Adding Direct Mail to your Marketing Plan
The pandemic has caused an explosion in digital marketing. Hubspot noted last October that “marketing email volume has increased a total of 49% since the start of the pandemic and is currently a year-high 52% above pre-COVID levels.” For a channel already dealing with saturation and quality issues, this influx has major consequences for marketers. The more messages people get, the more likely they are to tune ALL of them out.
On the flip side, consumers are more excited than ever about receiving their mail each day—anything to get out of the house, right?! We already know that direct mail gets higher response rates than email (10-30x higher!). This fact coupled with the oversaturation of email and the need for tangible connection has provided an opening for direct mail.
This isn’t to say you should blow your entire marketing budget and start sending postcards to everyone in your database. The most effective marketing, no matter the channel, centers around targeted, relevant messaging. And direct mail is far more expensive than email, so you need to make sure you’re using it strategically. Here are a few ways you can start small to incorporate targeted direct mail into your existing digital marketing plan.
Use consumer behavior triggers
You likely have a ton of data on your customers. More than you know what to do with. Use this data to develop relevant messaging (remember, relevant=effective). This can be as simple as using a customer’s past purchasing history to promote a similar product or service. Or it can be more in-depth, like using website data to follow up with customers who have abandoned carts. As you test into direct mail, you can start exploring marketing automation to make these kinds of mailings more efficient and scalable.
Target a key audience
Have you ever received a coupon for a free appetizer from a new restaurant that just opened in your neighborhood? Chances are, it caught your attention and, if you visited the restaurant, you probably redeemed the offer. This is an example of using direct mail to target a key audience (in this case, based on zip code). Again, make sure the message is relevant to the audience, whether that’s based on job title, location, or any other data point you’re using to identify this key group. Start small with a very targeted group and expand out as you see results.
Create brand awareness
Because there’s less competition in your mailbox than your inbox these days, direct mail can be a great way to get eyeballs on your brand. This early brand awareness will make your email follow-ups more successful because your customers now recognize your brand and will be more likely to open and read your emails. It’s not about direct mail versus email—it’s about how you can leverage the strengths of the two working together to make both channels more successful. Remember though, relevance is still key. No amount of brand recognition is going to make me open an email about dog food if I don’t have a dog.
Direct mail doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. Carve out a small group of data and start testing. Yes, the cost is higher than email—but so are the returns. And you’ll never know how much higher your response rate can be if you don’t dip your toe in and start testing.