The shopping malls of yesteryear are dwindling, bookstores are closing their doors, and well-known department stores are struggling to stay afloat. The reason why is obvious: more and more people are seeking the convenience and variety that online shopping provides. New online businesses are started every day, and they often turn to online advertising to help set them apart from their competitors. Despite the many marketing efforts they make, a whopping 90% of all internet startups fail within the first 120 days.
With that high of a percentage, it’s important that online businesses, especially startups, choose the right tools to use when promoting their companies. Utilizing digital marketing is an obvious choice, but direct mail can be just as important. Here’s why:
#1: Direct Mail Establishes Brand Awareness and Trust
An online startup’s brand awareness has probably not been built up that much. Without a recognizable logo or well-known brand name, online ads may not be effective at the very beginning. This is especially true when the company does not have many online reviews to back up their goods and services just yet. Online shoppers are cautious about where they spend their money – they worry about the safety of their credit card information, are concerned about potential scams, and would probably be willing to spend a little more buying a product on a website that they know and trust. This, of course, is a barrier that online startups must overcome.
Promoting an online company with direct mail advertising helps to establish trust in a new brand. After all, would a fake online business send out direct mail advertisements? Probably not. Designing a cohesive mail piece that matches the online store will draw attention to the brand and build awareness around it. Additionally, with a bit of demographic research, the company can directly reach audiences that will be most likely to buy. Throw in a promotion as a second touch, and a company can be well on its way to gaining customers, reviews, and repeat web visitors.
#2: It Can Help Set a Business Apart
One of the main reasons why a startup company can immediately fail is because it simply isn’t different enough to stand out from the competition. The worst thing that an online brand can do when seeking to differentiate is to follow frequently-used marketing tactics, which typically include any form of digital advertising. This form of advertising is effective, of course, but a new online company shouldn’t stop there! Direct mail can also help a new online business stand apart simply because the medium itself is underutilized.
It’s easy to ignore a banner ad or email if it’s a business that someone hasn’t heard of, but it is far less easy to ignore if that same type of advertising comes to someone in the mail. Studies have shown that consumers typically have only an 8-second attention span, which doesn’t give companies much time to make an impression. There is a benefit, however, to the routine that revolves around getting physical mail: people typically check their mailbox at the same time every day, and they spend at least a minute sorting through their mail. Regardless of how many times someone may check their email (and for some, it’s not every day), most people do check their home mailboxes every day. The mail may end up sitting on a table or counter for a few hours, and during that time the individual may look at the same ad a few times. It is this potential for multiple views that truly sets direct mail apart from digital advertising, which can be so easily ignored, filtered, and deleted. The power of direct mail lies within that second or third glance that digital advertising rarely gets. This in itself greatly increases the chances of getting a new customer.
#3: It’s a Key Component of Multichannel Marketing
As discussed in our previous article, a multichannel marketing approach is very important for businesses both new and old. The way that consumers gather information and communicate has become multichannel, and companies who recognize this know that they must utilize many different marketing channels to capture customers at different parts of the sales cycle.
A study done by Canada Post discovered that 64% of customers visited a website after receiving direct mail, and 54% of direct mail recipients visited a company’s social media page afterwards. This is encouraging news for online startups who want to try direct mail marketing but also don’t want to ignore the time and money spent on building their social media and website presence.
In order to successfully launch a multichannel approach that begins with direct mail, it is important to start with good data. Think about it this way: if you spent a month designing the perfect greeting card to send to a member of your family, you wouldn’t want to address it to a random person who would never appreciate it. Right?
The same can be said with data and direct mail: a company is wasting money if they do not have clean data and a clearly defined target audience in mind. Once that portion of the marketing puzzle is solved, the rest is simple: start with a direct mail campaign, and go from there. Companies can use the direct mail piece to encourage individuals to visit their website or social media page, or they can use IP targeting to follow-up with online banner ads that will appear in the recipients’ homes a week or two later. Whatever channels a new online business may choose, one thing is clear: direct mail is a key player, and its ability to grab the attention of customers in an unexpected way is the perfect starting point for increased web traffic, followers, and sales.
Midwest Direct and their team of mail, print, data and digital experts can help boost your new online business. Learn more.
Written by: Leslie Nienaber, Content Managertags: business, customers, data, digital marketing, direct mail, Email, mail piece, omnichannel marketing, startups