It doesn’t seem like that long ago that direct mail marketing was one of the smartest and most obvious ways to market small businesses like local restaurants. Restaurant owners could pay a modest fee to access marketing mailing lists, craft up snazzy printable marketing material, and easily and directly reach the mailboxes of a huge number of potential customers in their area. But unfortunately for restaurateurs who love direct mail marketing, advertising your business in this way has become almost entirely obsolete.
For starters, customers aren’t receptive to direct mail campaigns these days. If your business sends out a printed pamphlet, your eatery is as likely to be perceived as a menace and nuisance as it is to attract new customers. Direct mailing promotional material is likely to be seen as “junk mail,” and end up in the trash instead of enticing in your local fan base. In general, people aren’t as receptive to printed advertisements as they used to be, and the push towards digital media has made direct mail campaigns feel passe and clunky in most situations.
Luckily for restaurant owners who loved direct mail marketing in it’s heyday, there are some newer alternatives around today that have replaced the obsolete technology. If you want to get all of the benefits that direct mail used to offer, like one on one interactions with customers and a direct and targeted marketing tactic that can reach potential customers in your area, there is a modern solution.
The NEW Direct Mail Marketing
Unsurprisingly, as direct mail marketing faces total obsolescence as an advertising tactic, digital channels have taken over. Depending on your perspective, digital marketing could either be the cause or the solution to direct mail marketing’s obsolescence, but either way the trends can’t be denied. The NEW direct mail marketing lives entirely online.
Good direct email marketing campaigns are designed with all of the old benefits of physical mailing campaigns in mind. Good email marketing gets the attention of your customers directly, and can communicate with them in a personal and effective way. Good direct email marketing can offer your restaurant unique value, by alerting old fans of new deals and stimulating a community around your restaurant. Good email marketing does a whole lot more than just help you get your message out; it transforms the way that you communicate with customers, replaces physical direct mailing entirely, and provides a lot more value than the now obsolete marketing technique ever did or could. Truly, email marketing is the NEW direct mail marketing.
Pros and Cons of Email Marketing
If you love the feel of a piece of mail in your hands, it might be hard to see just how beneficial direct email marketing can be compared to older physical marketing techniques. But other than the lack of a tangible, material product, there are really no unique “cons” to email marketing. Yes people may ignore your emails, but they are more likely to ignore direct mail marketing that arrives in their physical mail box, and that ignoring will cost you more. Yes, too widely targeted campaigns can feel corny and aggressive, but that’s even more the case with physical mailers. Overall, the cons of email marketing are fairly minimal, especially compared to the cons of older mailing tactics.
And for the most part, the “pros” of email marketing have gotten restaurant owners more excited then disappointed about the obsolescence of direct mail marketing. Just like direct mail marketing of the olden days, direct email marketing lets you catch a customer’s attention in a direct and effective way. But there’s a lot more that makes direct email marketing important and powerful.
What Makes Email Marketing Unique
As compared to old fashioned mail marketing, the digital nature of email direct marketing means it is easy to analyze and extract data, and keep an eye on how effective your campaigns are. With a little knowledge of marketing analytics, you can experiment with the power of direct email marketing easily, and see how and where to improve your mailing efforts.
Additionally, email marketing is inherently more organic than old fashioned direct marketing campaigns. You can easily build your own email lists for highly targeted marketing efforts, as compared to the reliance on purchasing or renting mailing lists as was always required in the physical mailer days. Plus, since it is easy for your customers to unsubscribe from email lists, you can be more sure that the direct mailing style material that you do send out over email will reach people who are receptive to reading it.
The world of direct mail marketing is changing quickly, and physical mailers are just about entirely obsolete for restaurant owners these days. But the low cost, high flexibility and increased effectiveness of email marketing means that, for the most part, restaurant owners should be excited about these changes.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
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