Outbound and inbound marketing are often treated as an either/or proposition.
In reality, both outbound tactics—like direct mail—and your inbound digital initiatives achieve greater results when their forces are combined.
How? As with all marketing, it comes down to hitting the right target with the right message at the right time. However, the goal of your direct mail in this scenario is not to push prospects to act immediately. Rather, it’s to pull them deeper into your inbound channels—where you can more precisely track their preferences, develop a relationship and provide the relevant content necessary to nurture them toward conversion. That is, after all, what inbound marketing is all about.
Below are just five ways direct mail can support your inbound marketing—so you can get the most out of both strategies and drive more prospects through your sales funnel.
1. Attract New Leads
Direct mail has a higher level of trust with consumers than online marketing—so take advantage of that. When reaching out to a cold prospect, send them a postcard introducing your company and offering some kind of relevant free download or discount they can claim by visiting a targeted landing page on your website.
Pro tip: Keep it simple. One of the most common mistakes people make with direct mail is trying to accomplish too much in one mailer or including multiple CTAs. Even something as seemingly innocuous as “Visit our Facebook page!” can distract from the action you really want them to take.
Once you’ve used direct mail to secure an email address, you can proceed to the next step of the sales cycle with an email follow-up.
2. Refine Your Targeting
You may choose not to use direct mail in every inbound campaign. That’s okay. Like any other tactic, it has its time and place. However, it is a particularly effective tactic to use when you want to target audiences based on geolocation or other specific demographics such as household income, age, or marital status.
Direct mail campaigns can achieve a greater level of demographic specificity than it’s possible to attain online, where anyone can discover your content whether they fit your target persona or not.
Target prospects offline with rented lists that match your buyer persona, then move them online by capturing their email address and nurturing them with great content and a strong inbound strategy.
3. Drive Traffic to Your Content
The great thing about the Internet is that it holds a never-ending stream of information and ideas. The terrible thing about the Internet is that it holds a never-ending stream of information and ideas. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of resources out there, whether your problem is what brand of jeans to buy or the best way to plan for retirement. You know the answer is out there, but you don’t know where to find it or who to trust.
Sometimes the most effective way to convince prospects that you’re the best solution is to make yourself the simplest solution. In a mailer, introduce your company and services as the resource they need, and direct them where they can find more information (spoiler: it’s your website).
4. Reinforce Your Digital Marketing
Direct mail is also an effective way to supplement an ongoing inbound strategy. Are you promoting an upcoming event or time-sensitive offer on your website and through your email list? Support your efforts with one or two postcards that direct people to your registration page.
You might find that you reel people in based on geolocation and other targeting that might not have come across your promotion in the digital space. Direct mail allows you to cover your bases and add one more entry point for new prospects to find their way into your funnel.
5. Track Campaign Performance
Like digital campaigns, direct mail is highly measurable. By using unique tracking phone numbers, URLs, and/or coupon codes, you can trace every lead back to its source and determine how much of a lift direct mail is really adding to your overall inbound strategy.
As you can see, direct mail can be an effective way to get the momentum moving on your inbound strategy. Use direct mail to target prospects offline, lead them online, and then deposit them into the tide of your inbound flow—and let your content marketing strategy do the rest.
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Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published in April 2017 and has been updated with additional information.