Best Uses of Direct Mail for Startups

The power of a well-written letter

In our digital era when emails are so common, your messages can get lost in the shuffle, so surprising your customers with a personalized physical letter can leave a great impression. Here are four of the best ways to use direct mail for startups.

Last month I was pleasantly surprised with handwritten letters from two large charities after I made online donations. I was very impressed by the manual effort of these organizations to express their gratitude. Putting time and effort into interacting with your recipients can increase your value proposition and customer interaction. Handwritten letters can also provide a unique sensory experience keeping the attention of your reader and making your letter memorable.

In the last few years, marketing mail has dropped from 98.4 billion pieces in 2008 to 73.8 billion in 2017. This is the perfect opportunity for smart companies to really get the attention of consumers with unique mailing campaigns. In addition to this response rates for people ages 18 – 21 is 12.4%  this is a huge increase compared to recent years.

Besides, in our digital era when emails are so common, your messages can get lost in the shuffle, so surprising your customers with a personalized physical letter can leave a great impression. Here are four of the best ways to use direct mail when reaching people for your startup.

A follow-up letter / a donation direct mail letter

Follow up letters are a great way to keep people up to date on what is happening in your organization:

  • Is your business opening a new location?
  • Is your charity building a new school for underprivileged kids?

Let the people who support your organization know about new opportunities to contribute to your work. If they made a financial contribution let them know that any amount is most appreciated and without their help, it cannot be done. And here is how they can help you further and where their money will go. Being up to date on your startup is a great way to make sure people stay involved.

The Comeback of Snail mail.

Sometimes old techniques, like snail mail, make a big comeback. Snail mail is an effective way to start new networking relationships and an even better way to keep customer retention numbers high. Sending your clients holiday letters, info on new contracts or other relevant information to their customer experience is a great way to build relationships with your clientele.

Use emails for brief, informal, casual, and urgent communication. Use mail to express gratitude, acknowledgment, and appreciation.

When making your thank you notes:

  • State for what you appreciate (a first order, event participation)
  • Use the keywords of appreciation early in your letter – “gratitude”, ”recognition”, “appreciation”.
  • Close with wishes for continued success or hopes about your future cooperation.

Once you start looking for ways to appreciate people, you will see huge boosts in your consumer response numbers. A good habit is to send off appreciative notes several times a month.

Handwritten Notes & Gifts

Handwritten thank you notes like the ones I received are a rare occurrence in most direct marketing mail, making them a special experience for consumers. Delight your premium customers, donors, and partners with an exclusive gift and a thank you note as a part of their membership experience. Tell them how much their support means to you, and how it has affected your business. Let them know just how much you appreciate them.

Thank you gifts have become a huge marketing trend for online startups on sites such as Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, and Patreon and is a great tactic to bring to direct mailing.  

You can include small simple gifts such as stickers or keychains with your logo, to larger, nicer gifts like t-shirts and tote bags for your higher level clients. Sending gifts and notes makes your customer feel important and expands your brand by getting your merchandise out there.

See also 5 Great Business Postcards Examples for Small Businesses

Event Invitations

Invite your customers to your upcoming event. Whether it’s a trade show, grand opening, or the kickoff for a new product or service, inviting your clients is a great opportunity to network. Get to know your clients, get feedback, and push new products. Get people interested in your event by including coupons for specialty drinks or event food. Elements to include in your event invitation are:

  • A small map of the area for easy directions
  • Some of the features your guests can look forward too. A business presentation? Outdoor activities? Food truck catering? Free samples of your product?
  • Pictures of your team or workspace.
  • Opportunities to win prizes.
  • Info on who should attend, is this a networking event or a fun event for families?

Always try to add a call to action at the end to really drive engagement.

Direct mail is by far one of the best and most varied ways to reach people. No matter what your start-up is you can use direct mail to create a strong and unique presence with your recipients. No two start-ups are the same and no two letters are the same; so no matter how you reach people with direct mail, let the personality of your startup shine through.

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