Marketing Today – Rethinking Direct Mail

In marketing, we talk a lot about “meeting the customer where they are”. It’s a familiar concept and one we employee wholeheartedly in our marketing endeavors with Live 2 B Healthy®. In our primary marketing, we are trying to reach Executive Directors of senior living communities to let them know about our senior fitness classes and the benefits we provide in terms of increased length of stay, falls reduction and improved overall health and wellbeing. To reach all of these very busy executives all over the country, we need to make sure our message is out there in a large variety of formats, because every Executive Director out there has a slightly different role in their community and a slightly different scope of interest. It would be narrow-minded of us to only communicate via email, or LinkedIn or newspaper ads. We have a huge bucket of options available to us – everything from phone calls and drop ins to television commercials. The trick is, making our message available in as many different voices as possible so that it is heard by our intended audience.
We also have a secondary audience that we reach, and that is marketing our free fitness classes to seniors on behalf of our partnership communities. Just like in our primary market focus, we also try to provide a wide variety of different tools for our senior living communities to utilize to attract visitors to their classes.
Thinking back over 20-30 years of marketing (yes, I am that old), I remember the old days of service companies choosing their business names at the beginning of the alphabet so that they would show up first in the Yellow Pages listings. I can always tell the length of time a plumbing company has been in business by their name – especially AAABest Plumbers. Thankfully, some forms of advertising, like the Yellow Pages, are really not even a player in the marketing game anymore. But, I have recently heard a few experts harkening back to the “good old days” of direct mail marketing. I was reminded of this when I read this article this morning on the Senior Housing Forum.

The beginning of the article talks about the re-emergence of direct mail as a legitimate method of reaching your audience and it has gotten me thinking about what types of direct mail might work for us, both in regards to reaching our primary audience and to reaching local seniors on behalf of our partnership communities.  Direct mail really does make sense in both instances.  For the purposes of getting the word out to senior living management, it is a fact that as we have more and more direct billing and online catalogs, there really are fewer pieces of direct mail being sent out.  So well-designed and professionally printed direct mail pieces are likely to be noticed now that we are not wading through stacks of direct mail anymore.

Of course, our local senior audience is probably most familiar and comfortable with direct mail because it’s what they grew up with the the times before the prevalence of electronic media.  Again, a well-designed and professionally printed direct mail piece is quite likely to noticed, and also gives the recipient a tangible way to remember details such as class days, class times and contact information.

Studies are showing that the ROI on direct mail is really good (see the article here for some numbers that may surprise you!).  If you are looking for methods of reaching local seniors in to let them know about your FREE Live 2 B Healthy® classes, consider having postcards printed up and mailed to homes within your neighborhood.  While it would be tempting to limit the number of pieces mailed to only homes containing seniors, don’t forget that many homes that do not house a senior probably do have residents who are caretakers or in contact with seniors in the area.  A local postal patron mailing is less costly than a direct mail and, depending on the size of the area and, may be very effective for your community’s purposes.

Live 2 B Healthy® has a great partnership with a printing company that can help make the cost of purchasing 500 – 5,000 postcards are real affordable option.  And, remember, the design of the postcards are COMPLETELY, 100% FREE to communities that have our classes.  If you have any questions, check with your local Regional Owner, or contact our marketing department directly.