Home » Blog » How To Drive Foot Traffic With Direct Mail For Retail

Attracting customers can be the most challenging aspect of making a business successful. For many retailers, this means attracting a steady stream of local shoppers into their store. According to a Forbes report , more than 93% of consumers typically travel 20 minutes or less to make their everyday purchases.

Direct mail can improve retail foot traffic to your store with local targeted mailings that are customized by region and by audience using personalized variable data print. Innovative retailers are able adopt location-based targeting to build community and brand awareness, create lookalike audiences based on existing customer characteristics, build out loyalty programs, and use personalized promotions with strategic direct mail campaigns that draw customers in by offering value. Automated marketing platforms make it easy to coordinate direct mail with digital and social media campaigns for wider audience reach, thus increasing the effectiveness of each channel. According to the USPS, marketers saw their ROI increase by 60% when combining direct mail with digital channels.

In this blog, we’ll explore the impact of direct mail on driving foot traffic to retail stores and present the benefits of using direct mail for local marketing and promotions to create a personalized shopping experience. First, let’s cover a few of the basics.

What is Direct Mail?

Direct mail is printed communication, advertising, and promotional material that businesses send to prospects and both loyal and lapsed customers. This material includes postcards, direct mail letters, self-mailers, catalogs, and booklets. Large and small retailers value direct mail because of high open rates and the ability to finely craft personalized messaging using existing customer data. According to Fundera, for every $167 that marketers spend on direct mail, they sell an average of $2,095 in goods and services, an ROI of 1,300%.

Why is Direct Mail Effective?

Direct mail works because homeowners enjoy receiving mail; they trust the promotional and marketing material they receive in their mailboxes. A Direct Marketing Association (DMA) study determined that nearly 60% of homeowners in the U.S. consider direct mail a good thing. Direct mail is not just embraced by older consumers! A Gallup study found that 95% of millennials enjoy and look forward to getting direct mail every day.

Direct mail is unique among marketing channels in that it brings a tangible element to consumers. Design and layout play a crucial role in its success. Businesses can choose from a variety of formats and sizes, and add texture through finishes and coatings. Utilizing a commercial print partner for your direct mail needs deliver eye-catching colors and sharp images. These factors create an emotional connection that other channels can’t provide.

A strong call to action (CTA) such as redeeming a personalized coupon, responding to a special offer, or attending an exclusive event drives a response and interaction with your store. This places an emphasis on the ability to customize and personalize the CTA using demographic, geographic, and behavior-based data so that the recipient finds it impossible to resist. Applying customer data, lookalike and regional information can be combined with variable data print options to ensure your direct mail piece is engaging to your consumers.

Direct Mail Choices for Businesses 

Most retailers have the option of deploying three types of direct mail campaigns, based on budget, time, and degree of data optimization.

  • Saturation Bulk Mail remains one of the most affordable ways for a retailer to reach a large population throughout a location to increase brand awareness across a wide geographic area.
  • Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is one of the many programs offered by the USPS that allows businesses to map the relevant ZIP codes of their audience by age, income, or household size and, as a result of the competitive rates offered by the postal service, get their promotions delivered directly into the mailboxes of the customers for less than the cost of a first-class stamp.
  • Targeted Direct Mail lets retailers use curated lists of prospects and customers to send very personalized messages built around specific criteria to more effectively target households and produce significant returns. Automated marketing platforms have made it easier for businesses to manage data, variable data printing provides seamless personalization of content, and unique QR codes and program codes can track engagement.

Smaller businesses with limited resources or direct mail experience often work with local marketing experts that offer a range of direct mail and digital services. Innovations in technology have made it easier to specifically target households within certain neighborhoods. These professionals can help retailers manage direct mail costs by sending coupons and ads through shared mail envelopes to targeted households.

