On our blog, we talk quite a bit about the opportunities that the internet and digital media has created in terms of marketing to seniors and their families. It’s no secret that the advent of this realm has been a boon for many a marketing strategist looking for new, creative ways to reach his or her target audience. The opportunities are pretty much limitless, and within the senior living realm, where many seem to lag behind in terms of up-and-coming marketing strategies, those who are first out the gate often have a lot to gain.
That being said, there’s still quite a bit of value in more ‘traditional’ forms of marketing, one of which is direct mail marketing. Not all potential customers are going to respond positively to newer, more modern forms of digital and internet marketing, so being ready with a full arsenal of strategies at your disposal is key to really reaching all of your potential prospects. Direct mail is a powerful weapon in that arsenal.
“Not only is direct mail trackable and often less expensive than other marketing strategies, it’s a tried and true method that can yield huge ROI,” says Diana Moore, Vice President of Technology and Production Services at Sage Age Strategies. “Combine that with a smart follow-up strategy for nurturing the leads you generate and you have a powerful tool for attracting new residents.”
Simply sending out a few hundred postcards to a purchased list of addresses isn’t a good strategy, though. A smart direct mail plan starts well before any letters hit mailboxes, and continues well after. Let’s look at some key strategies for executing an effective mail drop.
Know Your Audience
It may seem like we’re a bit of a broken record, since we talk a lot about the importance of knowing your audience, but its value truly cannot be overstated. The first step in an effective direct mail campaign is to identify the audience you hope to reach and understand them as best you can. That means breaking down their information into demographic categories and identifying the differentiators about your community that will appeal most to each category. So it’s equal parts “know thy audience” and “know thyself.”
Know Your Competition
Chances are, other communities in your area – if there are others – are also conducting or have conducted direct mail campaigns. Do your due diligence and read up on what they’ve been sending to their potential customers, because there’s a strong likelihood that your customer base overlaps.
In addition to identifying what your competition is doing in terms of direct mail, it’s a good idea to take a look at what other industries are doing, too. Not everything about their strategy will be applicable to your own, but it’s never a bad idea to gather inspiration from fellow marketers; after all, there are far fewer opportunities out there for truly new, unheard of ideas, and far more opportunities available to simply improve upon what’s already being done. So keep a file in your desk of direct mail pieces you find effective and eye-catching, and make a note of what it is about those particular pieces that caught your eye.
Set Up a Sequence
One-off mail pieces are a surefire way to waste money. What’s better? A defined lead journey that identifies where in the sales funnel your lead is and what steps they can and should take upon receiving your direct mail piece. Is the piece focused on generating good will and top-of-mind awareness so leads think of you when the time comes? Or, is it a more acute, targeted campaign with a clearly defined call to action? Both strategies have a home in a larger marketing plan, but the former has a far different lead journey as compared to the latter. Know what you want your prospective customers to do once they receive your mail and map it out. Why? That leads into our next point…
Set Up Proper Tracking
No marketing effort can be considered successful if it doesn’t include clear tracking. How else can you expect to learn and improve the next time around? This doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated; it can be as simple as using a trackable phone number on your mail piece, a trackable URL or even just asking each and every prospective customer how they found out about you. You can also send out segmented mailings with different messages and offers and track which generates more calls and website visits.
Much like with digital marketing, customers today are constantly inundated with offers, promotions, letters and other forms of communication. It’s hard to rise above the fray when the fray is constantly growing and getting louder. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stand out. This can be done in a wide variety of ways. It can be the card stock and envelope you choose for your mail piece, the headline and messaging you use, the offer you share or even the time of year you choose to reach out. Above all else, though,knowing your differentiators is key. You have to know what makes you special in order to convince a prospective customer that you actually are!
Direct mail, when done well and in conjunction with a solid marketing plan, can be an extremely cost effective way of gaining new leads and moving prospective customers down the sales funnel. Just be sure to think about the before and after, too!
Proven Sales and Marketing Expertise That Connects with Today’s Seniors
If you are managing a senior living community and are in need of expertise in precisely profiling, targeting and connecting with your target markets, contact us for more information today. Sage Age Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / firstname.lastname@example.org.