5 Traits of Companies That Win with In-House Direct Mail

5 Signs It's Time to Take Your Direct Mail Advertising Program In House

When you smile at a clever direct mail advertisement, who deserves the credit?

Often it's an agency. Which makes sense for a lot of smaller businesses: when you only have a few hours a week to spend on your marketing, why not farm the job out to people who live and breathe direct mail?

However, in the past couple of years, that calculation has started to shift. Now, if you wanted to send that clever direct mail designer a compliment, you might well be able to find them working in house at the company being advertised.

So how do companies with thriving in-house direct mail advertising programs do it? What sets them apart?

And—most importantly—is your company the kind that could score big wins by taking a DIY approach to direct mail?

At Inkit, we've seen hundreds of companies do just that. Here are five signs that suggest it's worth piloting your own direct mail program—no matter how big your team is or whether you've done direct mail campaigns before.

1. Your ideal customer base is easy to find.

Subscription businesses. Meal delivery services. E-commerce companies. If your business has an obvious need to know where its customers live, it's an excellent fit for DIY direct mail: the list is already in your hands.

Ever collect billing addresses? Ask for an address on opt-in forms? You might have a larger built-in mailing list than you think.

But say your business is brand new—you don't even have customers yet.

DIY direct mail can still be a good approach if you know where to find your best prospects.

If you run a local brick-and-mortar or service-based business, direct mail software features like Inkit's Area Mail option let you blanket specific zip codes with your offers. Or, if your target demographic is well defined, it might even make sense to work with a mailing list broker to rent a list of prospects (which you can easily upload to Inkit to target your campaigns).

2. You have access to design and copywriting resources.

Your direct mail pieces will need compelling words and images. But you don't need a highly specialized team to create them. If you have a designer and a copywriter on staff (or among your trusted contractors), you probably already have the creative talent you need.

That can be true even if your in-house creatives are used to a digital-first mindset. Check out these four rules for translating your team's existing skills into direct mail.

3. You use marketing automation with confidence.

When most of your marketing is automated, why should sending direct mail be a labor-intensive hands-on process?

Bringing your direct mail program in house is an especially smart move if you can do it with the help of marketing automation, syncing your direct mail with your existing digital campaigns. Platforms like Inkit let you trigger mail pieces using the same automation rules and workflows you use to send your emails and segment your contacts.

So far, Inkit integrates with HubSpot and Drip, with more marketing automation integrations planned for 2018. Follow us on Facebook to see what we roll out next..

A simple example of a direct mail automation workflow using Inkit and Drip

4. You know that marketing doesn't end at the first sale.

Lots of companies reach for direct mail as an acquisition tactic. But the sharpest teams we've worked with know that it's at least as powerful for retention.

And it's not an either/or proposition. When you bring direct mail capabilities in house, you're often giving multiple departments a versatile new tool.

Say your team adds a tool like Inkit to its martech stack. Marketing can use it to reinforce its multi-channel campaigns, of course.

But the sales team can also use it to nurture leads and follow up with important prospects. And the customer happiness department can use it to improve the customer experience and slash churn rates.

In other words, when direct mail doesn't just "belong to" an outside agency, it becomes far easier to develop the kind of unified direct-mail strategy everyone will want to get in on. (But you can still take the credit.)

5. You need to be able to move quickly (and change course just as fast).

From the whiteboard to the mailbox can be a months-long journey for a traditional, agency-run direct mail campaign.

That just isn't going to cut it for many fast-moving teams. And so they ignore the vast potential of direct mail.

They shouldn't. Because if your team has access to direct mail software like Inkit, your first direct mail campaign could be in your customers' hands within one week.

Okay, you might want a little more time to plan, design, and review. But you can press the Send button on your campaign whenever you want.

And when you add direct mail automation into the mix, you don't even need to be the one pressing that button—though you can still add and delete mailings from your automation sequences at a moment's notice.

One-off postcards? Super time-sensitive campaigns? When you're in control of your direct mail, it's no problem.

(Heck, you can even pay for your direct mail one piece at a time if you like. Sign up with Inkit's Basic plan to try it out.)

Do you recognize your business in these five signs? Then it's safe to say that building your own direct mail advertising program could give your company a pretty remarkable superpower.

And who doesn't want to be a superhero?

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