From emails to texts to social media, it’s easy to think that non-digital forms of communication are ineffective or passé. But while digital marketing has its advantages, traditional mediums like direct mail continue to have demonstrable staying power.
Here’s something to chew on: According to DMA, 70% of Americans believe that physical mail is more personal than something they encounter online. This is particularly significant in the case of young people and donors, who want to feel like the person trying to reach them truly cares about who they are.
Despite what some may think, today’s technologies can apply to direct mail. Here are a few ways that direct mail can surprise you and your constituents:
Not every piece needs to look the same
Sure, you might think that mailings will obviously look different. What we’re really saying is that within a single mailing, many things can vary from piece to piece depending on which part of your constituency a recipient falls within. Variable data technology allows printed collateral to be deeply personalized. Everything from names, lines and paragraphs, images, layout and colors can be varied from person to person. This can help senders draw attention to certain aspects of the message and overall make things more relevant to the recipient which helps increase response. You can get as creative as you want by leveraging the available data you have for your audience.
Bonus Pro-Tip: For mailings that have multiple pieces, you can match specific inserts with the appropriate subset of your constituency. For businesses employing this, you can personalize promotions. For fundraisers, you can decide whose mailing requires a donation/reply device and whose doesn’t. Talk to your direct mail provider about match mailing and how it can work for you.
You can track the mail
Have you ever noticed a bar code beneath the address block on some mail you receive? Within that code lies information about the sender, geographic region, and the individual recipient that is embedded. That code is then scanned at various points as each piece moves through the mail stream. The benefit of utilizing bar codes on your mail is that it provides valuable insight to help determine next steps for your campaign (like integrating your mail and email). Knowing things like when mail drops and the average amount of time it takes for groups in certain geographic areas to actually receive a piece helps you plan things like, say, a reminder email or when to push play on a social media re-targeting ad campaign. You can also make strategic decisions about follow up knowing for sure that certain mail has been delivered.
Mail and email work really well together
Just as we mentioned in the previous point, applying the information you can from mail tracking can help you integrate direct mail with email in an even more powerful way. Triggered emails are an excellent way to give some extra oomph to a marketing campaign that uses mail, email, and other channels.
There are two ways you can do it:
- Some marketing automation software can allow users to upload and integrate mail database information so that emails can be set up and scheduled to deliver once the postal system updates to reflect the delivery of your mail. This allows marketers to be really strategic in planning emails to those constituents within a given time frame. This is particularly useful for time sensitive communications.
- If you don’t have a marketing automation platform in place, you can work off that big picture data you receive about mail that’s being tracked and set things up manually.
The Wrap Up
Employing some of these technologies to your current direct mail program can help in a variety of ways. First off, you can boost audience engagement a little more by being more personal, relevant, and strategic. Secondly, this new data can help you gauge the efficacy of your marketing overall. You’ll have the insights you need to optimize your budget and to target members of your audience you know are most likely to respond to direct mail as opposed to some other way.
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