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We live in an increasingly digital age. Printed books, magazines, and newspapers are on the decline. In marketing, print mail has dwindled in favor of email, and print ads have given way to Google Ads. But don’t give up on print just yet! Print—and direct mail in particular—has been making a comeback as more and more companies rediscover its power. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the advantages print media still holds and look at ways to combine print with digital to create more effective marketing programs.
Why Leverage Direct Mail in Your Digital Marketing Campaigns
Print Stands Out
For roughly every 36 emails, people receive just one piece of physical mail. And so, a print piece stands out as something special. It has a longer shelf-life, too. While the average lifespan of an email is a mere 17 seconds, a direct mail piece averages 17 days. A particularly striking direct mail piece may even end up on somebody’s wall or fridge for much longer.
People Enjoy Receiving Mail
With email so ubiquitous, people look forward to getting print mail. According to the US Postal Service, 77% sort through their mail immediately after receiving it. Instead of tuning it out like they often do with email, people like to engage with print. Which may be one reason why 73% of Americans prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail. Another reason? People can interact with print when they want to—instead of it being an interruption like email often is. This also means they tend to be less distracted when reading print.
Print Can Reach Where Digital Can’t
The goal of any marketing campaign is to deliver your message to as many people as possible. However, with the growing sophistication of ad-blocking software, email spam filters, and unsubscribe buttons, there’s a good chance your digital message may never reach your prospect’s inbox. So, to make sure your message gets through, print is a must. On top of that, certain audiences—like older and lower-income ones—may be harder to reach through digital channels, making print direct mail more effective.
Print Delivers High Response Rates
When it comes to getting results, print deserves some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. According to the Data & Marketing Association, up to 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to only 20-30% of emails. In addition to higher open rates, print is also more memorable. According to Marketing Profs, 75% recall a brand after receiving a print piece, compared to only 44% with email. And when it comes to response, print direct mail generates a 37% higher rate than email.
Of course, no single channel can do all the heavy lifting by itself. If you really want your marketing to work as hard as possible, multi-channel is the way to go. The following are some ways you can integrate print direct mail into your digital mix to significantly enhance your overall marketing results.
Integrating Direct Mail Into Your Digital Marketing Campaigns
Use Direct Mail to Warm Up Your Prospects
We’ve seen that print makes a strong impression. Consumers like receiving it and are more likely to open it. They also retain more information after reading it. Which makes print the ideal medium for making a big initial splash. Depending on the client, strategy, and budget, that initial print piece can be anything from a postcard to a letter package, to a flashy dimensional mailer.
After you capture your audience’s attention through direct mail, use email follow-ups to reinforce your message. Using print first is like having a warm lead versus a cold call. It will improve your digital results because your audience will already feel like they know you. They’ll also be more receptive to your follow-up emails and will pay more attention to them.
Use Direct Mail to Gather Email Addresses
When it comes to collecting consumer information, physical addresses can be easier to obtain than email addresses. By starting with print, you can reach people at their home or office, and then direct them to a targeted landing page or website where you offer something in exchange for their email address. Once you’ve secured their email, you can follow up with digital tactics, or a mix of print and digital. Besides capturing email addresses, an effective print piece is a great way to drive customers to your website, social media, online newsletter sign-up, etc.
Use Direct Mail to Re-Engage Customers
Another way to use print is to retarget consumers who have stopped engaging with your brand. Instead of sending a disinterested user another email that they’ll likely ignore, send a direct mail piece that will grab their attention. Even better, make it a customized direct mail piece that builds on a past action they’ve taken or interest they’ve shown.
Leverage the Unique Strengths of Each Medium
Last but not least, consider the ways direct mail can complement your digital efforts. Instead of repeating the same message across every channel, think of your overall marketing message as a story—and use each touchpoint to communicate a single chapter. The result? Your marketing will be less repetitive and more effective. Of course, it’s important to reinforce the overall theme or message throughout your entire campaign. Just don’t repeat the same thing in the same way. To maximize the impact, keep each piece feeling fresh by capitalizing on the unique advantages of each medium.
Ready to give print direct mail a key role in your next digital campaign? Follow the above strategies. They just might take your success rates to a new level.