As a small fish in a big, competitive pond, you need proven strategies for growing your customer base and keeping existing customers coming back for more.

That’s where direct mail comes in — again. Small businesses are now realizing that, while digital media may be inexpensive, it’s yet another huge pond where small fish get lost in the crowd.

With direct mail, on the other hand, it’s much easier to precisely target and reach your ideal audience. Here are four ways it can help you achieve business marketing success.

1. Increase Brand Recognition
People won’t patronize your business if they don’t know you exist. Use direct mail to send your message to a specific group of prospective customers based on demographic data (age, marital status, income level, etc.); need for/interest in your type of products or services; geographic area around your location; and more.

For example:

  • A pizza delivery restaurant sends a menu to every household in its neighborhood
  • A realtor sends a sales letter promoting its services to high income homeowners
  • A pet store sends a postcard with a coupon to pet owners

Brand recognition isn’t only about making a first impression. Long-term engagement is the real key to lasting business success, so it’s equally (if not more) important to stay in touch with your existing customers. Build loyalty and encourage repeat business by reaching out periodically with news about your products or services, promotional events, or even a thoughtful thank you card.

2. Build Your Dream Mailing List
When you’re first starting out, you may have to buy or rent a list of prospective customers (such as pet owners). But as people respond to your marketing efforts, you’ll be able to fine tune that list to those who are genuinely interested and most likely to buy. With every successive list refinement, the potential return on investment grows.

It will also enable you to customize mailpiece content to each recipient. How? You can capture information through reply mail, website response forms and customer purchasing history. Then, by using on-demand variable printing, present each individual with the information, offers and images most relevant to him or her.

For example, the pet store owner mentioned above might customize the postcard’s image to a cat, dog or bird, depending on what species of pet the recipient owns. The coupon could also be customized to a discount on cat, dog or bird food.

3. Get Better Open Rates
Given the spam filtering and blocking technology now in common use, the likelihood of your marketing email being read by prospective customers is pretty small. Most of them will never even see your subject line, let alone open the email.

Direct mailpieces, on the other hand, are at least glanced at before the recipient decides whether to read them or toss them. Eye-catching design and a compelling call to action can further improve readership. As long as the offer was correctly tailored to the customer’s needs/wants (during your list development), you’re practically guaranteed a far better response rate than you could ever hope for from an e-blast.

4. Look Sharp
Never underestimate the importance of presenting a professional image in every contact point with your customers, from the corporate brochure to the invoice. Elegant, consistently designed materials help your business be perceived as more trustworthy, successful and authoritative. And that’s sure to translate into more decisions in your favor, rather than your competitor’s.

We’ve given you four great ways that direct mail can boost your business marketing. Even better, our advanced automation tools make it as fast and easy to execute as a digital campaign. It’s the best of both worlds: delivering your message to the right people at the right time, with minimum effort and maximum results.