I know the topic of – “Is Direct Mail Dead or Alive?” is going to sound self-serving. Of course, a printing company is going to promote that direct mail marketing is alive and well, right? It’s a topic that I take seriously and have followed closely for years. I (we) want you to be successful and profitable. I’m not out to promote direct mail just to sell products and services. 

With that in mind, every few months I do my research online asking – Is direct mail dead? It’s typically filled with printing/mailing companies giving favorable stats and encouraging you to do direct mail. It’s not photography specific so it’s hard to decipher what results to expect with our type of target market.

PPA hasn’t done an updated survey on studio business in a while but you can read the 2014 Benchmark Survey & Business Guide here if you are a PPA member – https://www.ppa.com/benefits-mem/business-resources/financial-benchmarks.

There are fewer photographers doing direct mail for many reasons. Budget is a big reason. Lack of confidence due to a lack of research and understanding is another. Most people don’t invest in something they don’t know anything about. Many automatically assume direct mail is too expensive and therefore never look into it at all to even give it consideration. 

There are positive signs to consider these days though. While session numbers in general tend to be lower, the average orders are higher than they’ve ever been for most studios. That means you don’t need but a couple of sessions to make your direct mail investment pay off.

If you want to read some excellent information about direct mail, check out this article by Neil Patel – https://neilpatel.com/blog/direct-mail-effectiveness/. He is the co-founder of NP Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies.

Keep in mind that direct marketing is just one part of your marketing mix. It helps to have these other systems in place to maximize any promotion:

  1. Referrals.
  2. Network with other vendors.
  3. Personal invitations to your VIP clients.
  4. Community displays.
  5. A website that personalizes & supports your brand.
  6. Social media sites that support your campaign.
  7. Newsletters
  8. Blogs
  9. More!

OK, I have to brag about Marathon as they have really made the direct mail investment affordable and easy to implement. Check out their Senior and Family Program Direct Marketing services here – 

Seniors – https://www.marathonpress.com/power-of-3-senior/

Families – https://www.marathonpress.com/power-of-3-family/

You simply won’t find a more affordable, efficient, and easy-to-implement way to do direct mail. And THAT is another factor in having success with Direct Mail.

I encourage you to read Neil Patel’s article. He even has a calculator for you to use to determine if direct mail is right for you. Feel free to call me to discuss this further as well. Direct mail isn’t for everybody but it’s worth researching. 

The PPA Magazine ran an article featuring Stacey Jacob in February, 2022 titlled – Homing In and Letting Go (page 22-26). She said –

“I thought that by not spending money I was saving money, but that mentality kept my business where it was. There was no growth.”

I think that was so honest and brave for her to admit that and I think we can all relate to it, right? So, regardless of if you consider direct mail as part of your marketing mix, you still have to invest in a well thought out, carefully planned marketing strategy. What will yours be the rest of this year?