LUBA Business Tips

The power of direct marketing: Using traditional and digital direct channels to engage your customers

The last time you went to your mailbox you most likely received some “junk mail.” Remember those Publishers Clearing House mailers? The United States Postal Service recently introduced “Informed Delivery”. The service provides eligible residential consumers with a digital preview of their household’s incoming mail scheduled to arrive. Users can view greyscale images of mail pieces via email or online. 

Many advertisers are using the Informed Delivery service to deliver not only traditional direct mail but also a digital version with clickable links contained within the Informed Delivery email. What may be considered “junk mail” has now become a new direct marketing digital channel. Don’t let the words “junk mail” fool you because advertisers wouldn’t keep sending it to you without a profitable rate of response. 

Thanks to advancements in technology, anyone with a computer and an email address can receive the email equivalent of “junk mail.” Although many marketing professionals subscribe to the theory that direct mail is dead, stats indicate that Americans receive 605 emails and 16.8 pieces of mail every week. For approximately every 36 emails received on average, a person may receive one piece of physical mail at their home or office. The average lifespan of an email is 17 seconds, compared to a direct mail piece that can stay on a desk or kitchen island for 17 days.

Direct marketing is an effective tool because you’re communicating with customers or clients who have shown an intent to buy from you in the past through direct communication like an email or phone call. Not to be confused with” advertising”, which targets a broader audience with high-level information. Direct marketing targets a specific audience with personalized content precisely targeted to them. Conversion rates in direct marketing are generally higher because people already have an interest in you, your brand, and/or your service. Direct marketing is the most cost-effective way to reach individuals most likely to do business with you. 

Once you decide you’re going to focus on direct marketing, it’s time to develop a direct marketing strategy. If possible, its important to utilize “variable data” like the recipient’s name or products they’ve shown interest in to personalize your message. After you develop a strategy, it’s time to pick the most appropriate direct marketing channels to use. Direct mail and email marketing are the first considerations:

  • Direct mail to an individual’s home address is considered a traditional direct marketing channel. 
  • Email has a lower engagement than mailing directly to a home address, but it has the unique ability to provide you more statistics and tracking to help learn your consumer’s behavior. For example, if you send an email regarding a new product launch with a link to the product, you can track who clicks that link. Those actions are tracked by “cookies,” “tags” (Google action tracking), “forms” and/ or purchase conversions. 

Now that you have an overview of direct marketing, consider rolling out a campaign that engages customers and clients to learn more about new and existing services to grow your business.

  • 73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read it anytime.
  • 60% of catalog recipients visit the website of the company that mailed a physical catalog.
  • Up to 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to only 20 to 30% of emails.