- Direct mail is still an impactful way to reach local customers and inform them about your brand.
- With direct mail, you're providing a tangible object that is more likely to be read than a mass email ad.
- Tie in direct mail with digital campaigns by providing customers with unique promo and QR codes.
For years, marketers have relied heavily on Facebook and Google to do the heavy lifting in their digital sales funnels. In fact, these two platforms account for an estimated 73% of all digital advertising.
While these platforms are undeniably effective, their near-total market domination makes many marketers nervous. What many marketers don't realize is that certain analog marketing methods, like printing and direct mail, function effectively when combined with digital marketing campaigns.
What are the benefits of direct mail?
Direct mail is often viewed as an expensive and inaccurate method most people ignore. In reality, direct mail can serve as a highly targeted and cost-effective lead-generation source that can be easily integrated with a broader digital marketing campaign. When used correctly, printing can even take a large portion of the sales funnel load away from platforms like Facebook and Google and reduce marketers' reliance on these digital behemoths.
Direct mail is a physical object and not as easy to dispose of as emails. With an email, a simple click throws out your ad permanently. With direct mail, you are providing the person with something tangible that is more likely to elicit a response. Direct mail has more targeting opportunities too, since you can choose the exact location of your ad recipients. Industries like real estate depend a lot on direct mail campaigns to reach their target audiences.
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Where does printing fit in a digital sales funnel?
A traditional digital sales funnel uses targeted advertising – usually from Facebook or Google – to drive traffic to a campaign landing page. There, users would either take an action or be slated to receive some kind of remarketing message.
Facebook and Google ads are effective because the two companies possess vast amounts of demographic data about their platform users. Many direct mail list providers have equally impressive demographic data, allowing marketers to send highly targeted messages to potential new customers.
In this new hybrid funnel, marketers use targeted printed marketing materials alongside Facebook and Google ads as lead generators, which direct consumers to a campaign landing page. In the same way marketers use Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) tags to measure digital campaign traffic, marketers can use personalized URLs, called PURLs, to measure response to a direct mail campaign. PURLs give marketers the ability to measure response and conversion rates for a direct mail campaign and can also be used to create custom audiences for remarketing purposes.
These new measurement techniques reveal just how effective direct mailing can be. Marketers who use printing as a component of their digital campaigns find their cost per acquisition is much lower when compared to channels like Facebook or Google. In fact, some marketers have seen such impressive results from their direct mail campaigns that they've cut their digital marketing budgets in half.
Ways of integrating direct mail with digital campaigns
Integrating direct mail and digital campaigns can have a profound effect on your marketing efforts. These are some ways to integrate the two types of ads:
- Follow up with an email to your direct mail recipients a week or two after your mailing was sent out.
- Add a QR code to your direct mail ad. When the recipient scans the code with a smartphone, take them to a dedicated video about your product or service.
- Provide a digital coupon on your direct mailer. Give direct mail recipients a unique promo code to redeem an online offer.
5 direct mail best practices
To get the most out of the printed components of your digital marketing campaign, it's important to follow a few best practices.
1. Choose the right list provider.
Effective marketing is about delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. To do this, marketers need the best information possible. Once you've determined your campaign's target audience, choose the mailing list provider that can deliver your message to the people you want to reach.
2. Commit to more than one mailing.
A one-and-done approach just doesn't work in direct mail. Data shows that response rates go up with the second or third mailer. This doesn't mean that you have to spend more money. What it does mean is that you'll likely get a better response by mailing 500 people three times than you would by mailing 1,500 people once.
3. Research mailing costs before starting design.
With mail, a small difference in size and construction can have a huge impact on postage costs. For example, one-eighth of an inch could be the difference between postage for bulk standard letter rate or bulk flat-rate postage, which would increase your postage costs by as much as 40 cents apiece. This can add up to a lot of money. Good printing companies have resources available to walk you through your options and explain their impact on your mailing budget.
4. Include an exclusive offer and a CTA.
Your campaign offer and calls to action (CTAs) should be compelling for your potential customers and consistent across all your marketing channels.
5. Use PURLs.
Personalized URLs are the key to measuring and retargeting your direct mail recipients. So invest in PURL tracking software and use the results to inform future marketing campaigns.
Once you've set up your direct mail campaign using these best practices, you'll be ready to unleash the power of printing as a vital component of your digital sales funnel.