Forgotten Marketing Method Reaps Big Rewards

direct mail tips

Before you balk at this post thinking that direct mail is dead. Think again.

How many direct mail pieces do you receive from mom-and-pop pizzerias on a weekly basis? What about monthly? My guess is, you don’t receive many, which means you have the potential to stand out as the only pizzeria in your neighborhood sending out a direct mail piece.

In researching my direct mail article for PMQ Pizza Magazine, I interviewed several marketing experts about direct mail practices. Below I’ve included a transcript from just one of those interviews–a handful of helpful tips from Alyson Lex at Rock Your Marketing in Baltimore, Maryland. Stay tuned to to find the full article in an upcoming issue.

What are your top three tips for direct mail success?
Alyson Lex: 
Tip #1:  Don’t give up on your first shot. It does take time and testing to get it right, but once you do you’ll see consistent profits.
Tip #2: Test! Send a small number of mailpieces out to see if they work. If they get a really great return, then you can send more of them out. This is the best way to keep from blowing your budget on something that isn’t effective.
Tip #3: Have FUN with it! There are a lot of mailpieces out there that are boring and look like every other mailpiece your recipient will get. Send something UNIQUE, send something different.  Create some personality and have a good time – that’s when you’ll start to see results… PLUS you’ll have a good time creating it.
In your opinion, how can direct mail reach a customer in ways the Internet/social media cannot?
Alyson Lex: Direct mail has been touted as dead for so long that business owners in every industry are starting to believe it. But what’s happening is that everyone is moving to online and social (which is awesome and those media definitely have a place in a solid marketing plan) and mailboxes are becoming emptier and emptier. But people still check their mailbox every single day, and you don’t have to speak as loudly to be heard in a place where there isn’t as much competition.
What is the biggest mistake most businesses make when creating a direct mail piece?
Alyson Lex: The biggest mistake most businesses make is being boring. Yes, there are people who forget to include their phone number or website or what have you, but boring will get you put in the trash can faster than anything else. It’s a busy, busy world out there – getting attention means you’ve got to go outside the box of what everyone else is doing and do something DIFFERENT.
What are the components EVERY direct mail piece must include?
Alyson Lex: There are 5 things you must have every single time:
1. An offer – why should your customer care that you’re sending them mail?
2. A deadline – if you don’t ask them to respond by a certain date, you’re asking them not to respond.
3. A compelling headline – this is what gets your reader’s attention and draws them into your marketing message.
4. Personalization – “Dear Homeowner” isn’t cutting it anymore. Using a first name increases engagement dramatically, and the more you can personalize your message, the more successful you’ll be.
5. Your Contact Information! As much contact information as your customer will require to do business with you is precisely how much to include.  Phone number, e-mail, website, address… those should all be standard. No matter what!
How many times per month/year should pizzerias send out direct mail?
Alyson Lex: There are enough holidays and events that you can have a reason to mail at least once a month, if not more often. I love to create marketing messages around “wacky” holidays (Like National Pizza With Everything Day on November 12th. I’ve yet to receive an offer from a local pizza place near me on November 12th.)