Franchisees face particular marketing challenges because so much of their marketing is controlled by the franchisor. However, there’s usually leeway to undertake local campaigns and direct mail is definitely worth considering as a part of your franchise marketing strategy. Here are some of the pros and cons of direct mail marketing:
Pros of direct mailing:
- Direct mail is affordable - You can do simple campaigns by yourself or with the help of in-house staff. No need to involve advertising agencies or place ads in the local paper, which can be relatively expensive. Get cracking with this direct mail marketing campaign template.
- Direct mail is flexible - If you need to move fast, a basic direct mail campaign can be put together in a few days. By contrast, other forms of advertising are dependant on factors like frequency of publication, lead-in time required for the production of ads, etc.
- Direct mail can be measured – you can easily measure your Return on Investment (ROI). Send a special offer to a highly specific target audience and then carefully monitor the response. Or attach a discount voucher and count the number of vouchers that customers bring in to your franchise.
- Direct mail is targeted - If your franchise needs to target a specific office park, street, suburb or neighbourhood, then a direct mail campaign is ideal. Avoid the expensive wastage that results from print or radio advertising. Even better, target people who are current or past customers – at least you know they’re interested in your franchise’s product or service.
- Direct mail remains ‘on view’ - A direct mail piece that has been carefully crafted to be relevant to your franchise’s audience is likely to remain ‘on view’ for weeks, months, or even years (just look at what’s being kept under your fridge magnets at home). The local newspaper, by contrast, usually ends up in the rubbish bin or the cat’s litter tray after a few days.
Cons of direct mailing:
- Stop junk mail – arguably the biggest direct mail con is its junk mail stigma. Years of over-use means many people simply throw away direct mailings without even looking at them. Worse still, unsolicited direct mail can cause some people to develop a grudge against a business sending them what they perceive to be ‘junk’.
- Response rate of direct mail – direct mail marketing experts say that a response rate of 1-5% is the norm. It’s a numbers game; to attract a lot of customers to your franchise, you need to send out lots of mailers.
- Inaccurate mailing lists – direct mail campaigns depend on good, accurate mailing lists for their success. If you’re sending your mailers to companies that have gone out of business, executives who have left the firm, and former customers who have died, then you’re wasting your time and damaging your franchise’s credibility.
- People letting you down – unlike placing an ad in the local newspaper, where you can actually see whether or not it appeared, direct mail campaigns depend on the reliability of service providers – the Post Office, private leaflet distribution companies or casual labour employed to do mail drops in a specific area. If these service providers fail to deliver, your direct mail campaign may be ruined.
- Reaching the youth market – Generation Y is less attuned to snail mail and more into social media like Twitter and Facebook. If the youth market is your franchise’s primary market, then traditional direct mail is probably not the way to reach them – rather implement an online direct marketing campaign.
Author: Franchise Finder, Online Directory of Franchises and Business Opportunities in South Africa