We often see talk of whether email marketing or direct mail marketing is better. Which provides the better ROI? Despite the popularity of email marketing, studies show that conversion rates and ROI for direct mail are higher.
A lot of companies choose email over direct mail because of its perceived benefits – it opens your marketing up to a global audience, can be easily shared by recipients, and the results are considered easier to measure.
In truth, however, there is no reason the two marketing channels cannot be combined to generate even greater results. Below are some of the ways that you can use direct mail marketing to improve your marketing and branding campaigns.
1. Drive Traffic To Your Site
Direct mail communication can incorporate links to your website, as well as details of your social media accounts. If you have a memorable and easy-to-type website address, you can simply list your URL. Alternatively, use QR codes, Google search terms, or even hashtags that you are sure will lead to your website and online property.
2. Open Communication
Direct mail is personal and personable. It can be used to open a line of communication with prospective leads. Try to personalise the letters that you send to leads. If you have the correct permissions and have personalised the content of your direct mail, you can follow up with a phone call or piece of direct mail.
Nurturing leads is an ongoing process. It usually requires multiple pieces of communication, and can start with a personal meeting, a phone call, direct mail, or email. Physical email is more likely to be read than an email and has better response rates.
It is one of the most effective means of opening communication with a potential lead. Give them a reason to get in touch with you, and provide contact details including physical and email address, phone number, and anything more.
3. Make Sales
Direct mail can be used as a means of making direct sales. Include targeted offers and provide an incentive to convince the recipient to purchase. Incentives can include money-off vouchers, discounts, or a gift when a purchase is made.
Make the offer time sensitive to further incentivize the recipient to complete a purchase - they won’t want to miss out on a good deal. Incorporate QR codes that direct readers straight to the sales page to help conversion rates.
4. Build An Email List
By aligning your mail and email marketing campaigns, you can reduce cost and improve conversion rates. Make recipients an offer, direct them to a page on your site that includes an email capture form, and use incentives to convince them to visit the page. You should always prioritise the value of email subscription over the free gift or other incentive that you offer.
Ensure that you gather enough relevant details from your potential subscribers when they visit your site, without asking so much that you’ll scare them off. Obviously, you will need a physical address as well as their name.
If you want to distribute targeted offers, you will also need to gather some information about their likes and dislikes – this tends to be easier with clients that have made purchases, but you can ask for some details from list subscribers.
5. Follow Up With Existing Leads
Letters and mailers offer a personal touch to communication. Once you’ve made initial contact with a lead, follow it up with a letter. This not only enables you to strike while the iron is hot, but you can do so in a personable and friendly manner.
If you want to make it even more personal, follow up with a handwritten note or a handwritten postcard. This will add time to your lead nurturing and conversions, but it should also increase your conversion rates because recipients will truly appreciate the effort that has gone into it.
If you meet somebody at an exhibition or seminar, get their name and address from their business card and send them a handwritten note as you get back to the office.
6. Recover Abandoned Baskets
There are many reasons why a visitor to your site might abandon their basket. They might have found a product they prefer, may have had problems when checking out, or they could have simply changed their mind.
Typically, you don’t get the chance to follow up on shopping cart abandonment. However, if a visitor has an account on your site, and they have given permission to contact them, you can use this opportunity to send a letter or other form of direct mail.
Include a customised offer, if possible, to encourage them to complete the purchase. If a person has made it through the process of adding products to a shopping cart and baulked at the last minute, it could be that they were surprised by shipping or other charges. If you can offer free shipping, this might convince some to complete the transaction.
Alternatively, you can provide details of similar items, in case they didn’t find exactly what they were looking for. This direct mail retargeting is a great way to convert at least some abandoned shopping cart users.
7. Retarget Email Non-Responders
Similarly, you can use your direct mail to target email recipients that do not respond to your marketing emails. No matter how good your email subject is, and no matter how enticing the content of the email, you will always get some recipients that do not respond.
In a lot of cases, this is because the recipient has been inundated with email – no matter how good your email is, it will simply be missed.
To contact email non-responders, your list will need to contain both physical and email addresses. Check your email response rate and look for those recipients that haven’t responded. Use postcards and have the postcard delivered a few days after your last email.
8. Communicate The Way Leads Want
People’s email inboxes are full of spam and unwanted email. However, some people still prefer to receive email because it is more convenient and less intrusive. Other leads will prefer direct mail because it is more personal, and because it will avoid the blanket of daily spam emails that they receive.
Yet more recipients will prefer phone calls. One of the key components to ensuring a successful outreach campaign is to meet the needs and requirements of your leads. This includes using the type of communication that they demand.
When gathering lead data, whether it is through exhibition marketing or data capture on your website, ask for a preferred method of communication. This will enable you to communicate with leads the way they want to communicate.
9. Best Practices
Whether you are following up with new leads or sending mailers to a bought list, you need to ensure the quality of your campaign is high.
Recipients expect mailer content to be personalised, and they expect your data to be accurate and reliable. Get names right, ensure that mailers are properly targeted to recipients, and ensure that you keep your list details up to date.
Keeping a list fresh is important. People change email addresses, phone numbers, and contact details regularly, and you should always give list members the opportunity to unsubscribe and stop receiving communication from you.
Use Timely Data And Information
If you fail to refresh your list, you will alienate a lot of your recipients. By sending direct mail to list recipients no longer interested in your products or services, you will reduce conversion rates and your ROI.
It is a legal requirement that you offer subscribers a simple way to unsubscribe from your list. You should also consider sending occasional messages to ask for updated details. It can prove very costly if you send letters and catalogues to the wrong address.
Add Supporting Content
As well as sending out targeted offers, include supporting content. Send brochures and flyers, discount codes and vouchers, and even lightweight catalogues. This supporting content can help convert some of your undecided readers. It can also increase the average customer value.
Incorporate A Powerful Call To Action
Before you start any direct mailing, you need to determine the goals for your campaign, and the action that you want recipients to take. You might want recipients to make a direct purchase. Alternatively, you might be looking to grow your email list, or get people to sign up to attend an event.
Determine what you consider a conversion, and then incorporate powerful Calls to Action in your mailing documents. Incorporate multiple Calls to Action in your pieces. Repetition won’t annoy readers. Recipients need to be walked through the process, and they need to be shown exactly what you want them to do.
Direct mailing is not dead. It can prove a highly effective method of generating sales and converting leads. It can be especially effective when combined with an email marketing campaign. Ensure your list is fresh and data is accurate, incorporate CTAs, and consider effective reasons to send mailers to your list members.
Author: Rick Marsh
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