With the evolution of technology, and the wide world of direct marketing, there have been many trends that have emerged in recent years. Now, it is more important than ever, to engage directly with consumers. In the past, direct mail was absolutely the most expensive form of marketing communication. Now, with personalized direct mail and tailored messaging, it is more affordable and effective than ever before.
The DMA is also on board with that line of thought, seeing direct mail as an integral part of a comprehensive omni-channel marketing plan.
“Where online is generally low-cost, low-impact, print is higher-cost, higher impact,” the DMA notes in its Statistical Fact Book. “Where online marketing is passive, direct mail is active. Direct mailings are proactive and tactile – demanding that the recipient do something with it. The better response rates make the return on the investment worthwhile for both retention and acquisition.”
Many businesses are using responsive direct mail to communicate with customers and prospects. These campaigns include online engagement as well—helping businesses to nurture leads and convert customers into long-term relationships.
Here are several ways direct mail still remains relevant to your marketing strategy:
First introduced in the early 2,000’s, omnichannel (or cross channel /cross platform) marketing strategies began with the idea of prioritizing the way companies interacted with their customers, communicating synthesized branding to whichever platform their customers preferred to receive that branding. It’s now a matter of course to include an omnichannel tactics to communicate with customers in order to create a more effective marketing strategy and nurture leads.
It is important for direct marketers to consider their customer’s lifestyles and how they can tailor their communication methods to fit into their daily routines.
This goes for direct mail, too. For example: If a customer has subscribed to your email database, sending them discounts or unique offers via text message instead will drive them to your website to actually make purchases. If they’re happy with your product, your new customers will leave a review or refer their friends and associates to your site and the cycle continues.
Digital Fatigue is Real
One of the latest discoveries to emerge from depths of the pandemic’s necessary remote working model is digital fatigue: a state of mental exhaustion and disengagement that occurs when people are required to use multiple digital platforms, at work or at home. It has been proven that humans require downtime from their screen time; in fact, a study by the University of California proved “that the average attention span of a human being dropped from 12 minutes to 8.25 minutes between 2000 and 2015.” In 2021, the focus bottomed out to just 8 seconds for many of us.
However, this does not mean that it is necessary for businesses to take a break from digital; it means that companies should focus more on engaging customers on real-life platforms, including tangible direct mail, to initiate contact and develop relationships with them.
Retargeting is an extremely powerful form of digital marketing, whereby consumers visit a website, but for whatever reason do not convert into buyers. Once a prospect leaves your website, they are “followed” online by ads for whichever products or services your website promoted. Now, advertisers can send direct mail to prospects who didn’t buy online and include a personalized offer to re-engage and close a sale, which leads us to…
While this is certainly not a recent technology, it is still one of the best ways to engage your target audience. Businesses can now send targeted messages to mailing lists with expanded address codes. This means that each piece sent will look like it has been specifically created for a single person—which gives a much higher perceived value than mass-produced materials. Personalized direct mail allows businesses to define their own rules and standards for each campaign, which allows them to measure actual results quickly and easily.
A recent study shows that consumers both appreciate and expect personalization, with 86% of consumers admitting personalization has some impact on what they purchase. According to the study, 67% of consumers prefer personalized offers, and 31% want their shopping experience to be more personalized than it already is. Replacing “current resident” with your prospect’s name, incorporating variable custom images rather than stock photos, or introducing personalized offers are just a few ways you can further personalize your 2022 direct mail campaigns.
Direct mail to digital activations are gaining popularity. The USPS 2022 Promotions Calendar is a very handy tool and incentivizes marketers with discounts up to 3% if they incorporate interactive technology. This most certainly has the opportunity to increase response percentages of a physical mail piece. With mobile-enabled features in direct mail designs, like a QR Code or AR functionality, mail recipients can scan the mail piece with a mobile phone or use a voice assistant to trigger an interactive, internet-driven experience that is impossible with an ordinary piece of mail.
Whichever way you chose to incorporate direct mail, don’t forget to ensure it’s designed for optimum direct response with a clear purpose, an offer, and an easy reply mechanism so you can nurture leads and convert to sales.
This article was written by Lisa Silverman of Brand Device
About Lisa Silverman:
Silverman is principal of Brand-Device, LLC. As a senior account director, branding and content strategist for over 30 years, Silverman has stewarded regional and global brands with an unparalleled skill set and a proven record of success in team leadership, driving growth strategy, executing marketing communication plans and creating billions of dollars in ROI for healthcare and financial clients.
About Brand Device, LLC:
Brand Device merges intelligent, strategic branding solutions with powerful, imaginative, and interactive creative driven by a team of leading healthcare marketing veterans with a rich history in promoting medical devices, hospital products, nutrition, health institutions, pharmaceuticals, direct-to-patient and physician practices.