Risk of Dropping Direct Mail for Digital

How direct mail and digital can work together to increase your response rates

Risk of Dropping Direct Mail for Digital
Direct mail vs. digital, a controversy that will continue to play out as technology advances, many will be quick to take sides and argue that one form works better than the other. The best marketers though aren’t choosing sides because they know the secret, in order to get the best results it’s all about knowing how to integrate the two and make them work together. Take two very well-known companies for example Google and Facebook, they have billions of users accessing their websites but yet, they still incorporate direct mail into their marketing. They as well as countless others do this because they know just how effective the integration of the two is.

With technology consistently changing it has had a great impact on our daily lives and how we receive our information. Sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in the latest trends especially when it seems that everyone else is moving in that direction. For example, many companies looking to target a younger generation without hesitation will switch over to digital in hopes of attracting this “tech-savvy” age group. But according to a 2011 study from Nielsen 92% of Millennials surprisingly say of all advertising channels (including digital) direct mail has the most influence on their store choices. The risk you take in dropping one channel of your marketing to go in a completely different direction can wind up being very costly for your business.

Take control over how your direct mail and digital campaigns are executed and you won’t have to drop either. Use the most efficient tools and strategies and you can utilize both to pull your business well ahead of competitors. Neither is perfect in every aspect, which makes them such an efficient combination – ones strengths make up for the others weaknesses.

Direct Mail

The idea of dropping direct mail for digital doesn’t make much sense when you look at the facts. Direct mail still continues to show the highest response rates of all mediums, in fact the DMA’s 2011 Edition of its Statistical Fact Book forecasted direct mail spending to continue to increase 3.6% annually until 2014. It has the advantage of being highly targeted with thousands of unique ways to target a consumer you are able to get your message directly to those who are relevant to your business. It is also has the ability to be an attention grabber, standing out from the clutter and overload of digital media the consumer can be bombarded with every day. Sending your consumers a customized physical piece that is put right into their hands you will find they are more apt to read and actually respond to it. ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey looked more into this and their results revealed that 65% of consumers surveyed had made a purchase as a result of direct mail they received.

Direct mail will show you the results you want when you take the time to do it correctly. The response rates for direct mail don’t just simply come with mailing a generic piece to everyone and forgetting about it. Many may see mass saturation strategies and EDDM campaigns attractive since they are targeting everyone for a low price per piece but, what do their results show? Most of the time those campaigns return responses below 2%. If you want to have success with your direct mail make sure you take the time to go through all of the necessary steps, from targeting to a final analysis this will make the difference between a 1% and a 20% response rate.


Digital too shouldn’t be ruled out, is a great addition to your direct mail campaign for a number of its advantages. In order to get your message across at a faster rate or quickly follow up with a customer digital can do just that. It can be executed at a faster rate and can be provide a more interactive experience for your customer. Most of us can’t go a day without checking our social media and email multiple times and the best part is that with new mobile technology emerging it continues to be even easier for us to have everything right at our fingertips. When executing this you have to catch the consumer’s attention right from the subject line, or else with one simple click your message is sent right to the trash. With digital it typically has a low cost associated with it therefore, when executed properly you will see a high ROI. Email marketing provides another level to reach out to consumers and is a great compliment to your direct mail.

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A Powerful Combination

Once you determine exactly who you will be targeting in your campaign you can be creative in your strategy of integrating the two. There are number of ways to ensure that you will receive the best results possible, the following are some ideas to keep in mind as you plan.

  • Keep brand consistent across both channels so that you are easily identifiable by your consumers.
  • Include an address to a landing page on your direct mailing. Direct mail is powerful in driving your offline customers online. Prompting them to visit your website as your call to action can give them more information about your company as well as the opportunity to gain more information about them by asking them to fill out a contact form.
  • Using Variable Imaging on your direct mail will allow you to customize your mailing pieces to each of your recipients. To integrate digital use this to add personalized URLS (PURLS) that will link each of your recipients online to their own personal landing page.
  • Add QR codes and social media on your direct mail pieces as other ways to connect with your company online.
  • Use email marketing to let the consumer know that they should be expecting a direct mail piece with an offer or more information from you. This makes the consumer more likely to pay attention to your print mail when it comes.
  • Incorporate a highly engaging mobile platform such as “Blippar” to your direct mail that provides an augmented reality experience of your product for your consumers.
  • Create a well-planned schedule of your marketing’s in-home dates. Make sure to time each campaign to work together and not overwhelm or annoy the consumer.
  • Consistently monitor and track your results from both mediums. Knowing what does and does not work is the only way you will know how to move forward with your campaigns successfully.

If you are looking for inspiration take the campaign Nissan carried out a few years ago as an example. Nissan used both direct mail and digital to design a unique campaign. Through their “370Z take the wheel” campaign they used direct mail to send out steering wheels to a targeted group of consumers. When the consumers received the steering wheel they were then instructed to use it online at Nissan’s website. Once on the website they could connect the direct mail piece directly with the website and have experience of what it would be like to sit behind the wheel of the car. The campaign was a success for the company, resulting in high response rates for test drives as well as actual purchases of the vehicle. Like Nissan, many companies are now incorporating augmented reality into their direct mail giving those who engage with it a live view of the world but with computer generated elements, allowing their real-world surroundings to become interactive.

Don’t risk dropping your entire direct mail campaign for digital. Direct mail continues to be a leader in generating the highest response rate. Loosing this vital piece will affect your whole campaign especially if your consumers have been accustom to receiving your information one way. The solution to this is to enhance your campaign by integrating the two. There are many unique ways of doing so and it will continue to reinforce your brand by reaching out to consumers on different levels. If you are able to leverage both effectively you will be far more successful than your competitors, and are sure to see a significant increase your ROI and response rates.

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