You wouldn’t think that Printing Impressions, a magazine about print, would be happy about email
outpacing direct mail in this year’s budgets. But it sounds neutral at least. A survey by its sister publication Target Marketing, shows that 31% of those polled are increasing their
direct mail budgets this year. vs. 60% for email. What’s more, 96% of the respondents use email — “a high vote of confidence in a channel that sometimes seems to be waiting to pass
its torch,” Mark Michelson writes. In contrast, 72% use direct mail.
Does direct mail still have a role to play? Of course. It generates trust that it didn’t enjoy when it was
simply considered junk mail. And it works well when used with email in a coordinated multichannel campaign.
For example, Gaggenau, a European appliance maker, pulled open rates of over
60% with follow-up emails for a pop-up restaurant event. But the campaign started with direct mail, DMN reports.
This type of crossover is common. But here
are a few tips on how to do it, based on input from experts, past and present.
- Time it well — Depending on the proposition, start with the postal piece, then send the
first of a series of emails. As one pundit has written, direct mail packages have a longer shelf life than emails, and people remember them longer.
- Choose the right
lists — Your first hurdle is to get email addresses for all the postal records on either your customer or outside rental file. This can be done with email appends. But make sure that
you’re in keeping with all provisions of the Can-Spam Act, and applying them in the postal channel, too.
- Have a strong Call to Action (CTA) — What They Think recently reported on what it called the Danish Cancer campaign.
Tests showed that more people remembered the direct mail CTA than the email one. But don’t be swayed by that. People may remember the direct mail CTA. Given the interactivity of email, they are
probably more likely to respond in that channel.
- Maintain consistent branding — Use the same offers and creative in both channels, and be sure the name in your from
lines matches the one on your postal envelopes.
- Don’t be afraid to be repetitive. “It’s like the old story about the clergyman who had so many
converts,” said the late direct marketer John Stevenson about direct mail. “He was asked his secret. He said, ‘I tell them what I’m gonna tell them, then I tell them, then I
tell them what I told them.’”