Direct Mail & Digital Outreach: How They Work Together

In today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected world, it seems everyone is on social media. On the surface, it makes digital marketing appear to be the ultimate medium for marketers. The issue with that assumption is that digital advertising fulfills consumer demand that has already been created by another source.

With traditional forms of media such as direct mail, advertisers can get in front of the consumer well before any interest to purchase has been created. With this approach, you essentially create demand that did not exist before, and as a result, gain access to a new audience.

Direct mail marketing today is more critical to have as part of your marketing mix than ever. The largest digital companies in the world, such as Amazon and Google, rely on direct mail as part of their customer acquisition strategy.

There is a specific place for both types of marketing and for the highest chance of reaching your marketing goals, you must use both in your strategy.

Why Direct Mail?

Consumers are spending more time of their day online than ever before. From video streaming to social media, marketers are always looking for new ways to increase reach and engagement between their brands and consumers.

The constant desire to stay on the cutting edge of trends and move on to the next big thing in marketing often leads to abandoning reliable tactics like direct mail. Direct mail can target and personalize its audience, which provides an incredible return on investment.

Think customers are ignoring direct mail? Think again. A lot of companies are relying on digital marketing as their only engagement tool. Consumers on the receiving end are inundated with clutter. An estimated 1 in 4 people use ad-blocking software. Those that do not are so used to being flooded with digital advertising that they have become ad-blind, learning to ignore content that resembles ads.

Brands can engage with consumers on platforms outside of digital marketing and experience positive ROI. Direct mail still proves to be a robust marketing tool that keeps customers actively involved with a brand’s products and services during a moment where the reader’s mindset is more attentive to your message.

According to a recent case study, 93% of people said they use coupons from the mail in 2018, up from 88% in 2017. Reports by Digital Marketing Analytics have shown that direct mailed coupons continue to remain a viable approach because they have a high average response rate of 5.1%. Though it doesn’t sound like much, this is nearly three times the average response rate of paid search, email, online display, and social media combined.

Direct mail marketing is a wonderful engagement tool. Still, to realize its full potential, it is best used as a supplement to other marketing campaigns, whether it is digital, traditional, or social. Direct mail marketing capabilities can enhance any of your engagement campaigns targeting customers that may have otherwise ignored the marketing strategy.

More than half (57%) of Millennials have made purchases based on direct mail offers, and using the two channels together provide up to a 35% lift compared to a single channel.

Not only this, but data shows people spend more time with physical advertising than digital. People have a stronger emotional response to physical ads and remember them better because they are tactile. The tactile factor also makes it harder to ignore.

How to Use Direct Mail in Your Strategy

Connect with Non-Digital Responders

Regardless of how clever your digital marketing campaigns are, there will be people who ignore or block your messages. Keep a list of the people who are not responding and create a direct mail marketing campaign to target those individuals. You may be surprised at how many of those original non-responders you thought you’d lost respond to the direct mail approach.

Create a Single Hub for Digital and Direct Mail Offers

Look for a solution that provides direct mail and digital marketing services under one roof. A service like this can make it easier to create both digital and direct mail campaigns with cohesiveness to boost your return on investment. Working with us here at Sachs Marketing Group, we can integrate direct mail into your strategy to make everything easier for you to manage.

Combine Personalized Websites with QR Codes

Though QR codes haven’t been able to sustain a marketing campaign by themselves, using personalized URLs with these campaigns allows marketers to gain actionable insights into who their customers are and where they’re engaging with your print materials.

Here’s a suggested campaign to help you get started:

During the first week, send 1 to 3 email introductions. Flag the targets need or pain point and introduce your company product or service as the answer, perhaps including an offer. During week 2, send a postcard or a letter package that starts with the prospects made and introduce your company’s solution with an offer.

During week 3, send one to two emails, recapping your message. Recap the earlier message and introduce new support points. During week 4, send one to two emails with social proof to reference the fact that others like the target have already responded. Recap your offer.

