As the world becomes increasingly more digital, direct mail stands out, both for the novelty factor and because it comes without digital pitfalls like accessibility issues and viruses.
In the era of Twitter and Facebook, postal direct mail may seem a remnant of the past. At the same time, however, it’s clear that the digital marketing ecosystem has its share of problems, some of which can be alleviated by smart use of direct mail. Response rates from email remain in decline. Even content marketing– a sound strategy for many– remains an uphill battle in an environment where content exceeds readers.
Even as its influence declines (standard mail volumes are declining at the rate of about 1% per year), direct mail can still work. Here are seven reasons why you should invest some budget in a tech-enabled direct mail campaign:
1. Postal Mail Gives You a True Opt-in
Using direct mail to entice recipients to visit a custom URL (PURL) or activate an app through NFC or QR code is an excellent way to assemble lists of truly engaged customers. Integration of postal mail campaigns with marketing automation suites and analytics packages is easier than ever.
2. The Physical Mailbox is Becoming Less Crowded
As direct mail volume declines, creative mail marketers have greater opportunity to make some noise. This situation is the obverse of the digital mailbox, which grows more crowded each year. As large incumbents move budgets away from direct mail, challengers will have more of a chance to stand out.
3. Pricing Advantages
In May 2015, the U.S. Postal Service Commission announced that it was authorizing the USPS to raise Standard Mail prices by just under 2%; but it also announced a 2% discounts for users of its “Mail Drives Mobile Engagement” program. The Postal Service will offer a 2% discount on mail pieces that include mobile print technology and direct recipients to a mobile shopping experience.
4. Millennials and Digital Natives Like Mail
Maybe it’s just the novelty or retro factors, but young people rely on newspapers, fliers, catalogs, and printed matter for purchase-related information. A well-designed mailer can cut through the digital noise. The UK’s Royal Mail found evidence that physical mailers actually engage a different part of the brain.
The USPS’ new “Every Door Direct Mail” program provides an affordable way to saturate specific localities. EDDM campaigns– when combined with NFC, QR, and PURLs– provide an ideal way to identify locally engaged prospects and customers, drive them online, and track them across channels.
6. The Envelope
Email subject lines in a cluttered inbox and display ads lost on a cluttered page aren’t that interesting compared to an envelope. Admit it: you take the time before even deciding to open an envelope to determine who it is from and guess what’s inside.
When you mail to a postal list where you also have their digital touchpoints (email, Twitter, etc.), you can increase the effectiveness of communication by referencing the postal mail they received. An orchestrated strategy beats an ad-hock strategy.
Marketers with developed digital infrastructures can easily add a direct mail component to their mix. The fact that direct postal mail is low-tech enables you to reach real people at real addresses and track back real responses to deliver real results. So if you’re not experimenting with postal direct mail, you may be missing out the chance to connect with customers in a powerful, authentic way.