Since the advent of digital advertisement in the early 2000s, a cloud of doom-and-gloom has been hanging over direct mail marketing. But this pessimism is largely self-created; direct mail services have simply redefined their role in the marketplace as part of an all-inclusive marketing strategy.

In fact, when it comes to response rate, direct mail campaigns still outperform other forms of advertising. Case in point: Direct mail achieves a 4.4% response rate, as opposed to .12% for email. And overall, direct mail has a response rate ten to thirty times higher than that of display ads or paid search.

So, maybe you’ve hit a period of stagnation for your direct mail business. But plenty of opportunity exists, and your business’s performance can’t be blamed on flailing industry numbers. According to US Presort, millennials are more likely than other generations to scan and read physical mail. As this generation continues to enter the workforce in droves, so will the momentum behind printed mailing services.

Keep reading to find out how you can take advantage of this burgeoning engagement with direct mail marketing. We have a few tips to help improve your prospects and cash flow.

1. Learn your Niche

Specialization is the quickest route to differentiating yourself in the marketplace. If you or your high-ranking team members have experience across a multitude of verticals, try to home in on the industry that has generated the most positive feedback from clients.

A specific niche will also curtail the amount of time you’ll spend acquiring a comprehensive database of targeted people. Whether you are data scraping or purchasing mailing lists from another source, building up a list of potential partnerships takes time and money.

Perhaps most importantly, the relevancy of your business correspondence will improve dramatically. Offering an opportunity for more dealership walk-ins rather than a vague allusion to improving brand impact will garner higher response rates.

2. Develop a sales letter that exemplifies your business’s excellence.

Your marketing campaign directly reflects the efficacy of your business’s mailing services. Likewise, you’ll need to prove your merit to whomever may be working with you in the future.

That means your sales letter, brochure, catalog, or advertising piece will have to resonate with the reader, while also commanding their attention during the brief “skim” period.

If you don’t have an in-house copywriter, perhaps outsourcing this role to a freelancer or agency would be a better choice (unless you feel like putting your Shakespearean writing skills to the test!)

3. Are you analyzing response rate and other metrics? Now is the time to start.

Analyzing response to direct mail marketing can be tricky. But if you want to test the efficacy of different types of copy or lumpy mail pieces, you’ll need to come up with a tracking system or internal code.

If you’re just starting out, you might add a simple letter to represent a particular batch e.g. copy version #1 corresponding to “Batch A,” copy version #2 corresponding with “Batch B,” etc. As your company’s volume of outgoing mail increases, you can get more granular with your tracking codes, adding numbers or characters that reference month, year, and offer.

4. Develop a list of dependable B2B leads.

Earlier, we mentioned data scraping. Well, we don’t recommend this as a method of collecting data. The dubious morality of combing the web for contact information notwithstanding, data scraping often produces irrelevant, antiquated, and uninterested leads for direct mail marketing.

So, what’s a better alternative? Contact a list broker. Not only do they have access to a veritable smorgasbord of demographic information, but they can also match your ideal customer to a preexisting list. True list brokers allow you to “rent” lists for a certain number of mailings; this prevents fraud and keeps clients honest.

5. Know your competition.

You’re now competing on a national stage. In the industry of direct mail marketing, location is effectively irrelevant, since companies can operate in any part of the United States (or the world, for that matter).

So, get to know the big fish in the pond. The larger, all-in-one direct mail marketing companies will charge more for their services because they’re invested a large amount of capital in brand awareness. Smaller operations will be competing on price, due to their lack of influence and fledgling reputation. Distinguishing yourself via specialization is a good way to establish your company as a trustworthy brand, rather than a wholesale vendor of commodities.