During week 5, send a last-chance postcard designed to drive urgency and include a more attractive offer. During week 6, send a last-chance email, further promoting the urgency and perhaps including an even more attractive offer.

As your prospects convert, move them out of the flow. After week 6, the remaining prospects should be rested and set aside for a future effort.

Best Practices

Use the 40/40/20 rule. 40% of your mailer success will come from the list, which involves targeting the right prospects at the right time. 40% of it will come from the offer, which needs to be both compelling and relevant. 20% will come from the creative. The copy and artwork need to be motivating and attention-grabbing.

Use eye-magnet words such as free, now, new, announcing, and introducing. They have been scientifically proven to attract above-average readership. The words easy, improved, and quick have been shown to lift product sales, so you need to use them.

Use social proof. The principle states that when people aren’t sure about what action to take, they do what they see others like them doing. Highlight customer testimonials and indicate the number of satisfied customers as social proof will increase direct mail response rate.

Use what you know about your customers, including their preferences and past behaviors, to inform your subsequent communications and frame new sales opportunities. Take a programmatic approach instead of a series of unrelated one-offs.

Use the principle of consistency. Research has shown that once someone makes a decision, they will want to act on it in ways that are consistent with the decision. Remind customers that they have already made the decision to buy from you, and doing so will increase the likelihood they will buy from you again.

Don’t try to sell another service or a product. Instead, focus on selling a solution to a problem because that is what people buy.

Use the power of exclusivity. Offer customer-only discounts and sales that are not available to the general public. Having preferred access increases loyalty and spurs additional purchases.

Communicate with your customers regularly. Reinforce their smart decision to purchase your product. Keep them up-to-date with product enhancements and news before you inform the general public.

Capitalize on surprise and delight by providing unexpected offers or services such as sending a birthday message or percentage off coupon. Show and tell your customers that you appreciate their business.

Though the internet plays a significant role in the day-to-day life of consumers, brands need to remember that marketing can depend on so much more. For successful campaigns, marketers have to think about the variety of mediums they can use to interact with their customers.

Social Media

Using Facebook Ads to Enhance Direct Mail Campaigns

Facebook Ads are an integral part of your online marketing strategy. They not only help build your community on the platform itself, but can help build traffic to your website, and advertise sales and other offers for brick and mortar businesses. Beyond integrating with other online channels such as email, you can use Facebook Ads to integrate with your offline marketing channels, too.

Despite the fact that we get mailboxes full of junk mail in 2017, the reality is direct mail still works. A United States Postal Service study showed 60% of recipients also visited the promoted website – and first-time shoppers were the most influenced.

But this isn’t just the case for B2C businesses. In the B2B sector, one agency targeted companies making $30 million or more in revenue, and got a 25% response rate. It’s a different approach, which is the reason it stands out and gets an above average response rate despite the fact that it’s so simple.

Let’s talk about how to make direct mail campaigns work with your Facebook Ads.

Begin with Your Direct Mail

You can get direct mail pieces “off the shelf” from companies that are just a search away. But if you want something automated, you can use a company like Lob to integrate with a number of APIs and setup triggers to deliver direct mail to customers at prime times during your online marketing campaigns. Prices including the printing, mailing, and postage so you have a set and forget direct mailing solution.

If you want to create something custom, start by connecting with local commercial printing shops. They can help with design concepts and implementation. Whatever you come up with, make sure it’s specific, targeted, memorable, and personalized.

Figure Out How You’re Going to Track Everything

When it comes to tracking the results of a direct mail campaign, you have two options: unique phone numbers and personalized URLs.

The unique phone numbers are generally 800 numbers that go back to a major account, company, region, city, or segment of your audience.

With personalized URLs, you set up a variety of custom domains to make them easy to remember, and refer them to the correct place. This is the option we’ll focus on since the goal is to get people to your website, and to combine the tactic with Facebook Ads.

You can use referring domains to send people to a specific landing page you created just for their company. Or, you can send them to a case study or portfolio piece that focuses on the work you’ve done for a company just like theirs.

This way, you’re connecting with those hard to reach, specific companies and sending them back to a message you’ve crafted just for them. And you can track the entire thing, then retarget them.

