Direct mail is a great tool for SMEs

Perception of direct mail as a marketing channel by the SME community is that it is an advertising medium for large organisations. They’d be forgiven for thinking this due to the bulk mail discounts offered by postal operators and the large volumes quoted in the media when reporting on recent DM campaigns.

However, they’d be wrong. DM is also an incredibly powerful tool when used by small and medium sized businesses sending out volumes closer to the 10s and 100s, rather than the 1,000s and millions sent by the big boys. In fact, sometimes it can be even more effective for SMEs as it can be even more personal and well targeted.

This is why we welcome Royal Mail’s latest initiative – MailshotMaker - a self service tool that allows ‘small businesses to create their own professional, cost-effective mailshots’. It helps SMEs execute mail marketing campaigns in three working days, from design to delivery at a customer’s door. The tool has been launched after research revealed that 69 per cent of UK small businesses prefer to develop and manage all their marketing in-house.

The features of the new online tool include: 

- Three mailshot formats – A5 postcard, A4 letter and sealed-mailer

- A range of design templates and creative themes to suit different business needs

- Free-to-use image library of over 100 pictures and graphics, which will continue to be updated and expanded

- A free sample for each mailshot, enabling small businesses to see the quality of the mailer and the impact of their design before launching a campaign

- Expert tips embedded in the tool to guide throughout the process of designing a mailer and creating content, and how to encourage response

According to Royal Mail it is designed to help businesses bring more customers through the door and ultimately generate more sales. However, it is worth remembering that direct mail campaigns are only as powerful as the customer data that sits behind them.

Customer data quickly decays due to people moving house and passing away. It is estimated that within a year a third of data can be out of date, so it is important for SMEs to check their data before embarking on a campaign. Mailing people that have moved or died is not only a waste of money, but also can cause significant brand damage, which SMEs simply can’t afford. Many data bureaux offer free health checks to identify the number of records within a database that are out of date.