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11 Reasons for Contractors to Use Direct Mail

July 7, 2023
As contractors and other marketers zig away from direct mail, it is the perfect time to zag back to it.

Many contractors have pulled away from the use of direct mail and shifted their marketing dollars to digital.  Marketing agencies, populated by millennials who know digital, but lack experience with direct mail encourage this.  As contractors and other marketers zig away from direct mail, it is the perfect time to zag back to it.  Here are 11 reasons you should consider direct mail.

1. Less Competition 

Mailboxes may seem crowded, but they are far less crowded than the past.  Digital has bled off physical mail.  Covid accelerated the move.  Accordingly, there is less competition for direct mail than there has been for decades.  This means
there is more opportunity.

2. Digital Fatigue

Unlike contractors, most homeowners do not occupy positions considered “essential” during the Covid lockdowns.  Theirs was a world dominated by screens and Zoom meetings.  It was interesting at first, working at home in gym shorts and living on their laptops, but in time it became tiring.  As the video meetings have continued and many still work from home, digital fatigue is taking shape.  This works in favor of physical mail.

3. Precise Targeting

While it’s true that digital has the potential to target prospects based on demographics, direct mail gives even better targeting opportunities.  Mail houses are collecting demographics and overlaying them with physical addresses to give marketers better targeting opportunities than ever before.  However, simply confining mail efforts to your service territory and focusing on homeowners in older neighborhoods is all you need to make sure you are reaching out to prospects likely to be in need.

4. Radius Marketing

It is a mystery why more contractors do not take advantage of direct mail for radius marketing.  Every time there is a replacement or even a service call, drop 50 or 100 pieces to home surrounding the customer.  Chances are good that more than one of the nearby neighbors will have the same need now or in the near future.  A good mail house can make this nearly automatic.

5. Customization and PersonalizationDirect mail also offers great customization opportunities.  Everyone has received direct mail addressed to them
personally.  Often, these are fund raising or political mail efforts.  Usually, it peak curiosity, resulting in the addressee opening the mail to see what it’s about.  By the way, do you think it’s an accident that political and fund raising professionals seem to rely so heavily on direct mail?

6. Unlimited Creativity

One of the best things about direct mail is the ability to get truly creative.  Sometimes something as simple as inserting a pen into an envelope so it’s bulky will compel people to open it and consider the message.  That’s merely scratching the surface.  Depending on budgets, you can include scratch off cards, odd size envelopes, customized trinkets, and so on.  

7. Better Response Rates

While direct mail is more expensive than email marketing, it carries higher response rates.  According to Larry Riggs, who was writing in Chief Marketer about the Direct Marketing Association’s annual response rate report, “Response rates for letter-sized direct mail sent to house files was 3.4%, more than 30 times the 0.12% response rate for email.”

8. Lingering Impact

With digital or mass media, the message is somewhat ephemeral.  It appears and poof, it is gone.  Direct mail can lay on the kitchen island or countertop while the prospect mulls over whether to act or not.  It does not require people to remember the company name, website, or phone number.  It is there in print as long as the homeowner wants.  Mail the homeowner an introductory gift certificate with your company and it’s likely to hang around much longer (and what is a gift certificate than a coupon with greater perceived intrinsic value?).

9. Complementary Nature With Other Marketing 

Direct mail can work in isolation or in conjunction with other marketing.  It works well to complement mass media or digital, where it presents in print, the call-to-action that is acted upon.  When used as part of a marketing campaign, it’s effectively increases.

10. Perception of Legitimacy

It is easy to create a digital ad or email. Accordingly, these are treated with a certain amount to of skepticism by consumers.  No doubt the proliferation of scammers and spammers raise the level of cynicism. Direct mail, by contrast, requires more effort, is perceived as more legitimate, and due to the effort and expense, is far less likely to be used by scammers.  Accordingly, it is perceived as more legitimate.

11. Mail Service Ease of Use

New mail services on the scene make it easier to execute campaigns.  They can help with lists, mail design, printing, and mailing.  The small price they charge is worth it for contractors who are busy with too many irons in the fire (i.e., most contractors)

For direct mail pieces you can download and customize for your company, join the Service Roundtable and access the company’s Download Center with thousands of professionally designed direct mail, other marketing, sales, and management tools created to help contractors get more done, more profitably, in less time.  Visit www.ServiceRoundtable.com or call 877.262.3341 for more information.

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel was a co-founder and CEO of the Service Roundtable (ServiceRoundtable.com). The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization. Matt was inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame in 2015. He is now an author and rancher.