure your direct mail offer reaches the hands of those who would act on it, you need to know what they purchased earlier and what their experience was. Once you narrow down your scope, you also need some basic information about your customers such as their names and addresses. When you know your target audience, it is time to consider the format and the means which would be the most effective for sending the message you had in mind.

Attract attention with door hangers

Local businesses thrive on door hangers and the interesting thing is that they don’t even need the traditional postal system to tend to distributing them. Let’s say you are opening a new restaurant and you want to spread the word about it to as many people as you can – is there a better way to do it than with a discount?

You can come up with a simple campaign in which you ask people to visit your restaurant and take advantage of the discount in the following 5 days. Also, you can put a coupon on the back of the door hanger so that people who bring it can also get a free dessert. Targeting a specific geographical area has never been easier so it is no wonder local businesses are jumping on this opportunity.

Surprise your audience with a postcard

Postcard used to be tools of saying hello to your friends and family when on a holiday trip or from a distant country you moved to. Younger generations may not know the excitement of receiving one but they still have the opportunity to experience it.

Let’s imagine you are an ophthalmologist who joined forces with an eyewear shop and together you want to offer a check-up and a pair of glasses at discount prices. If you have the right idea but you are nor certain on how to go about it, it is best to consult with experts. For instance, the hardworking team of PostcardMania has helped many small businesses by combining the best of direct and digital marketing. They tailor the copy for you, design the postcard, and provide you with tools to follow the effectiveness of your campaign. You can bet that an authoritative call-to-action from such a postcard will be a temptation to many.

Consider stickers and magnets

Perhaps stickers and magnets aren’t what pops to your mind first when you think of direct mail but the truth is, people love such gifts and they will rather give them to somebody else than throw them away. Since this can be an expensive venture, getting your mailing list right is of even bigger importance.

However, think of it in this way: if you send your audience a sticker or a magnet they place on their fridge, they will be reminded of your brand several times a day (perhaps more than they care to admit, considering the magnet’s location) and that means more chances of them acting on their impulse to check out your offer. Also, being a part of a chosen group that received such a token will make them feel appreciated and it will prompt them to raise awareness about your brand.

Wrapping up

With the help of direct mail, your small business may build a competitive advantage that can help it grow. Traditional flyers are most often tossed aside so you need something more interesting to offer to your current and prospective customers.

With a carefully thought out mailing list, you will already be on your way to creating an effective direct mail campaign. After you concoct a campaign together with marketing professionals, you will be able to reap the benefits of the creative take you took on a traditional branch of marketing.


Emma Miller is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.

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