It’s no secret that marketing has been transformed by the advent of digital communication. As devices and data delivery have advanced, so have the expectations of consumers.
So with marketers scrambling to provide customers with the latest, greatest consumer experience—why does a traditional offline marketing vehicle like direct mail still outperform most digital tactics? As we noted in a recent post, much of direct mail’s continued success may come down to trust.
Consumers afford direct mail a higher level of authority because they trust what they can touch, feel and understand. And it holds fewer privacy and security risks than responding to emails, pop up ads or social media marketing.
Does that mean you ignore the trend toward more robust and engaging digital marketing? Of course not. It just means that you should strongly consider using direct mail to enhance your digital efforts.
1. Direct Mail + Digital= A Powerful One-Two Punch
Direct mail and digital are often treated as an either/or proposition. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Both direct mail and digital initiatives achieve greater results when their forces are combined. Digital tools give accountability and acuity to direct mail campaigns, while direct mail can give real world tangibility to digital efforts. The fact that each can enhance the other’s strengths and compensate for their weaknesses is the beauty of integrated marketing.
Adding digital functionality into a direct mail campaign only makes this tried-and-true tactic all the more powerful, and vice versa. Strategic interactions between the two can create even more opportunity for reaching consumers.
2. Direct Mail Dodges Digital Shortcomings
Digital has opened up new avenues for reaching potential customers, but it’s also easier than ever to evade marketing messages. Ad blocking software, junk email filters and “unsubscribe” buttons are all common obstacles that can interfere with your message’s path to its mark.
Even if you make it into a consumer’s inbox or onto their browsing window, you still have to overcome low open rates and so-called “banner blindness.” The very thing that gives digital its strength – efficiency – is also its weakness.
While digital messages can be fleeting, direct mail is the opposite. Its physical, tangible qualities immediately garner notice and earn you more “impressions” per send. Think about how long a piece of mail often sits on the kitchen counter or is saved on the front of your fridge. And each time you walk by, your eye glances over the contents—that’s an impression.
3. Integrated Marketing Boosts Response
The response rate for direct mail is, on average, 10-30 times higher than digital initiatives. PebblePost reports that by integrating the powers of digital and direct mail, programmatic direct mail achieves a 2% response rate, a 40% conversion rate, and an 8% overall impression-to-conversion. That’s eighty times as effective as digital alone, with 15 times return on investment.
4. Multiple Touches Bolster Retention
You can bolster digital efforts by using direct mail to retarget consumers who have ceased engaging with your digital touchpoints. Rather than sending an un-engaged user yet another email that they’ll ignore, send them a customized direct mail piece based on their digital history with your company. Direct mail is more actionable than digital, so it can be an effective way to usher renegade customers back into your inbound flow.
5. Direct Mail is Less Intrusive
Despite the fact that it is literally entering your home, most consumers find direct mail less intrusive than digital ads. It’s a traditional part of your “coming home” routine at the end of the day, whereas digital ads often feel like a disruption to our online experience—an ad to endure before your YouTube video will play, a pop-up you have to click out of before you can read an article.
When you combine the tangible emotional power of direct mail with the real-time tracking power of digital, you get the best of both worlds: an actionable, targeted message delivered to your audience right when they are primed to convert.
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