When many of us think about marketing these days, it’s all about digital marketing. How heavily should we be invested in paid search vs. display vs. social? How many email campaigns will our customers bear before opting out? Does our website need a content overhaul to better drive organic search? What is the return on marketing investment (ROMI) for each channel, and what is the optimal mix of investment in each channel?
These are all good and necessary questions, but sometimes lost or forgotten in these direct marketing discussions is a channel that has been there all along, and is doing quite well for the marketers that take advantage of it: direct mail. The United States Postal Service is not going anywhere, and is continuing to deliver the mail as usual.
Direct mail’s 80% open rate is unmatched elsewhere. Robust and sophisticated personalization drive enhanced prospect and customer engagement. Its tactile and tangible presence is physical, rather than virtual, which increases perceived value. Studies have shown print has a 75% higher recall rate than digital.
Integrating with digital means better results
Although we are singing the praises of direct mail, for even better results it must be employed as part of an integrated, omnichannel strategy. This doesn’t mean simply running direct mail, search, social, display and email campaigns each in their own siloed swim lane. What is needed is true integration, with the same individual or household seeing the same messaging and creative from multiple sources, often at the same time or in planned sequences. This repeats and reinforces the message, which drives enhanced awareness, response and conversion.
What real integration looks like
One approach is called digital overlay. It takes a targeted, predictive, model-selected offline prospect and customer file and matches it to the digital universe via online cookies, social media ID, email and other data points. You can then serve social media and display ads with the same message and creative to the same people at the same time they are receiving the direct mail package. This increase in touch frequency across channels drives increased response and conversion. A recent digital overlay campaign utilizing social and display for a credit card client drove a more than 170% lift in response over direct mail alone.
Another successful tactic is pixel retargeting. This operates on the principle that if a prospect or customer comes to your website, they’ve already expressed a higher level of interest in your product or service. By leveraging captured IP addresses and cookies, many site visitors can be identified for triggered direct mail, email, display and social targeting. Now, instead of only targeting via a small display or social ad, using direct mail provides the space to really make the case for your product or service. A campaign we ran with a small business b-to-b insurance marketer realized an 80% lift over their business-as-usual direct mail campaign.
Mobile geotargeting is another tactic to test. This delivers marketing content, such as social or display ads that originate with a targeted postal data file. The postal file is matched via latitude and longitude to the exact location of the phone. This allows precise targeting to a business or home address. A recent campaign of ours generated a 60% higher click-through rate than traditional digital display awareness tactics at a much lower cost per click.
A high-performing marketing solution
With so many more people working from home these days, and without the time spent on a daily commute and as many social outings, more people are spending more time with their mail. Unlike a digital display or social media ad, there are few distractions when reading direct mail. A letter provides the space to tell your story and make your case via targeted data and well-constructed creative. You can anticipate barriers to response, make a promise and back it up with facts. You remove risk, drive urgency and present a call-to-action. Integrating the value of direct mail with the immediacy of digital delivers a high-performing marketing solution.