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3 ways to incorporate direct mail into your digital marketing strategy

The synergy between digital marketing and direct mail

The internet overwhelms consumers with information, so your digital strategy has to work harder than ever to get results. Tactile marketing such as direct mail can relay your message without all the online noise, taking your digital strategy to the next level.

Combining tactile and digital marketing tactics is a proven method for delivering a strong return on investment (ROI). Here are three ways to do that.

No 1: Retarget website visitors with triggered direct mail.

One of the most effective marriages of direct mail and digital is retargeted direct mail in which personalized direct mail is triggered based on customers’ real-time online behavior. Also known as programmatic direct mail, it targets the 98% of website visitors who leave a site prior to conversion.

The direct mail trigger program is designed to get your message in the hands of prospects quickly — usually within a matter of days. And it works far better than traditional digital retargeting.

The Data & Marketing Association reports that direct mail retargeting has a response rate of nearly 25%. Traditional digital retargeting, by comparison, has an ad click rate of just .06%. That’s a staggering 41,566% increase in response rate.

Retargeting website visitors with direct mail combines the strengths of digital marketing with the advantages of tactile, resulting in higher conversion rates and a stronger return on marketing investment.

How does direct mail retargeting work?

When a visitor lands on your website — and accepts the ”allow access to your location” option — the visitor’s IP address is matched to a home location. The exact location can be found roughly 40% of the time, so don’t expect to mail something to every prospect who comes to your site.

Using digital print-on-demand, a direct mail piece is initiated based on the visitor’s interaction with your website content. The mailer will arrive at the prospect’s home within a matter of days. The mailer can drive consumers back to the website, generate a phone call, or encourage them to visit brick-and-mortar locations.

No. 2: Hyper-target consumers with household/IP address matching.

IP targeting matches IP addresses to individual household and business locations, enabling you to target direct mail recipients with digital ads on every website they visit. Using this tactic, you can match your direct mail data file to a corresponding IP address at a 95% or higher confidence level.

Hyper-targeted digital ads will only be seen by households on your mailing list. And because they’re not cookie-based, your ads won’t be blocked or deleted by filters.

With HH/IP address matching, your direct mail benefits from a strong digital presence, increasing response rates for both tactics. This is omnichannel marketing at its best.

IP targeting your direct mail prospects is a no-brainer:

  • It generates pre-mail awareness. A few weeks prior to the direct mail drop, target your prospects with digital display ads. Your message will be featured every time they go online. This generates awareness and consideration, softening the audience for your direct mail message. Your direct mail can then come in and do what it does best: close the deal.
  • It improves your overall ROI. Combining direct mail with IP targeting results in higher response rates, better click-through rates, and increased basket sizes.
  • It pays for itself. One of the hidden benefits of combining IP targeting with direct mail is its ability to make A/B testing affordable. Weeks before your direct mail drops, you can test your message, images, and offers online. By fine-tuning your message prior to sending direct mail, you maximize response rates and dramatically improve your ROI. In fact, the money you save by conducting digital testing can more than cover the cost of IP targeting.

One of the hidden benefits of combining IP targeting with direct mail is its ability to make A/B testing affordable. Weeks before your direct mail drops, you can test your message, images, and offers online. By fine-tuning your message prior to sending direct mail, you maximize response rates and dramatically improve your ROI. In fact, the money you save by conducting digital testing can more than cover the cost of IP targeting.

No. 3: Revitalize your email program with direct mail.

In recent years, marketers have seen a steep decline in the effectiveness of email. At the same time, direct mail response rates are higher than ever — nearly 40% higher than email, according to the AMA/DMA Response Rate Report.

Studies show that customers spend 25% more when businesses use a combination of email and direct mail. In other words, email can improve direct mail results. And vice versa.

Turn your email drip campaign into a multichannel strategy.

Print-on-demand direct mail with variable message and design can increase the performance of your nurture campaigns — the automated, scheduled emails that go out to prospects and customers. Typically, open rates begin to fall off in the latter stages of a drip campaign.

Try replacing one or more emails with triggered direct mail. Experiencing your message in a tactile format can facilitate decision-making. That five- to 10-day email break while direct mail is delivered can revitalize email once it resumes, leading to increased open rates.

Use email to announce your direct mail.

Email can significantly increase response and conversion rates for direct mail. Delivered shortly before the direct mail in-home date — keeping in mind that in-home dates are controlled by the USPS and may take longer than expected — the email is designed to “tease” the direct mail.

Teaser emails let consumers know that a special offer is coming in the mail soon. Use teasers to set expectations, reinforce the value of the offer, and the need to act quickly once it’s received. If appropriate, show an image of the mailer in the email.

Additionally, emails can be used as follow-up, giving prospects a last chance to take advantage of your direct mail offer.

Use direct mail to build your email list.

Everyone knows the difficulties of building an effective list of prospect email addresses. Purchasing a list is fraught with dangers. Most email marketing software insists on opt-in email lists. If you do find an email vendor that will use a purchased list, you can expect to see an astronomically high spam rate.

Asking prospects to trade their email address for online content is effective, but it requires them to find you. Direct mail, on the other hand, targets the audience you want, drives them to your online content or offer, and allows you to build an opt-in list of interested consumers quickly and easily.

If you’re interested in setting up an affordable test to prove the effectiveness of direct mail within your digital marketing strategy, Belo + Company can help.

Jeff Coleman
Jeff Coleman
Jeff Coleman is the direct response strategist for the newly expanded direct marketing team at Belo + Company. A veteran marketer with more than four decades’ experience, he works to help our clients achieve higher conversion rates and improved marketing ROI. In his spare time, he reads Frank Herbert and listens to early Dylan.