JCK Show: The three Rs of direct-mail advertising

There are many ways to approach direct-mail marketing campaigns, but to be successful, all campaigns must be representative, repetitive, and responsive, says Jennifer Burke-McGeehan of Marketing Momentum, Big Bear Lake, Calif.

McGeehan addressed retail jewelers Wednesday at The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas in a session titled “The Three Rs of Effective Direct Mail Marketing.”

All campaigns should be an accurate representation of the jewelry store in its look, design, positioning, and size, McGeehan said. She recommends that jewelers use color in their advertising. “Let’s face it, we’re in the jewelry business, and it’s a business with a lot of color,” she said. “Color is life.” In addition, she said, jewelers should have a logo that’s easily recognizable to customers and use that logo with all advertising.

Direct mail advertising should focus on a store’s customer base. “The best customer is the one who just purchased from you,” she said. “It’s the basis for all of your advertising.”

McGeehan recommended 12-month marketing campaigns that are timely, diverse, and consistent. She also advised being aggressive in advertising. She said advertising should start with mail and branch out. A store’s advertising budget should be 3% to 7% of total anticipated sales. “The newer your business is, the more you should spend on advertising,” she said.

Ways to save money in a direct-mail campaign include using photography from manufacturers and associations and using bulk mail.

Being responsive to customers through direct mail can be achieved by keeping the message simple, using live stamps whenever possible (even when using bulk mail), and using ink-jet printing for addressing letters, McGeehan said. For a special show or party being hosted at the store, include a way for customers to respond. The good thing is that “direct mail provides the highest response factor,” she said.

There are three types of direct-mail advertising: promotional, promotional and educational, and general advertising.

Promotional advertising includes large post cards, invitations to special store events, and mailing tubes. “The most successful tool I have ever used is a mailing tube,” McGeehan told the audience.

Educational and promotional advertising includes newsletters, catalogs, and mailers reproduced and inserted into newspapers and magazines. It can educate consumers about diamonds and gemstones and about buying jewelry, and it can include store information.