Marketing Through the Mail: Why Direct Mail Is Integral to Enterprise-Sized Strategies
Your next client just spent more than four hours in Zoom meetings.
When she checked her email and social media accounts, she was faced with a wall of impersonal promotions, including generic emails and ads spanned across all digital platforms. If there were compelling messages among the promotions, she doesn’t remember them. She has already deleted her junk mail, noted her screen time for the day, and closed her laptop so she can tackle her tasks at home.
This client is your target customer. How are you going to reach her?
We think the best way to reach overwhelmed consumers is to make your message relevant to their lives. And doing that successfully means taking a comprehensive look at your acquisition marketing funnel. A digital strategy certainly has a place in your overall marketing strategy, but it isn’t everything. Don’t neglect tried-and-true approaches like direct mail.
Applying a direct marketing strategy to a highly curated audience list is an effective way to fill gaps in your marketing funnel and nurture prospects both on and offline.
Connect With Your Target Customers and Strengthen Client Relationships Offline with Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail marketing campaigns provide a level of connection other marketing tactics can’t. In fact, with the right audience list and a personalized direct mail campaign, you can achieve a higher ROI than you can with digital efforts alone. The proof is in these statistics:
- As reported January 2022, direct mail offers a 29% return on investment.
- 41% of Americans look forward to checking their mail every day.
- According to the U.S. Postal Service, direct mail recipients purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more money than people who did not receive direct mail.
- While email is easily ignored, 42% of direct mail recipients either read or scan the mail they get. That may be why up to 90% of direct mail is opened compared to 20-30% of emails.
As you can see, clients are more likely to open a direct mail piece than an email blast or paid search ad. And they’re more likely to hold onto that mail and reach out to the sender. Recall rates are higher with direct mail than with other types of advertising as well. That’s because even today, there’s something about getting a letter that’s appealing—especially if that letter is both attractive and useful, with information a customer can appreciate and a clear call to action.
Think about how much more effective your marketing collateral could be if it’s up on the fridge next to a child’s artwork or on a countertop next to an important tax reminder. When you consider how many Americans work from home, and how many are making frequent use of delivery services, direct mail just makes sense. Plus, integrating direct mail works extremely well with other marketing tactics that put your brand and your business directly in the hands of your target customers.
Nurture Prospects and Maintain Current Client Relationships With Integrated Direct and Digital Campaigns
Direct mail gives your potential clients a tangible experience they can hold on to and remember. This gives you remarkable opportunities:
- To nurture top-of-funnel prospects.
- To add value by cross-selling to current customers.
- To focus in on a single campaign message in a way that can be easily measured.
- To add fuel to a holistic campaign and give customers a seamless experience both on and offline.
To make your direct mail relevant and effective, it’s important to take advantage of the physical nature of direct mail and tie it to digital tools. Every piece of direct mail marketing you send should lead clients to your site, a contact form or a landing page. Link your direct mail efforts to your digital tools and give your customers something to do with the direct mail pieces they receive. This can include watching a video, downloading a report or even posting on social media. A strong call to action is a crucial factor, as well as a link to other marketing channels as part of a larger marketing strategy.
Pairing direct mail with technology or digital marketing campaigns also helps you track prospects, giving you a chance to continue nurturing that relationship. This kind of lead generation can kickstart digital and direct mail retargeting campaigns following an initial landing page visit. So, whether it’s a QR code, a link to a landing page or special coupon codes they can enter on your website, give your customers an easy way to reach you via digital tools. The data you receive could be invaluable as you plan future marketing efforts.
How does direct mail fit into your comprehensive marketing strategy?
Let’s expand a bit on how direct mail can complement a holistic marketing strategy:
Top of Funnel: At the top of the funnel, direct mail puts your brand in the hands of new prospects. Using highly curated audience lists of prospective customers—a list that targets those using a competitor’s service—can be a good place to start. Messaging at this stage should be introductory, not focused on hard sells. A direct mail campaign like this can work alongside display marketing, video campaigns and traditional advertising. These top-of-funnel tactics are focused on identifying qualified potential customers, introducing them to the brand through personalized promotional materials, and softly entering them into the sales funnel.
