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Direct Marketing Thoughts for Contractors

In my talks with contractors, the conversations always touches on direct mail or direct marketing. From the horror stories of big dollar spends for little results to getting a lot of business from small direct marketing campaigns.

From flyers to postcards, direct mail or marketing is still a worthwhile tactic in the arsenal of tools a contracting company can use.  In this article, I will do my best to help you get a better grasp of direct mail or marketing.

Contrary to popular belief, advertisers will be using direct mail marketing even more in the future.

Some 70% of Americans say physical mail is “more personal” than email.  If you have followed any of my articles, I have stated how email marketing is a power tactic that isn’t used enough by small companies.

Now with a survey taken, if 7 out of 10 Americans say that a letter is more personal, should small businesses be using it to get referrals, builds loyalty and attract more business?

Sadly, most are not!

The big dogs are still using direct mail in the age of digital or internet marketing.

Neiman Marcus says it makes four dollars for every one dollar it spends on creating and mailing catalogs.  Since, you are not mailing out a catalog (remember those Sears catalogs from years ago?  Gone.  No wonder Sears sales has slumped) the dollar of return will be higher based on the low cost of your mailing.

The USPS found that customers who receive ad mail spend 28% more than those who don’t.


60% of people who get direct mail even if it is considered junk mail by them will visit the site anyway.  That is 6 in 10 and not something that should be ignored.  If your website is getting that kind of traffic, it will help boost your SEO and ranking in the search engine world.

Even if mail is considered junk, 70-80% of the people receiving it will still read the headline or further.  Think those headlines and your marketing copy doesn’t matter contractors.   Say something different, say something meaningful to your target customers and I would bet the farm your rate of response would go up.

NOTE:  The above examples are taken from the USPS database.

2.5 billion direct mail coupons were redeemed in 2015.  I have to ask, are you using any kind of coupon?  Or are you sending a postcard say the same old thing.  Hi, I’m ABC contracting, I’ve been doing this since the beginning of time, please call me.  Damn! That’s boring and doesn’t offer the potential customer nothing.  How about a foot in the door, self liquidating offer of some sort.


  • $75 roof inspections (Roofing & Home Improvement Contractors)
  • $100 entry way powerwashing (Powerwashing & Window Cleaners)
  • $25 sidewalk edging (Lawn and Landscape Services)
  • $50 Front door painting (Painting Contractors)
  • $100 Front yard pruning (Landscape & Tree Services)

In your daily drives, keep a note pad handy.  Write down what you see and the address. The above examples can all be seen and sold from the road.

These are all losses as far as profit goes, but they are a cost covering lead in to upsell, or as I put it, Columbo sell, of one more thing while you are here.  We have all been there.  While you’re here, could you give me a price on this or that.

Make an offer to get them to visit your site, call about a foot in the door offer.  That is what your direct marketing mailings job is.

Direct mail is still big marketing, to the tune of $1.4 billion a year in ad spend in America.

Out of all the direct mail you send, 2% will not reach anyone.  Bad addresses, house sold, vacant houses, etc. make-up most of this percentage.

I my direct mail campaigns that I do for customers, I focus on a 50-30-20 rule.  50% of my direct mail goes to existing or past customers.  30% goes to potential customers that have shown an interest and 20% goes out with an offer to get new customers.

I have found that most of my clients and contractors that I talk to do the 0-0-100 rule. Meaning, never mailing existing customers, never mailing out to interested customers and always mail to find new customers.

Here is a tip:  It is easier to convert that to attract.

Direct mail/marketing is still a viable way to get business, especially on a local level. Those that use it and use it properly will grow and profit more, than those who do not.

More to come on this topic in the coming days.

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