After GDPR: How Direct Mail can ensure you can continue to reach your target audience
Now that GDPR has come into effect, it seems to be looming over business’s heads like an ongoing hangover or a cold that just won’t budge. What felt like a massive headache at the time of the legislation coming in still lives on, with any business who relies on email marketing and cookies having to massively rethink their plans. But for many businesses, direct mail could soon become the best way to reach your target audience. That’s right – we’re going back to basics, and it could be the change that direct marketing needs.
As you might know, under the GDPR businesses must have consent to obtain, store and use personal information about their customers. Sometimes this information is necessary, for example, you might need a customer’s address in order to send a parcel that they ordered. Other times, the information is less useful, such as asking their shirt size when subscribing to a monthly newsletter about fishing. GDPR enforces that businesses only have the information that they need – but when it comes to direct mail, obtaining the consent is easier. This is because “you can rely on legitimate interests for marketing activities if you can show how you use people’s data is proportionate, has a minimal privacy impact, and people would not be surprised or likely to object”. This means, if you believe customers will be interested in what you are sending them and you aren’t spamming them or obtaining unnecessary information, you’re free to message them. We’re not saying you should send entire catalogues of deals and offers, but it’s easier for you to contact your audience than via text or email.
The recent decade has seen a decrease in direct mailing and post marketing, with technological advancements making it easier to contact people via their phones and computers. However, with GDPR making email and text marketing a lot more difficult, there is now a bigger share for direct mail and sending people letters, flyers and brochures. If your business takes the initiative and makes use of the new legislation to make a move towards direct mail, you could be helping yourself to a bigger slice of the direct marketing pie.
What’s the problem with sending someone a deal via email? Surely, nothing looks better than the words “get 30% off on your next purchase” to a customer? The issue is that once they stop looking at the email, it can fall out of their focus and they can forget about it. If you send someone an offer through the post, it has a physical presence in their home. Every time the customer looks at the offer, they will be reminded of it. Time it just right, and you could be onto a winner. For example, sending deals just after payday can make the difference between whether the customer makes a purchase or not. Likewise, sending offers right before a sunny Bank Holiday weekend – if your business is food related, linked to the outdoors or in the entertainment industry – can be ideal for targeting customers.
With the total advertising spend in 2017 totalling almost $550bn, you need to take extra measures to stand out to your customers. While it’s hard to get noticed being one of several emails that reach people’s inboxes every day, you can really stand out when it comes to direct marketing. Try bright colours, offers disguised as letters, fancy envelopes that grab your customer’s attention. It sounds blunt but it’s true: it’s a lot harder to ignore something that’s in your hallway than in your inbox. However, people are used to ‘junk mail’ and spam flyering, so use this as an opportunity to take control of your direct mail and make it as personalised as possible. Don’t just send the same flyer to all your customers. This leads on to our next point…
Know Your Audience
You should have a pretty good idea of who your main audience is at this point. It’s worth sectioning them off into groups based on common similarities (age, address, how often they spend, how much they spend, etc) and then use this as a tactic for your direct mailing. This will allow you to target different groups from your audience in a way that appeals to them. For younger customers, you can use a style that you think suits them, and vice versa with older customers. Likewise, if you know a customer usually spends a lot of money, you might want to send them offers such as “20% off when you spend over £200” to motivate them to continue spending larger sums of money. If someone hasn’t bought from you for a while, encourage them to with an incentive like “We miss you. 10% off if you order within the next 5 working days”. This will make your marketing much more effective and allow you to tap into your target group of customers.
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