Combine it With Facebook Ads

You should use this approach with a longer sale that takes a while to develop. After all, studies show it takes anywhere from six to eight touch points to generate a qualified sales lead.

Sending a single piece of direct mail isn’t going to be enough to turn that company into a lead. That’s why you need to follow up across multiple channels over time, to make sure you get results.

Add a Facebook Pixel to your website so you can track events and then use the Facebook Custom Audience to create an audience of people who have visited a specific page or URL. Create a custom audience for anyone who passes through the referring domains you’ve created specifically for your direct mail campaign.

Consider making a different campaign for people who bounce, people who stick around and look through your website, and for people who take the time to download your introductory offer or join your mailing list, and so on.

To create your own audiences, login to your Facebook Ads manager account and click “Audiences > Choose Audience > Lookalike Audience.” From there, you’ll be able to choose the source of the audience, such as the people who’ve already liked your Facebook page, or people who’ve visited the Thank You page on your website. Then you’ll choose your target audience size. The smaller you choose, the more targeted it will be. Each custom audience you create will be saved for use in future ad campaigns.

This retargeting approach allows you to automate the process of getting the second, third, or fourth touch points with your target prospects, so you don’t have to manually do all the work. This saves you time and money, while helping you grow your qualified leads database.

Tips for Success

You can use the mailing data from your direct mail campaign on Facebook, too. You can create a custom audience to show Facebook ads to your direct mail recipients who are also Facebook users.

Start by preparing your mailing data for import into Facebook Ads Manager. This means you’ll create a CSV file with as much data as you can gather. Facebook will allow you to create your target audience based on a number of factors, including:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Age, Date of Birth, Year of Birth
  • Location: City/State/Country/Zip Code
  • Gender
  • Mobile Advertiser ID
  • Facebook App User ID

Since you’re working from mailing list data, you should have the zip codes and names at the very least, but the more information you have, the better you will be able to target Facebook users. Use Excel or Google Sheets to create the CSV file, and create a header row for each data point you have.

If you need assistance, you can download the sample CSV from Facebook, and you can learn about how to setup the columns and data.

Once your file is ready, it’s time to use it to create a custom audience. Open Facebook Ads Manager, then open the Audiences tool. Click Create Audience > Custom Audience. Then choose Customer File in the pop-up window. Click “Add Customers from Your Own File.”

Upload the CSV file you created with the mailing data. You’ll be prompted to match the fields in the file to the categories Facebook Ads Manager uses. Go through the list to make sure Facebook recognizes and maps the fields correctly, ignoring anything that’s not relevant. Remember, the more data you use, the higher the match rate.

Follow the rest of the prompts to secure the upload and process the audience file. Once this is done, you’re ready to start building the campaign. It could take some time for Facebook to build your custom audience, based on the size of your import.

At this point, you’re good to setup landing pages, or direct traffic to the landing pages you’ve already created.

Once you get the results of the preliminary campaign, you can segment your custom audiences to target your high-value segments of your list – particularly those who visited your landing pages but didn’t respond to your conversion points.

Make sure you coordinate the timing of your direct mail and your Facebook Ads You want to make sure there is time for people to respond to the mailer before you start serving them ads on Facebook. This way, recipients will be more likely to react since Facebook isn’t their first interaction with the campaign.

Allow one to two weeks after your mailers have gone out to ensure they are delivered to your audience and they have time to respond or abandon before you start running your ads.

Marketing Must Be More Than Clicking Boxes

If you’re doing the same thing everyone else is doing, you can’t expect anything more than mediocre results with an average ROI. If you break out from the rest of the crowd, you’re taking a risk, but you’re likely to get better returns because you’re creating your own path, rather than copying what those ahead of you are doing. Take advantage of direct mail sine you know it still works, and combine with automated targeted Facebook Ads. You may be surprised at how effective it is at bringing you new leads.

Have you ever received a piece of direct mail and then started seeing ads for it on Facebook? Did it improve your impression of the company?

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