Why compete for the inbox - when the letterbox is open?

How GDPR opens the way for effective direct mail

In May this year, we saw the introduction of GDPR legislation. The main effect on businesses, and their marketing activity, was to cause a whole load of confusion.

There is a great deal of uncertainty as to what you can and cannot do. One thing is certain though – you can still contact your customers!

This quick overview looks at ways you can contact your customers (and prospects) after the introduction of GDPR and the advantages direct mail now presents.

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Drop them an email

If you are anything like me, I get upwards of 300 emails a day and generally I ignore them. There are just too many and I really should unsubscribe, but it’s easier to let them sit in my inbox (currently 6049 items with 2947 unread). And that is the problem with email – it gets ignored, deleted or lost in spam filters. Admittedly it is a low-cost contact option – but it also has a low response and fails to generate interest. The majority of emails are now viewed on smartphones and this compounds the problem – it’s largely just scroll, delete or ignore.

Emails were once seen as the universal solution to business communication; cheap, direct and easy. But this success has ultimately been its downfall – yes it still has a place but is losing its influence. And it’s important to remember that as with mail, sole traders and partnerships need opt-in for email.

Pick up the phone or start telemarketing

Telemarketers are also hit with the same problems; consent and over calling. I can’t begin to count the number of business calls I receive each day, the current favourite seems to be energy companies, closely followed by telephone systems. Once again, it still has a place, but you have to have access to the correct data and ensure you can legitimately call them. IOC guidance is that you must not make marketing calls to any number listed on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or Corporate TPS (CTPS) unless you have specific consent. Again this highlights the importance of verified data.

Stick something in the post

So where does this leave direct mail? In a very good place indeed!

In the main, things are much easier for B2B marketing. The IOC guidance is that by following the route of ‘legitimate interest’ you can still prospect by mail without having to get an opt-in. The problem arises when you have to identify what business you can prospect to, you will have to identify limited companies. Sole traders and partnerships fall out of this guidance and it is imperative that you have any existing data profiled and cleansed.

With IOC removing the obligation to obtain consent for B2B direct mail, it is suddenly thrust into the spotlight it occupied over 20 years ago! Provided the data is cleansed and verified, you can happily prospect by mail.

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Provided the data is cleansed and verified, you can happily prospect by mail.

Why Direct mail wins through

Direct mail is something that is physical and tangible, we own it on receipt and keep it. In contrast, the ethereal nature of emails implies its disposability. With a global, daily volume of some 124.5 billion business emails, and the average office worker receiving 121 per day, their impact can only decline. As the number of emails, your prospects receive increases, it’s going to become ever more difficult for yours stand out. So why compete for the inbox - when the letterbox is open?

Direct mail brings a whole raft of opportunities and can be extremely cost-effective. It is a direct route to prospective customers and has retention rates emails can only dream of.

It’s all about Catalogues and Direct Mail

As our name suggests Catalogues 4 Businesses is a specialist catalogue agency, and we see catalogues as the outstanding direct mail vehicle. Time and time again, our clients have seen considerable growth simply by mailing a catalogue.

Catalogues get your product and brand in front of your customers in a very unique way. The simple experience of getting a catalogue through the post implies investment in your customers. It extends your business reach, increases your web traffic and drives your sales.

And, with the restrictions placed by GDPR there has never been a better time to invest in a catalogue.

So how can you get catalogues and direct mail working for you?

Gone are the days when you can rely on emails alone. GDPR is both a curse and a blessing, but its effects on B2B mailing are far less onerous than anticipated. It presented challenges, but with planning and good support from specialists, such as Catalogues 4 Business, direct mail will grow your business.

The Royal Mail has seen a significant drop in volumes since GDPR, largely through a reduction in untargeted mail. This presents targeted direct mail with unprecedented opportunity. You will be a bigger fish in a reduced pool.

But we can’t emphasise enough the importance of getting your mailing data cleansed and profiled. Data lies at the heart of any modern business – and it can significantly increase its value. Good data ensures a good campaign and will ultimately determine its success.

We are not advocating stopping emails or telemarketing - and digital marketing along with social media are still hugely important. But the significant advantages of direct mail in a post-GDPR marketing world cannot be ignored.

In a nutshell – get your data cleansed (or get new data) and get mailing.

Why compete for the inbox - when the letterbox is open?

 
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Author: Ian Simpson

 

Find out more:

If you would like to learn more contact me on ian@c4b.net.

You can also call us on 0845 2300 258 or visit our website www.catalogues4business.co.uk/