How to Integrate Direct Mail Marketing in the Digital Era

Business.com / Marketing Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Traditional mail is old and archaic, but that doesn't mean you can't implement fresh technology for some effective direct mail marketing.

Business mailing lists still rank among the most customizable and therefore most effective methods for messaging an audience of potential customers. Direct mail may not necessarily be the cheapest, but cheap marketing doesn’t always make for a great customer engagement.

According to a study conducted by Hubspot, direct mail yields an ROI of $27 for every dollar spent. That’s pretty good by any account, although it’s not as good as the $2,600 ROI of email marketing, which that same study claimed. Direct mail is however, still effective for a couple of reasons.

One, it is possible to use the information and data included in business mailing lists to establish the benchmarks for new campaigns. Second, it’s great for retailers looking to bridge the gap between their storefront and their website.

According to data gathered by the U.S. Postal Service, 60 percent of direct mail recipients are influenced to visit promoted websites. They tend to spend 28 percent more on average, and increase online revenues by 163 percent of websites not supported by direct mail campaigns.

Related Article: The Anatomy of a Successful Direct Mail Campaign

The takeaway from this is to initiate marketing strategies that use direct mail to both circulate brand awareness while directly referencing websites. A couple of ways to accomplish this is by adding QR codes with embedded tracking codes, or include exclusive coupon codes in the mailer. Then you can use analytics to track the traffic coming in through those sources and if necessary, adjust marketing initiatives based on all that lookback data.

Example

This past Christmas season, the Utah-based digital marketing agency 97th Floor combined print media with digital strategy to turn their end-of-year customer appreciation initiatives into a double-duty, brand awareness/charitable service campaign. The campaign, which was launched under the banner 20helps, took the form of a Christmas card.

The front of the card had a poem, written and designed by creative staff that expressed some of the core company values in a very timely, stylish and classy way. Inside the card, recipients found a $20 bill. And underneath the bill was a QR Code that when scanned lead to a high quality video production on YouTube in which 97th Floor staffers, broadcasting from inside their office, expressed gratitude for their customers.

The video went on to instruct recipients to use the cash included in the card to do one act of charitable service, and then tweet a brief account of the act using the hashtag #20helps.

Although 97th Floor is a reputable agency, outside digital marketing circles, it’s a pretty faceless entity since their job mainly focuses on presenting the face of other companies while remaining in the background. Check out their website and you can see a pretty solid online presence. And now that online presence has a humane face and voice to go with it. Presumably, they were tracking both the QR Code and the hashtag.

Related: Hitting the Bullseye with Direct Mail: A Checklist for SMBs

Pro Tip: How to track QR Codes with Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides tools to create unique URLs with urchin tracking modules (or UTM) with parameters appended to the URL so you can track all traffic generated by a print campaign.

To convert the custom URL to a QR code, first run it through a URL shortener. This will reduce the amount of information embedded in the QR Code, which will yield an easier code to scan.

Lastly, run the shortened URL through your favorite QR Code Generator. And there you have it; digital marketing in print format.

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