5 Common Misconceptions about Direct Mail

June 24, 2019

Direct mail has a direct impact on your bottom line.

For several years, OneWay Automotive Service relied on word-of-mouth as its primary means of marketing. 

“My marketing was opening the garage doors, putting a sign on the building, and having my daughter out front with free donuts and coffee,” says Matt Hoage, owner and operator of the shop in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

After saying goodbye to $3,000 with another company’s poor marketing campaign, Hoage knew there had to be a better way. Then, the crisp corner fin of a Mail Shark ad swam through his mail pile and everything changed.

The mailer was on thick stock and was crisp, vivid and simple. Hoage contacted Mail Shark and soon a new marketing campaign was formed for OneWay. 

“I wouldn’t do it any other way,” Hoage says. 

In his own words, Hoage outlines the benefits of a direct mail marketing campaign with Mail Shark and lays to rest some common misconceptions about direct mail in today’s crowded market.

Myth: Direct mail has poor response rates and can’t help you get new customers or retain existing ones.

Definitely false. The responses I’ve gotten have been overwhelming. Between my own ideas and Mail Shark’s collaboration, the pieces are extremely attractive. Mail Shark is constantly able to work and change on a dime. As a piece gets sent out, people who come through the door love it. I always hear, “It’s attractive, it got my attention and the pictures and colors are crisp.”

As a business owner, I’m always concerned about retention. I’ve gotten responses from people who weren’t customers and decided to come in due to a simple glance at the mailer.

Mail Shark is versatile and wants to contribute. I like the idea that we’re marketing to the same routes multiple times with different pieces. Every piece is different—larger, smaller, magnet, scratch-off. They provide mixed media to stimulate potential customers who may get multiple pieces that appeal to them through size, texture and tone. 

We’ve done flyers and postcards; currently we’re doing a magnet with a calendar and coupons on thick card stock. Some of our pieces even feature a scratch-off coupon. People can throw it in their briefcases, backpacks, purses or put it in their car so it’s there when they need it. 

Myth: Direct mail is boring and doesn’t engage recipients the way digital advertising can.

Working with Mail Shark and knowing who you’re going to market to has been a huge asset. You’re reaching the right demographic. Because the mail is so unique (size, stock and quality), there’s no question that it will be seen. It’s not your typical throw-it-in-the-trash piece. The response has been great. 

The other aspect is that it’s tangible—it’s something people can touch and see. Scrolling Facebook, for example, you skip most ads instantly. Our direct-mail pieces are more in-depth than a social media or a Google ad. We do that as well, but our mailers will sit on clients’ counters or on their dashboards. I can even ask my customers if they have their coupon, and if it's in their car. “Yes,” they’ll say, and now they’re enjoying additional savings and thanking me for reminding them. 

Myth: You don’t need a coupon strategy and it doesn’t matter which coupons you send to prospects.

Casting a wide net helps catch the widest audience. We offer a cheap oil change, for example, just to get people’s attention. We don’t want to come across like Pep Boys or Jiffy Lube, but the reality is that people want a deal—they want to feel valued. We’ve offered inexpensive oil changes to garner attention and get people through the door. The coupons really do get people’s attention. If you can’t capture them after that, you shouldn't be in business! 

Myth: Only a small niche group of businesses can benefit from using direct mail marketing.

If there's a niche market, automotive is definitely one of them. It’s known that direct-mail marketing is one of the most effective ways of marketing for automotive repair. Dealerships do it, and if it didn’t work, why would they? As independents, we need to get on the bandwagon and understand this is what's working. If you’re not using direct mail, you’re missing the opportunity for new customers.

Myth: You have to handle every aspect of your direct mail campaign on your own (design, print, mail, etc.).

I'll answer this one with a story. A few years ago I was affiliated with a different marketing company. You should create your own campaigns, they said—we’ll help design them, and you can print them and mail them on your own. It failed, and I waited two years to do anything because physically and mentally I didn’t have the stamina, time, and resources to try again. I lost the opportunity to gain a stronger business faster because I thought I had to do it myself. 

With Mail Shark, the only thing I have to do is look at an email and say “yes” or “no.” It’s rare that a phone call is necessary, but if it is, it’s easy. Because of Mail Shark, I've lessened the amount of stress on myself and gained the customers I wanted to gain for the last three years—all within the last six months.

I have two dedicated reps who really make me comfortable. It’s been great. Sarah, my account specialist, is positive and ready to work. My sales rep, Derek, is thorough and attentive to my needs. Anytime I call him, I get a response immediately. He follows through with everything and makes it happen for me. I’ve had the chance to talk with the executive vice president of sales, Josh Davis, multiple times. He’s interested in what we do—we once spent 45 minutes on the phone to talk about evolving the company and how he can help me. 

Within a metro area, this kind of campaign also helps separate yourself from the competition. I’m one of the only shops in the community making a difference as far as marketing goes.

If I have the opportunity to help independents, I’ll share any knowledge I have. And if shops hesitate on direct mail, they’re wasting time. They need to give it a chance and commit themselves to three to six months of direct mail before they decide whether or not it’s working. 

If you’re not doing it, do it. You can trust Mail Shark.  

Click here to learn more about how Mail Shark can bolster your business, provide an unforgettable marketing piece and increase your shop’s visibility.

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