Letterbox marketing is still relevant in the digital age
With so much marketing activity now focusing on websites, social media and other online channels, the traditional letterbox drop might feel outdated. But door-to-door catalogue and flyer distribution are still among the most cost-effective local marketing solutions you can use – especially when they're integrated with your online advertising.
While digital correspondence such as emails, text messages and social media invites can be ignored or deleted without even being opened, a physical letter, brochure or other marketing material is harder to overlook, especially when it's personalised. Research shows that more people are now exposed to letterbox advertising than other traditional channels, including radio, TV, magazine and newspaper ads.
If you're thinking about letterbox marketing to promote your latest offers or event, read on to find out how it compares to other local marketing solutions and how to get the most out of your campaigns.
Do letterbox drops work?
Whether you're concentrating on local area marketing or a national campaign, letterbox distribution offers more engagement than most other forms of advertising. According to the latest Australian Catalogue Association Industry Report:
93% of Australians visit a store after reading a catalogue
2 in 3 Australians aged 18–49 read a catalogue every month
This increases to 72% for the main grocery buyer of the home
6.8 million Australians make a purchase from a catalogue within 1 week of receipt
Unlike other traditional marketing channels that are in decline – such as TV, radio and newspaper and magazine subscriptions – the audience for letterbox delivery has remained stable and even increased slightly over the past five years.
The latest Roy Morgan Single Source Survey found that catalogue readership increased from 65.6% in July 2014 to 69.9% in July 2018, making letterbox marketing the single largest channel for mass reach in 2019.
A letterbox drop can reach more than 20 million people every week in Australia, compared to 18 million people listening to ads on commercial radio, 16.8 million reading newspapers, 14 million watching free-to-air television and 12.5 million reading magazines (according to the Real Media Collective's 2017 July Industry Report).
With the average household getting less than two unaddressed items of mail every week, letterbox drops have greater cut-through than a lot of other marketing channels. People are more likely to open unaddressed letters than listen to commercial radio, watch TV or read newspapers and magazines.
Engagement is even higher when your letterbox drop is personalised with a name and address, with 95% of addressed mail being opened. The Roy Morgan survey found that personalised mail is read for 4 minutes on average, compared to 2 minutes for non-addressed mail. This is still significantly longer than the time spent reading emails and other marketing materials.
Catalogues have the highest engagement rate, with 71% of people spending 5 to 19 minutes browsing catalogue offers.
More than half of people who read catalogues (6 out of 10) go on to make a purchase as a result, whether that's in your online store, physical store or checking out through your digital catalogue. This includes planned purchases and impulse buys for items of all sizes. If a catalogue isn't appropriate for your company, flyers and other promotional materials can also be effective when you know how to reach the right people at the right time.
How to do a letterbox drop
Letterbox marketing puts your brand and your offers in front of more people, but only when it's done effectively. Follow these six steps to learn how to attract customers and get the best return on your marketing investment.
1. What should I send?
Catalogues – some of the best results from letterbox marketing come from catalogue distribution: Catalogues are read by people of all ages and can be linked with your digital catalogue to make it easier for people to complete checkout on your ecommerce site.
Advertising flyers – generally cheaper to print than a catalogue, a flyer can give a brief overview of your brand or your latest offer and is more likely to be seen than an email. Options such as scented or textured flyers can increase sales further, if these are appropriate for your business.
Brand books – generally larger and heavier than catalogues, a brand book carries extra prestige but costs more to print and distribute, so this is usually reserved for a larger campaign.
Free samples – everyone loves free gifts. Giving away a sample of your products will entice some customers to buy more, especially if you include a discount offer for your store.
Promotional items – shaped promotional items with your branding and contact details have a higher success rate than standard flyers. Practical items such as stationery are even better, as they're more likely to be kept around and shared. However, producing these items costs more than printing catalogues or flyers.
When you contact Salmat to help you get your brand into future customers' hands, our experts can discuss the best promotional items and work with you to start planning your campaigns.
2. How to design letterbox materials
When you're designing a catalogue, flyer or other material that will end up in people's homes, you'll want it to stand out. Strong visuals and catchy headings will grab people's attention, and you should put your message across clearly and concisely so people know what and who they're dealing with.
Once you've got their attention, your marketing materials need to be worth reading. Always keep your target audience in mind when choosing the words, images and layout that will appeal to their demographic and make sure your catalogue is easy to navigate with different sections clearly marked.
Last but not least, it's essential to include a call-to-action on every piece of marketing material you produce. This is the next step you want the customer to take after reading your flyer or brochure – whether it's getting in touch with your office, going to your website or visiting your store to make a purchase.
When it comes to printing flyers and catalogues, it's important that your materials are of the same high standard your customers are used to from other brands. Saving money by opting for lower quality paper or printing could make your materials look cheap, and your brand by association. Depending on what you're promoting, extra features such as a scented flyer or textured materials increase engagement by involving more of the senses.
If you need some help designing and printing your letterbox campaign, Salmat's design team and established network of printers can help you create letterbox marketing materials that convert.
3. How many homes should I target?
The size of a letterbox drop can range from your local neighbourhood to a nationwide campaign. However many homes you choose, you can improve the chances of your materials reaching the right people through research and precision targeting.
Local area marketing – inform local customers about your business opening or your latest offers, targeting households that are most likely to be interested or closest to your premises. A local letterbox drop can involve a few hundred homes or a few thousand.
Larger campaign – if you want to target a whole city or go Australia-wide, more than 20 million homes can be reached through letterbox marketing, which can be narrowed down to your target demographics.
Salmat's Swiftplan uses more than 50 variables so that households can be targeted according to their location, shopping habits, age, income and other factors to help you tailor your campaigns. Salmat is Australia's largest distribution network, reaching up to 17 million letterboxes nationwide.
4. When should I do a letterbox drop?
The timing of your letterbox drop depends heavily on the demographics of your target audience. Do you have products or services that sell better at certain times of year? (e.g. Flowers on Valentine’s day, toys at Christmas, barbeque’s in summer etc.) Or do your products and services sell well all year round? How you answer this question will inform the timing of your letterbox drop.
Good timing is critical for the success of a letterbox drop. You need to allow time for writing copy, graphic design and the printing process. If you're promoting a limited sale or an event on a certain calendar date, you also need your materials to arrive with plenty of time to spare before the date of the sale arrives.
Receiving mail on certain days of the week and different times of the day can also impact how people respond. Luckily, letterbox distribution is quite flexible in its timing. Salmat's letterbox distribution operates twice a week, 52 weeks a year.
5. How can I track results?
To know how successful your campaign is, you need to stay updated on which households responded and which areas or other metrics proved the most (and least) successful. Having access to this data will help you to modify your campaigns for even greater success going forward.
When you partner with Salmat for letterbox distribution, we'll keep track of sales to give you the ongoing insights you need to update your campaigns and prove ROI.
6. Integrate online and offline
Combining a physical letterbox drop with digital marketing will give you the greatest reach possible to cover all the bases and boost response rates as your marketing channels work together.
Some ways you can achieve this are by including details of your website and social media accounts on all marketing materials to give your customers more ways of reaching you and publishing a digital counterpart to your physical catalogue that shoppers can browse online.
Salmat's digital publishing solutions make it easy to convert your physical catalogue into an online catalogue that customers can click through to order from your website.
To find out more about how Salmat can make your letterbox drop a success, call our team today on 1300 725 628 or get a quote.