Long gone are the days where our High Streets were brimming with a host of individual independent retailers. With sky rocketing costs its now a rarity to find an independent brand with a bricks and mortar shop. Instead they compete for an ever smaller slice of the pie online. And the market becomes saturated with an ever increasing amount of competition. With this in mind does direct mail have a place in today’s digital world?
You work hard to create your brand, your identity, engaging on social media. Choosing colours, fonts, designing your logo, building your product range then launching your website but what next? How do you get your product in front of the right people? How do you convince them to purchase from you? And once they have how do you keep them coming back for more?
Not only do you have to think about SEO. From creating new and exciting content, to which social media channels suit your business and what tone of voice you should use. You also have to think carefully about the marketing rule of 7. That is, to gain enough confidence and trust from a prospective customer to convince them to purchase from you they need to see your product at least 7 times.
7 times! Now factor in that believe it or not the average reading age of an adult in the UK is 9 (The Guardian newspaper for instance is written for a reading age of 14) and you begin to realise the importance of pictures. As it has been said many times before a picture speaks a thousand words. But you then find yourself coming back full circle to the how to get the images in front of the right person at the right time.
So what do we do? We open social media accounts. We work on building our email lists and then we wonder why we aren’t gaining followers. And why our engagement levels so low? The truth is, in this digital world that we are constantly bombarded with information. Have you ever done your daily compute only to arrive at your destination and all of a sudden realise that you can’t remember the actual journey? It’s the same with digital marketing. Our brains are so constantly bombarded with information that we can‘t process it all. In the end only a small percentage actually sinks in.
According to MailChimp the current average open rate for email marketing in the Home and Garden sector is around 24%. Great, that’s 24 people actually looking at your email for every 100 you send. Two things immediately stand out with this statistic. Firstly what happened to the other 76? And secondly you will need quite a substantial email list if you are going to generate enough sales from only one quarter of your list.
To make matters even worse the average click through rate is only 4%. So for every 100 emails you send only 24 people open it and of those 24 only 1 (yes one) person will click through to your website. So whilst email marketing has its place and every brand should allocate time to it. It is certainly not a quick fix. It requires time and effort to build a list before you can start to enjoy the rewards.
The other way we might attempt to get straight in front of our customer is to pay for online Ads. Be it Google Adwords or Facebook Ads. This is another way to promote our brands and raise awareness. I’m sure we are all aware that the top 3 places of organic search are the place we need to be. But what if you’re number 6 for your chosen keyword? Your piece of the pie is tiny comparison with spots 1 to 3 and so we resort to adwords. It’s a sure fire way to increase brand awareness or so we are made to believe. But with anything above a 2% click through rate considered good it can be a costly mistake. Not only is the conversion rate poor but it can adversely affect your organic listings too by increasing bounce rates up to 70-90%.
Facebook is also always changing too. Its algorithm stays one step ahead of brands as they try desperately to raise their engagement levels. Meaning more and more companies resort to tracking campaigns and boosting posts in the hope of getting in front of the customer. Even if everything does come together. And you’re there in front of your perfect customer, what if it’s at the wrong time? What if you actually manage to enter the feed of an ideal customer but they are just taking a quick peak? They don’t have the time right now to engage with the post. To click through to your website. Unless they actually take a screenshot or bookmark it chances are it will have disappeared from their feed when they come back to look at it later. Or worse still they will have completely forgotten about it.
So what is the answer? Taking into account the rule of seven in all honesty, it’s important to do a little of everything. But there is another way to get in front of your customers that many brands no longer take advantage of. Some may think it’s old fashioned but you really can’t beat paper. There’s nothing more satisfying than turning a page (an actual real page) especially if it’s your favourite magazine. You build time into your day, whether curled up on the sofa with a cuppa or relaxing in a bubble bath to read it. And this is an ideal time to be in front of your customer. They are relaxed, open to ideas, ready to identify and connect with brands.
Whilst all brands would like to feature in magazines it can take a while for journalists to start seeking you out but don’t give up. Once one journalist pics up a brand and runs with it others will follow. In the meantime whilst you’re waiting for your big break why not create your own magazine experience with a brochure. Brochures are great way for online brands to enter the homes of potential customers. They’re a fabulous and cost effective tool for bridging the gap between online experience and high street presence. Not only do they build confidence in a brand but they are so exciting to receive in the post. And far more personal than an email don’t you think? After all you can’t display an email on your coffee table!
Many of the larger independent brands know the power of the catalogue and create the most fabulous A5 brochures. And if it’s something you’ve never considered take a look at Rocket St George, Loaf and Graham & Green. Each one of these retailers started out online. Each has grown to be household names and each one promotes their latest brochure on their homepage. Perhaps if a brochure is a little out of reach right at this moment as an alternative you could think about sending out the odd postcard. Or a hand written thank you card.
So the question remains. Does direct mail have a place in today’s digital World? Nowadays most of the post hitting our doormats tends to be bill related. Would you like to see more happy post? Are you craving more paper in your life too? I hope you agree that yes, it does. And its importance Is set to rise once more.