Just because so far you’ve relied on one marketing methodology, doesn’t mean you can’t diversify. If you think there’s a divide the size of the Grand Canyon between direct mail and digital marketing, you may be missing the many rope bridges that connect the two sides.
Direct Mail Benefits and Digital Connections
- Longevity – a piece of mail you can hold in your hand sticks around longer than a fleeting email or social media promotion.
- Timing – direct mail recipients read and consume on their own time, not time stolen during working hours or snatched lunch breaks. With longer to read, your message stands more chance of sinking in.
- Digital elements – website links or QR codes make direct mail highly trackable.
- Flexibility in budget – choose your format, quantity and postage options to keep marketing budgets under control and complementary to digital marketing.
- Drive Website Traffic – direct mail offers, such as free samples for instance, could either be sent direct or recipients directed to a website to apply for the offer.
- Unexpected Markets – research has shown that students and younger people in general like physical mail. Universities and colleges, for instance, have achieved greater engagement through combining both direct and digital marketing methods. If your audience comprises the younger generation, incorporating direct mail could bring unexpected results. In fact, in a survey by USPS, almost half of those in the 25 – 34 age group actively read and find mail useful.
Use Customer Records to Identify Prospects
Just as you’d segment your customer data for digital marketing purposes, that same data can reveal ideal candidates for a highly personalized direct mail campaign.
As an example, in a case study of an online retailer wishing to move into direct mail, digging deep into customer records showed them an opportunity to target those who’d recently moved house. By tracing new addresses, they were able to deliver personalized mail to the new address with targeted offers that resonated. Not only did the company increase sales in that market segment, they made sure awareness of their company didn’t get lost in the house-move shuffle.
Digital Tracking with Direct Mail
The traditional linear conversion path is a myth in today’s marketing world. People just don’t buy things the way they used to. Mixing direct and digital marketing methods, you can meet your customers right at the point they’re at in their buying journey, AND keep track of where they go next so you can respond accordingly. A couple of ways of doing this include:
- Call tracking – dynamic phone numbers on your website are campaign-specific and give you a way of identifying where calls are coming from. Additionally, you can track offline marketing from printed materials, tracking and measuring response rates from specific mail shots.
- Vanity URLs – are easier to remember than standard URLs and can lead to personalized landing pages. The important thing to remember when using vanity URLs in direct mail campaigns is to keep them short and compelling, because there’s no clicking with a printed URL. You can choose whether to make the vanity URL part of your website or create a unique custom URL that’s specific to your offer.
Getting the balance right between digital and direct mail takes some testing and tweaking, but there’s clear evidence that a mix-n-match approach is more successful than relying on one method alone.