Until the postal service closes every door for good, traditional direct-mail marketing is not dead. As a small business — even if you are wary of the turnaround direct-mail marketing provides — it’s important to understand the benefits and how it can complement your other marketing strategies. Direct marketing is a perfect opportunity for your small business to find and communicate with your target audience. Everyone loves receiving something personal, useful and anything that is not a bill in the mail. Whether its a newsletter, event flier, catalog or promotional letter, these methods still work.

Joann’s Etc. is a national company that specializes in crafts and homemaking that not only masters the art of direct-mail marketing but keeps it going strong into the digital age. They send fliers and coupons to their customers weekly offering exclusive “I just gotta have it” deals, which consistently fills their stores with crafters looking to get a deal. How do they do it? The Joann’s Etc. marketing team knows its target audience like nothing else; they know the audience’s interests, what they want and how to speak to them, which gets the audience in the business’s stores.

While your business may not need to hit the direct-mail marketing campaign as hard and as largely as the crafting gurus, it’s definitely smart to implement some kind of traditional marketing into your campaigns. Depending on your target market, you want to separate digital and traditional marketing in your budget. Start small and see what works and make adjustments as you receive feedback. Use the following tips to get your direct-mail marketing campaign started.

Ditch FedEx and Speed Up the Process

Running to FedEx every other day can become tedious. Luckily, new technology allows your business to duel as your own private mailroom, with the possibilities to print postage and labels in the comfort of your own environment, saving time and money. Companies such as Pitney Bowes offer ultimate printing and postage machines that can print up to 175 pieces per minute. These machines print literally anything, from stamps to letters and fliers.

Making a Mailing List and Sending a Message

List segmentation is your first roadblock in creating a good, relevant direct-marketing campaign. Regardless of how pretty your letters look or what kind of messages you’re giving, if they are sent to people who aren’t interested, it is a waste of time. Segment lists by demographic, if they are current customers, organize by buying patterns, and file potential customers based on how their demographics and interests are similar to your current customers.

Knowing who your audience is key to not only sending a specific message, but being able to identify leads and grow your business. Monitor your current customers and the market to which your business caters. Consistently analyze new data regarding demographics, lifestyle, family culture, buying trends, political beliefs etc., and alter your strategy accordingly.

Understanding Target Customers

Properly distinguishing your email lists will help create your message. Don’t forget to speak directly to the recipient of your message, address mail directly to customer “Dear Jennifer Williams,” or “To The Williams Family.” Remember that your message represents who you are, what you are and it should be consistent with what you’re selling. Make sure everything from the product and service you are selling down to the font and flyer boarders are consistent with your brand

The purpose of the message should be clear so the recipient understands why they are receiving it (a special event, sale, promotion). The purpose should reinforce the brand and instigate customer engagement with your company. A message that says “bring in this exclusive holiday coupon to receive 15 percent off your next purchase between x and y dates” not only clearly shows the purpose of the message but makes the content trackable and measurable.

About the Author: Marcus Webley Son of a barber and a florist, Marcus’ parents owned businesses before they met and they combined their shops (which were neighboring each other) to become a pet grooming salon. Marcus owes his creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to his parents and their pug, Bea.