Does Prospecting with Direct Mail Work?

In the age of online media, does prospecting with direct mail make sense? Are there situations where it’s worth the expense?

And by direct mail, I mean old-fashioned snail mail. Mailing out a letter, postcard, or self-mailer to a potential client as a way to introduce yourself and your services to that client.

Now, you might think old-fashioned snail mail as a method of promoting your services is a dead method because we’re in the world of online marketing.

Do prospects even read the mail anymore? The marketing directors you’re promoting yourself to live in the online world, there’s no doubt about it.

But that doesn’t mean that old-fashioned snail mail isn’t a good way to introduce yourself and your services to these clients.

In fact, it can be a very effective way to prospect. If you’re looking for fresh ways to promote your services to clients, direct mail is certainly worth a try.

In this article, I want to give you some advantages of using direct mail, because there are some distinct advantages you don’t find in any other type of media for connecting with prospects.

#1. Direct Mail Stands Out

Think about it, how many emails do you think a marketing director gets every day? 20? 200? Email is a very crowded channel. The phone is a very crowded channel. Social media is a very crowded channel.

But direct mail, because it’s considered a dinosaur when it comes to marketing, is not a crowded channel. Business owners and marketing directors don’t get many well-written direct mail pieces from professionals like you who are introducing themselves and their services to them.

That means you have a good chance of standing out, which is really important. It’s very difficult to stand out in a prospect’s email inbox among 200 other emails. It’s much easier to stand out when they only get two or three pieces of mail a day.

#2. More Access

With direct mail, you get an opportunity to reach prospects who would otherwise be difficult to reach.

Let’s say you want to reach Marg the marketing director at X-Y-Z company, because you have identified that X-Y-Z company would be a perfect client for you.

But how do you reach Marg the marketing director? She may be very difficult to reach by phone, and you may not have her email. She may not notice your social media tweets or articles you’re doing to promote yourself.

Direct mail is as close to a sure way of reaching someone because you can, with a name and address, write a direct mail letter and it’s going to be received.

That doesn’t necessarily mean someone like Marg is going to pay attention to it or read the whole thing. It’s up to you to create a direct mail piece that will captivate your prospect.

#3. Your Paper Sales Force

Direct mail gets your message across in a well-articulated, professional way. Writing a sales letter is an opportunity to develop a well-constructed presentation of yourself and your services.

It allows you to introduce yourself in exactly the way you want to be introduced. It allows you to highlight your credentials, and communicate your message.

I often call sales letters a paper sales force because if you have a really well-written sales letter, it does a great job of presenting the benefits of working with you as a copywriter.

Your paper sales force can be out there in the mail knocking on doors for you every week. You don’t have to pay them commission like other salespeople. It’s a great way to get a well-articulated message or presentation of who you are and what you do across to a potential client.

#4. Fewer Potential Problems

Another advantage is that there are fewer issues with direct mail than with other types of marketing media. Yes, direct mail is cumbersome to put together. You have to create the sales letter. It’s on paper, you have to get it printed and mailed. That’s the downside.

But besides those issues, there isn’t anything else to worry about.

With email, for example, you have to worry about being labeled as spam or getting caught up in a spam filter. And there’s the issue of trying to getting the correct email address of the person you’re trying to reach.

With networking, you have to be good at networking and find the right networking opportunities.

You can call prospects, but they’re often hard to reach by phone.

But direct mail, it’s not like that. Once you get it in the mail, you’re done. If it works, it works.

#5. It’s a Sample of Your Work

This is a very interesting advantage — when you create a direct mail piece to promote services as a copywriter, you are also creating a sample for your portfolio.

If you have a well-written letter that promotes your own business, you can use that as an example of your direct mail creativity, strategy, and writing.

There’s a copywriter, Richard Bloch, whom I don’t know personally, but I’ve been to his website a few times.

For a long time on his website, he had a sample of a direct mail piece he used to promote his copywriting services. It was fantastic. It was a very creative, extremely well-written piece.

I could see why that worked well for him. But he also used it as a portfolio sample to demonstrate his creativity and writing savvy.

So if you use direct mail, be sure to feature it in your portfolio too.

Those are five advantages of direct mail. If you’ve never tried prospecting by direct mail, I encourage you to consider it. As you can see, direct mail is still an excellent tool for reaching potential clients.

This article, Does Prospecting with Direct Mail Work? was originally published by B2B Writing Success.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

Click to Rate:
Average: 5.0
Published: June 1, 2017

2 Responses to “Does Prospecting with Direct Mail Work?”

  1. Steve, Love the article. It does have some great advice, but I've had some bad experiences with snail mail marketing. I prefer emails. There are ways to get around the "spam" wall. But still, it was a great article.

    Thomas Arillotta

  2. Hi Steve,

    Several things I wonder about with this option:
    Cost: I imagine it is very expensive.
    Time consuming: I don't imagine this is something that can be automated and sent out to a mailing list at once. Personally, I learn about new potential clients on an ongoing basis.
    Lack of correct info: I often get return e-mail from the "post office" that there is no such recipient or no such e-mail address, this after I have done my due diligence research on LinkedIn and elsewhere.

    Any remarks?

    Nora King

Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)

This name will appear next to your comment.

Your email is required but will not be displayed.

Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters

Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)