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Email vs. Direct Mail Marketing

Originally posted on the Safeguard blog on April 9, 2019.

Direct mail marketing and email marketing are both essential pieces of your omnichannel marketing mix. These two marketing channels are most effective when they complement one another. It can be just as easy to send a piece of personalized direct mail marketing as it is to send an email, so how do you decide where to start? Using the right marketing channel at each stage of the customer lifecycle will help your business improve response rates, increase ROI, and see the greatest brand impact.

As you develop different marketing messages, you may find yourself asking if a particular message is better started through email or direct mail distribution. Follow these guidelines for email and direct mail and knowing how to make them work together.

 

Begin With Email

Testing Promotional Offers
If you’re in the testing phase, of any campaign, you’re better served to start with sending an email. During the testing phase you are still honing your audience and tweaking your offers. Unfortunately, direct mail costs more money than email, and there just isn’t a way around that. However, by proving your concept through email before investing in direct mail, you are setting yourself up for a stronger return on your future direct mail investment.

If you find yourself with an email offer that is performing well, but you are struggling with open rates, consider complementing that campaign with direct mail. The results show that your message is strong, and direct mail might be the push to convert your audience.

 

Combat Shopping Cart Abandonment
Shopping cart abandonment is a common scenario for any e-commerce business. Over half of online shopping carts are abandoned. Timing is key when it comes to creating an abandoned cart strategy, you want to create a sense of urgency for shoppers to return. Email communication has the immediacy you need as part of your cart recovery strategy. These cart abandonment emails should be personal, re-engaging shoppers with a human touch. Include the consumer’s name, what they’ve left in their card, and other personalized information. These emails typically have a high open rate and click-through rate compared with promotional emails.

While email should be your first step of your shopping cart abandonment defense, you can also tackle shopping cart abandonment across channels. You might send a series of email reminders, sent at predetermined intervals. The first email could be triggered within an hour, gently reminding customers they’ve left something in their cart. If that first email doesn’t persuade them, then a second email could be triggered with an aim to induce urgency. For those customers who still don’t convert, a third and final email could be triggered to persuade them with an incentive to complete their purchase.

Follow-up emails could also be triggered based on inventory levels for the items in their cart. Consider combining your email series with retargeting ads and a final offer via direct mail. By placing the direct mail at the end of your sequence you are only paying to send mail to those who didn’t respond to your emails.

 

Last Minute Marketing
Sometimes things happen and you’re left scrambling to promote end of month sales, a last-minute event, or a change of plans for a conference. No matter the situation, this last-minute mayhem happens to everyone. Emails allow you to work very fast promoting and following-up with any changes.

While last-minute often means you need to work quickly, don’t forget that direct mail could add a personal touch that email lacks. Consider whether there is a touchpoint that could use something extra to make consumers feel special. For example, if you typically send a thank you email to attendees, try a customized thank you postcard instead.

 

 

Begin With Direct Mail

Reach Decision Makers
If you need to reach senior management level prospects, direct mail can be the key. Direct mail has the ability to reach almost anyone, and the physical document provides a long shelf life. Depending on the message you are sending, paper communication has a more formal feel for recipients.

When your direct mail reaches decision makers, data shows that it works, just make sure your message is personalized. Direct mail is typically engaged by financial decision makers, and a busy executive is much more likely to read a message that’s relevant, specific, and responsive to his or her needs. Consumers already expect to receive business correspondence by mail, so make sure you are sending some.

 

Appeal to Millennials
Don’t believe the myth that millennials only respond to digital marketing. While millennials interact frequently with email and digital communication, studies show that millennials value print marketing. So make sure you are sending both. Again, personalization is key, as 95% of adults between 18 and 29 feel positive about receiving personal mail. The majority of millennials have made purchases based on direct mail offers.

When targeting millennials make sure that all of your direct mailers tie into digital campaigns. Use landing pages to bring engagement back online and encourage consumers to connect with your brand on your strongest social media channels.

 

Re-Engage with Direct Mail
Most marketers already know that retaining a current customer is considerably cheaper than landing a new customer. That makes re-engaging with the customers we’ve already earned a high priority for our time and energy.  While you will inevitably lose some customers, that doesn’t mean you should sit idly by and watch them leave.

While some of your past customers are still active email subscribers, many of them aren’t. Some may even mark your emails as spam. One of the most engaging and proven re-engagement marketing mediums is direct mail.

To captivate former contacts, you first need to understand why they’ve gone cold. From there, you can determine where each customer is on the sales funnel today. Once you know that information you can personalize and tailor your message to your customers’ needs. Don’t see lost customers as a negative, think of them as opportunities.

 

Email and direct mail marketing are both important pieces of your integrated marketing plan. The key is to know when to begin with each type of communication, and how the two can work together. At Fontis, we have thousands of business solutions, including email marketing and print services. Contact us today to see how we can help you elevate your business through integrated marketing.                                                                


Ready to incorporate email and direct mail marketing into your marketing plan? FONTIS can help determine how to best promote your brand and connect with your customers. Contact our team today.

 

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