It’s no secret that marketing campaigns have shifted to the digital realm. Companies are ditching flyers and postcards and are instead opting for social media, email, video, and other digital channels. While the internet serves as the bedrock for most marketing efforts, it’s important for a company to implement an integrated marketing strategy to maximize reach.
This is where direct mail comes in. Direct mail creates a tangible connection between company and customer—an interaction that digital campaigns simply cannot replicate. Most mail recipients take time to sift through their mail, whereas emails can be lost in spam folders, video links ignored, and Facebook posts passed over. Even if recipients don’t respond to direct mail, they at least look at the flyers and postcards they receive. With my years of experience in printing and direct mail campaigns, I can attest to the high conversion rates that accompany direct mail. You’d be surprised at how many people fill out reply cards to request information or the increase in web traffic after mail pieces are delivered to customers.
Direct mail also offers flexibility to accommodate a company’s marketing strategy. A common use of direct mail is to promote sales and events, but that’s only the beginning. Companies can use direct mail to gather information about existing and new customers, to offer coupons and discounts, and as a reminder of important dates. Direct mail can meet both the short-term marketing goals of a company, such as driving sales for a promotional event, and the company’s long-term goals, such as building relationships with customers.
Another significant aspect of direct mail is its trackability. Data and analytics are central to a marketing campaign, so being able to track the number of responses from reply cards or the number of times a customer uses mail-only coupons provides important insight into a company’s marketing strategy. Companies can then use direct mail data to improve or readjust their campaigns as needed.
One concern with direct mail, however, is cost. With most digital options free or nearly free, it’s understandable why a company would put away the paper and focus on web-only collateral. Although direct mail does cost money to design, print, and ship, the cost isn’t as prohibitive as you may think. The unit cost for most mail pieces is only a few cents (if that), so it’s possible to incorporate direct mail into a marketing budget without breaking the bank.
In today’s business climate, an integrated approach to marketing has become more essential than ever before. As marketers, we want to reach customers and clients largely through digital means, but connecting with individuals over multiple channels—including direct mail—ensures the highest rate of return for our efforts. As a bonus, multichannel marketing solidifies a company’s brand and flavor of messaging. Direct mail ultimately provides an inexpensive, effective channel to supplement a company’s digital marketing endeavors.