April 28, 2020

Direct Mail in the Digital Age

How Direct Mail Benefits Your Marketing Campaigns

It’s official – the world has gone digital. So much so that businesses have taken their advertisements and placed them into the palm of our hands. Now, every time we scroll through social media, browse the web, or check our emails, we encounter some type of ad.

Digital advertising has an impact on every aspect of our lives, every day. With that being said, how can your brand stand out from the rest?

While digital may be a great tool for gaining brand awareness and tracking engagement, direct mail (DM) remains one of the more critical tools for driving transactions, including traffic (both in store and online) and purchasing. Direct mail advertisements can be anything from postcards and informative letters to offers, posters, and so much more. Although maintaining a digital presence is important, it shouldn’t be the sole place you reach customers. The combination of direct mail and digital campaigns can have significant impact on your marketing strategies. Here are a few other reasons companies should use DM and how it could further benefit their marketing strategies.

Direct Mail Allows Businesses to Reach the RIGHT Customers

Thanks to national databases, advertisers are able to target their campaigns to a granular segment, or a very specific audience. These segments can include anything or anyone a business is looking to target, including new homeowners, parents, regular dine-out customers, people who shop a particular product regularly, certain age demographics, outdoor enthusiasts, and fitness aficionados.

Example: A grocery store wants to target all households that have children between the ages five and ten years old, within a five-minute drive time to their store. By utilizing these databases, they are able to compile a specific data pool that has been cleansed and cross-checked on multiple levels. The grocery retailer is then able to send a tailored message to families with children in that specific age group, and share offers on relevant products (ie. kids lunch items, kid-friendly snacks, family size meals, etc.).

In addition to finding the right audience, businesses are also able to target consumers at the right time, using data specific to household birthdays, seasonal trends, national holidays, and more.

Example: During back-to-school season for college students, businesses can directly target this consumer segment with computers, furniture, and clothing store offers before the new school year starts.

With technology being a significant source of information, one would think that digital ads might be the most cost-effective, but true campaign success boils down to are these two questions:

  • How many impressions are you trying to achieve?
  • How many transactions and purchases did you get out of those impressions?

You shouldn’t just look at the number of clicks, but ROI as a whole. Keep in mind that Americans consume between 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day, according to Forbes Magazine. This makes the odds of a digital ad catching the attention of the right customer much lower. Also, not all consumers use social media; how can they be reached if they’re not digitally available?

Direct Mail Creates a Lasting Impression

While both DM and digital campaigns allow businesses to get personal with creative imagery and tailored offers, direct mail has been proven to stick with consumers longer than a digital ad. A neuromarketing study done by USPS stated that 70% of consumers are more likely to remember a direct mail campaign over digital advertisements, and 90% of direct mail pieces caught the attention of the consumer right away.

The reason for this is that direct mail is much more of a sensory experience. Consumers physically see, touch, and hold the piece that is personalized to them, which resonates more than generic messages. DM also allows for more creative flexibility in branding, messaging, offers, eye-catching artwork, and formatting, including envelopes, self-mailers, paper size, paper type, and more. Personalized direct mail pieces are able to target specific households and/or businesses, broadening your transactional probability, while digital ads only touch one member of each household or business at a time, and only provide a visual experience.

Plus, DM can also be interactive, allowing for tracking and analyzing the success of a campaign. When a direct mail piece incorporates an offer that encourages the customer to visit a business’s physical location or use a code online, they are more likely to redeem the offer. The number of redemptions allows you to gauge the success of the message, creative, or delivery rate.

Direct Mail Drives Transactions

Some consumer groups have adapted to viewing ads online via email or social media, but virtually all Americans still check their physical mailbox every day. In another USPS study, 41% of Americans get excited to receive mail. As a result, 42.2% of people look through each mail piece as soon as they receive it, and each piece could stay in the customer’s house for up to 17 days. Since mail is still a part of daily life, people are more likely to notice and remember a direct mail piece over a digital ad they have missed when quickly scrolling passed.

Because customers have to take physical action to redeem an offer, DM becomes more transactional than digital. Digital advertising does bring brand awareness and engages customers with click-throughs and tracking, but direct mail is proven to bring in more traffic and drive more purchases. According to USPS, 24% of Americans purchase more items and 13% spend more money than those who don’t receive a direct mail piece.

With technology playing its role in everyday life, some brands are turning to strictly digital marketing. However, direct mail is still thriving, increasing traffic, sales, and customer retention. DM pieces capture attention, building brand awareness by driving more transactions. Utilizing direct mail in a hypertargeted geographical location with a highly segmented, personalized, and targeted database, is what delivers significant results and increases ROI. And, the combination of digital with DM makes the campaign that much more successful and impactful.

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