It is often easy when pursuing a digital marketing campaign to forget about the importance of offline marketing. According to a February 2014 study by Ascend2 and Netprospex, only 25% of B2B marketers worldwide have direct mail that is integrated with email campaigns.
Email marketing is great, but by and large the open rates on an email are much lower than the open rates that come with direct mailers. Furthermore, if you don't have an online point of contact - direct mailers can be a good way to add offline contacts to your online database as well.
Indeed, some of the best results come when offline marketing is coupled with online marketing to create a seamless marketing effort that stretches from an audiences' email inbox to their front door. Here are a few tips that will help you create a great mailing campaign that reaches users both on and offline in order to provide the best results possible.
Keep Branding Consistent
One of the most important parts of using direct mailing in tandem with email marketing is to make sure that your marketing material has consistent branding. This means including a consistent tagline, color scheme, iconography, and call to action. Audiences who receive a first point of contact from your business should recognize your brand when they receive direct mailers that follow up. This provides an increase in brand recognition and trust in your business that makes audiences more likely to actually interact with your business at a later point of contact, whereas a mailer that shares little in common with previous mailers would not.
At Blue Fountain Media we recently put this idea to action with a substantial mailing campaign that we undertook to promote a seminar we are hosting. Our initial point of contact was a direct mailer that was then closely followed up with an email newsletter.
Our initial point of contact for the invitations looked like this:
Stagger Your Campaigns Appropriately
Just like when you put automated email processes in place and stagger your emails so that users don't start to see your brand as spam when you hit them with 3 emails in quick succession, your direct and online mailers should be staggered so that users have time to fully digest the content you are sending them before you send them a follow-up.
Depending on what you are asking customers to do, you should be staggering mailings appropriately. For example, if you're trying to create a campaign where brand recognition ultimately leads into sales, you need to give your audience a chance to understand your business by offering informational initial mailings and follow up much later with mail that has strong calls to action.
In the case of our campaign above we were inviting audiences to a free forum. As a result, we only spread the mailings a few days apart so that anyone who might have seen the mailer but was not initially interested was followed up with an email as well.
This helped us to get sign ups from users who might not have initially been interested, but because we followed up they ended up attending. This may have been because direct mail helps to build audience trust and brand legitimacy - it is easy to send a gargantuan number of email marketing campaigns, but it is much harder for companies that lack legitimacy to send direct mailers as well.
Use Landing Pages
Building well-designed and topic-specific landing pages is a great way to make sure that when your campaign reaches your audience they are brought to an appropriate part of your website for what they are looking for. This is already a widely accepted rule for email marketing, but in a lot of ways it is even more important for direct mail campaigns.
If you can target a user with an email from your business it already means you have a point of contact. Often with direct mailers you don't have an online point of contact yet, and particularly if you are an online business this is really where you want to be able to target them. For our forum campaign, we created a landing page that reflected the branding in the mailers and helped us to create an online touchpoint for offline users.
By creating a landing page and including a link to it in your direct mailers, you not only create a visually appealing page for direct mailer recipients to interact with your business, you provide yourself with a remarketing opportunity.
Particularly if you are using display remarketing, you can retarget new customers who visit your landing page but maybe don't complete a goal (such as requesting a quote, or signing up for a product) with specific display remarketing ads that center around the content on your landing page. This strategy helps take users who you previously only had an offline point of contact and allows you to market to them directly online as well.
As recently as 2012, the Harvard Business Review found that, on average, direct mail and email together provided noticeably better results for businesses than using direct mail or email alone. On average, businesses increased their order value by more than $3 when using the two mediums combined, while also getting a 25% response rate.