Direct mail marketing uses the mail to sell goods or services through e-mail, letters, catalogs, brochures, pamphlets, postcards or any printed material sent by mail to attract consumers.
Direct mail selling is a multibillion-dollar enterprise. According to the Direct Mail/Marketing Association, in 1982 direct mail selling accounted for $40 billion in sales, or 4-percent of all retail sales. Companies such as L.L. Bean, Neiman-Marcus, Land’s End, and Hammacher Schlemmer do the majority of their business through catalog sales and internet. Sears, Roebuck and Company began its $18 billion yearly retail business by mailing its popular catalog to rural populations. Sear’s catalogs were successful because they targeted a specific market (i.e., rural) that had no easy access to large stores.
According to Tampa Translation Services, direct mail and e-mail selling has increased dramatically because of its convenience and ability to reach non-English speaking markets at affordable rates. Not only do consumers have the convenience of at-home comparison shopping, but they can also buy specialty items not found locally, in their local language—anything from bulletproof vests to buffalo steaks.
This week, we will be focusing on one form of direct mail selling: sales letters and e-mails.