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October 11, 2016

Direct Mail + Digital Marketing = Better Together



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. Each can enhance the other’s strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. That 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.


Direct Mail Dodges Digital Shortcomings

Digital has opened up all new avenues for reaching potential customers, but it’s also easier than ever to evade marketing messages. Ad blocking software, junk email folders and 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.


"The more omnipresent
digital messaging becomes,
the more it loses its efficacy."


Direct mail, however, sidesteps many of these issues. Direct mail pieces garner many more “impressions” than digital missives. Think about how easy it is to delete an email without opening it.


Now think about how long a piece of mail often sits on your kitchen counter before you get around to throwing it away. It could be sitting there for days, right? And each time you walk by, your eye glances over the contents—that’s an impression.


Direct and Digital Combine Forces

The response rate for direct mail is, on average, 10-30 times higher than digital initiatives. Companies such as PebblePost are making that difference even more dramatic by integrating the strengths of digital and direct mail in what they call “Programmatic Direct Mail.” Their dynamic platform uses retargeting technology to track users’ real-time online activity and use it to generate personalized direct mail pieces that are sent to the consumer’s home within a day of digital browsing.


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.


"...by integrating the powers of digital and direct mail,
programmatic direct mail achieves...a
40% conversion rate..."


Even without partnering with a programmatic platform, 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.


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.

In short, direct mail + digital = better together.


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