5 Ways to Increase Foot-Traffic

  1. Personalize Content, Coupons and Offers
    Use text and images that reinforce your brand’s identity with the lifestyle of your prospect. You can create singular pieces by incorporating names, personal information, and customized images.
  • Add maps, upcoming events, and local landmarks that distinguishes the mailer and sets it apart from the other pieces in the mailbox.
  • Send coupons and offers based around your customer’s priorities. Upsell with promotions based on previous purchases and celebrating milestones in your relationship with them.
  • Include QR codes or personal URLs (PURLs) that bring digital content into the mix and add an interactive engagement with your store.
  • Personalization is a key factor in the proven success of direct mail for reengaging with once-thought lost customers and offering them a compelling reason to return. According to a recent ANA study, 70% of customers surveyed have re-started a relationship because of direct mail.
  1. Boost Loyalty Program Engagement
    According to Invesp, 69% of consumers say choice of retailer is influenced by where they can earn customer or rewards programs. Customers recognize and appreciate when the businesses they frequent pay attention to their needs and are engaged in building a better experience for them through loyalty programs. It’s easy for emails to loyalty program members to get overlooked in a crowded in-box. Your direct mail piece and recognized branding can easily stand out among the few other direct mail pieces homeowners receive in a typical day.

    Send rewards to your loyalty program members with triggered direct mail that adds value to every visit to your store. Direct mail is tangible proof that your relationship with them matters and provides an incentive enjoy the benefits and cost-savings your program offers. You can add tracking codes to monitor what brings them back and continue to fine tune your mailings with every new purchase.

    You can add the fear of missing out into your direct mail by including limited-time offers and invites to ‘can’t-be missed’ events that only your customers can enjoy. The timing of when your mailer reaches your loyalty program member is important, which makes having an automated marketing platform that tracks and triggers mailings that your customers want to receive important.
  1.  Create Compelling Promotions and Events
    You can use direct mail to create curiosity around special sales, promotions, and events at your store and invite prospects to join in the fun. Direct mail works because your audience can hold on to it until the big day as a physical reminder. The piece can include important contact information, dates and times, and maps to make it convenient for customers to respond.

    The local nature of many direct mail campaigns provides opportunities to synchronize campaigns with print signage like billboards and banners in high-traffic areas. Research has shown that a message must be seen at least seven times before it is remembered. Coordinating direct mail and promotional signage improves the effectiveness of each and increases visibility and recognition both inside and outside the home with multiple reminders of your store, promotion, or event.
  1. Integrate Direct Mail with Digital and Social
    Adding email, digital content, and social media strategies to direct mail campaigns enhances the credibility of the messaging on those marketing channels. Brand reach and engagement are streamlined across all the devices your customers use to connect with you. Your prospects are more likely to act when they encounter consistent messaging across different media.

    A multichannel marketing approach lets you combine the trustworthiness of direct mail with the immediacy of direct and social media marketing to achieve greater results than if deployed separately.  One way to connect print and digital is with QR codes or Personal URLs (PURLs) in print materials that lead to websites, landing pages, and immersive AR experiences and make it possible to track, collect, and analyze the effectiveness of print campaigns in real time. Through channel marketing platforms, like Marketing.com’s Dot™, allow simplified management of data and analytics for complete campaign ROI tracking.
  1. Measure Key Metrics for Success and Continually Optimize
    Identifying the key performances indicators for your campaign will provide you with the best measurement of success based on your goals. One of the most basic metrics to track is response rate to the direct mail piece. This will determine the effectiveness of the CTA and show your return on investment. Another common measurement is conversion rate, which can tell you how many people made a purchase or became customers, based on your method of tracking. You may also want to measure the cost per response to help budget future campaigns.

    Customer lifetime value shows you how well direct mail performs as a channel in creating loyal customers. The data you gather throughout your direct mail campaign can help you improve future campaigns and guide you to make smarter, more informed decisions on all your marketing strategies.

    To increase foot traffic to your store, follow the example of successful retailers in your community with direct mail strategies that attract more prospects and bring loyal and local customers through your doors. Marketing.com can help you connect the dots to create memorable and profitable direct mail campaigns and integrate your marketing efforts across all of your marketing channels.