Middle to Bottom of Funnel: At this stage, direct mail campaigns are all about nurturing client relationships. They give you an opportunity to educate your prospects, cross-sell additional products and provide other value-adds. Once you’ve established multiple touchpoints with your existing clients, you can feel comfortable adding in some hard-sell calls to action, typically by making use of retargeting campaigns. These efforts work alongside paid search, email drip campaigns and resources on your website. Bottom-of-funnel tactics should be a culmination of previous nurturing tactics in order to close out sales funnels. Businesses that fight over the scraps of people willing to convert today with bottom-of-funnel tactics are often left disappointed with marketing campaign performance. Those who build their own acquisition funnels and nurture them over long periods of time reap the rewards of new customers and an improved return on marketing investment.
Maintaining Current Customer Relationships: Once you acquire a client, it’s important to maintain that relationship with value-adds. At this point, educating your clients and providing relevant industry news is helpful, but you should also be offering them rewards to make them feel appreciated. Giving your existing clients more opportunities to engage with your business will help you retain those clients and provide them with cross-selling opportunities that will benefit them in the future.
Consider These Types of Direct Mail Campaigns
As you design a piece of direct mail, keep in mind that your future client will see it and feel it—they’ll hold it in their hand and can carry it with them. That makes it more ‘real’ than other mediums.
There’s potential to make each piece of direct mail a sensory experience, with attractive color and design. Consider size and paper quality or cardstock. Embossing your direct mail or using unique textures can be effective, too. High quality mailers are always more attractive to your target audience.
- Direct mail postcard
According to the Data and Marketing Association, more than 50% of recipients report finding postcards useful. Their small size makes them stand out, and without an envelope, they’re more likely to be read. Postcards are a cost-effective way to send direct mail, especially if your goal is to make an announcement or drive customers to a website or an event.
- Direct mail letter and envelope
One of the most personal types of direct marketing, direct mail letters give you a cost-effective way to create a one-on-one connection with customers. Be sure that your letter is well written and personalized. Direct mail campaigns like this are ideal for fundraising or introducing your business to a target market.
- Direct mail catalogues
While not ideal for every type of business, catalogues have a high engagement rate. Just ask anyone who used to wait eagerly for the Toys R Us catalogue every holiday season. Recently, catalogues have proven to drive website traffic. They also allow you to showcase different product lines, which consumers can browse through at their own pace.
- Dimensional marketing mail
Think about how much a personalized gift can do for your relationship with a client. While a box of swag, a pop-up mailer, a gift bag or other three-dimensional format may be more expensive to produce, it’s money well spent when it comes to targeted direct mail campaigns. The open rate can’t be beat.
Can you send a content kit that includes teasers or shorter versions of your most popular resources? How about a handwritten note? Could you send personalized gifts or a swag bag your client would use or appreciate? Done well, a direct mail marketing campaign can turn into something your customers tell their friends about.
Your Audience List Can Make or Break Your Campaign
Remember, the value of your audience list is just as important as the quality of your direct mail marketing pieces. For large companies that want to target customers via direct mail, having relevant, up-to-date data on your potential customer base is vital. Why? Your direct mail campaigns should be targeted and customized whenever possible. Outdated or irrelevant audience lists lead to wasteful spending and lackluster results. Luckily, the days of ZIP code targeting for mail campaigns are long gone. There’s a better way.
Fortune 500 and other enterprise sized firms require a number of internal and external resources to design each touchpoint and every step of a direct mail marketing campaign. But as we’ve demonstrated, the ROI is well worth the effort.
FM Engage Leads the Way in Direct Mail Services for Insurers
Forget the reputation direct mail used to have of being an outdated or spammy marketing strategy. Done well, direct mail can be relevant and engaging, as well as creative. It gives you the opportunity to target your prospective clients with valuable, educational information they can use. And it can catch their attention in a way other marketing mediums can’t.
Does your in-house marketing team or direct mail service have the data it needs?
A partner with 50 years of industry experience and audience data inaccessible anywhere else can make your direct mail campaigns stand out. Let us help you connect with your clients.