For years I have railed against those that posted articles about how direct mail was "dying." I believed (and still believe) many of those people were fear mongers trying to scare business owners and marketers into abandoning direct mail in favor of newer technology. However, in recent years, I have come to a more nuanced view of the subject.

    Direct mail is not dying, as many try to claim. It's alive and well because it still works. I see it every day for tens of thousands of businesses across the country. BUT, direct mail IS being abandoned by small businesses and marketers in search of a cheaper, online alternative - and that is a REAL crisis for direct mail companies everywhere. In fact, I spoke at the National Postal Forum on this very subject not long ago. Here's the deal:

    Direct mail isn't dying Direct Mail Companies are.

    Proof? Well - besides your graying hairline - how about this:

    From 2003 to 2012, the total number of operating printing establishments has gone from 32,870 to 27,027 - a 27% drop (IBIS "Printing in the US" Report)
    From 2003 to 2012, the number of people employed by printing companies has fallen 36% (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
    From 2003 to 2012 demand for printing services has fallen 26%, from $106 billion to $76 billion (IBIS "Printing in the US" Report)

    And where are our clients (and their money) going? You guessed it:

    · 46% of all searches are for information about products or services. (HubSpot)
    · 66% of new customers use search and online research to find local businesses. (HubSpot)
    · Advertising spending on PPC has risen from $4 billion in 2004 to $20 billion in 2012

    Now throw on top of that the fact that 80% of sales come between the 5th-12th marketing contact (followupsuccess.com) PLUS rising postage prices, and you start to see the full problem:

    Clients simply don't want to spend the money on direct mail when they believe they can reach customers more cost-effectively online.

    When I identified this issue, I sat down with my executive team to brainstorm how we, as a company, needed to respond. We knew direct mail was effective, but we were clearly losing clients to the lure of cheaper online marketing (even if it wasn't getting them the results they wanted!). The answer we came to has completely revolutionized my business. What was it?

    DirectMail2.0: A new direct mail product that integrates with Google to provide automatic online follow-up.

    We completely rethought the direct mail process. What if instead of just mailing cards for clients, we also tracked those cards through the mailing process and let them monitor the progress and accurately predict delivery? What if we also provided a tracking phone number, so they could see how many calls their mailing produced? What if EVERY lead that went to their site was automatically shown follow-up banner ads though Google? What if we created an online portal where clients could securely log in, view and track all of this data?

    We did it all. And here is the finished product, as seen through our customer portal.

    Mail Tracking:
     
     
     
     
     
    Call Tracking:
     
     
    Google Integration:
     
     
     
    DirectMail2.0 is the FUTURE of direct mail. I really believe that, which is why I am sharing it with you!

    My company, PostcardMania, was the beta test for DirectMail2.0, but the success we have had is indisputable:
     
     
    That spike you see is us adding $933,000 in PROFIT to our bottom line in 2013 through DirectMail2.0 revenue alone. As a business owner, that is what I would call a success. And the reason it was a success is that DirectMail2.0 really WORKS for clients. We found that the reorder rate for DirectMail2.0 customers was 70% HIGHER than for customers that didn't use DirectMail2.0 with their first order.

    Now, getting there wasn't easy. It took us a TON of time and manpower to set this system up. We had to purchase and test every call tracking number. We had to create our own mail tracking system that integrates with the USPS barcode technology. We had to meet with Google and hammer out a way to integrate their follow-up tools with our direct mail campaigns. We had to build the online portal and interface from the ground up. All told, we're talking YEARS in the making.

    I did it because I recognized that it NEEDED to happen. Not only for my business, but for the thousands of others in our industry. And for the tens of thousands we employ. And for the clients that rely on our marketing savvy to keep their businesses humming and profitable.

    And now that it's done, DirectMail2.0 stands on its own. It is 100% its own company, so you and your clients can benefit from the technology that saved my business. (Find out more at www.directmail2point0.com)

    We are reaching the point in our industry where it is truly adapt or die. Our product works, but the clients are leaving anyway. It's time to change the way we've always done things and start blowing clients' minds with the kind of results they can only get by harnessing the power of direct mail AND online marketing.

    It's time for DirectMail2.0! Are you with me???


    Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a fully-integrated marketing firm specializing in direct mail. She used postcards to grow PostcardMania from just a phone and computer to a $22million enterprise in less than a decade. Connect with Joy on Google+.

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