Direct marketing is marketing directed to segmented customers lists. In a broad sense, it includes both print direct mail and email. direct mail writers speak directly to the customer.
The CMO Council provides valuable insights into both forms of communication. Overall, email is more effective than other digital media channels, but print direct mail is more effective than email.
Three-quarters of recipients open print direct mail, 63% read it, and highly targeted print direct mail can get a response rate as high as 4.4%. Email, on the other hand, has a response rate of 0.03% to 0.12%. Emails from banks and retailers (regarding sales) get the highest open rates, and email is especially strong in B2B customer acquisition and retention.
Direct mail does well in soliciting new customers for local businesses and in industries that require trust. Customer expectations define how direct communication works.
Trust is an important determinant. Email has an overall ROI of $28.50, eclipsing print direct mail’s ROI of $7, but direct mail inspires greater consumer trust.
However, this varies depending on the marketing challenge, message, and customer list. An email campaign may be inexpensive, but if it serves no real purpose, it is a waste of time and diverts your attention from the real work that needs to be done.
Chosing The Right Writer
There are different ways to approach direct response.
Some direct response writers, in the Bob Bly school of copywriting, take a heavy-handed retail-style approach. Sort of like the “Wait, Wait” infomercials you see on late-night TV selling juicers. I’m not saying this approach doesn’t work. Retail-style direct response works for hard-sell industries, but it erodes brands. This style of copywriting is just that – a style.
Branding is about having a unique style of your own. I do not do retail-style direct response. I write brand-specific direct response projects, usually complex packages to solve multi-faceted challenges. For example, a corporate client asked me to write a multi-piece direct response campaign that would replace their sales force. Another client asked me to work on a project that would build a distributor network; this kind of direct mail work goes beyond writing a sales letter or self-mailer brochure.
Most email is junk mail. If you plan to really nurture your email list, you need to think through your campaign and how you will scrub, sort, and funnel customers. Most businesses do not take the time to do this. It is tedious and may even seem boring. But planning your email strategy ahead of time critical – if is the only way to have a successful email campaign. I work with corporate clients who have an email strategy in place and simply need it to be implemented in the proper way. I also write the occasional email campaign for hotels, banks, and solo entrepreneurs or professionals.
If you want to lean heavily on email marketing, you should use a writer who is a member of the Direct Marketing Association. In fact, you should join it yourself.