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12 Steps to Direct Mai Success: Step 10

Jul 07, 2010

12 Steps to Direct Mail Success - Step 10: Integrate Direct Mail with Other Marketing Tools

The article in the Wall Street Journal said it all: "Looking to cut costs amid the recession, Alicia Settle initially thought it would be a good idea to eliminate her company's annual direct mailing. . .But after swapping snail mail for email last year, Ms. Settle saw a 25% drop in early orders compared with the same period the previous year. ‘We realized we had made a huge mistake,' she said."

That doesn't mean e-mail, web marketing, and social media have no place in the marketer's toolbox - they most certainly do. No man is an island; no direct mail campaign is, either. The most successful campaigns are integrated with other marketing strategies - strategies as simple as calling prospects to follow up on a mailer or as sophisticated as personalized URLs.

The key is ensuring that all of your marketing activities are working together toward a common goal. As you think about how your direct mail efforts fit in with your overall marketing, keep these 4 tips in mind.

1. Create synergies between your online and offline marketing efforts. The "death" of direct mail is a fate that has long been (erroneously) foretold. But at the same time that direct mail can still be a powerful marketing tool, every successful business needs a web presence. You can maximize the power of both your direct mail and your web marketing by allowing the two to feed off of each other.

A simple example of creating online/offline synergies is using direct mail to drive recipients to your website, where they can get more information and have a more interactive experience. In the opposite direction, you can use your website to capture visitors' names and mailing addresses (in exchange for a special report, for example), giving you yet another way to interact with your customers and prospects.

Another great, though far more complex, example of web/print cooperation is the personalized URL, or pURL. Marketers use direct mail to entice prospects to a specialized website landing page that is personalized (in much the same way that the mailer is) to further encourage a response (and to measure who responds and who doesn't).

In a recent marketing campaign for its new printer, Canon sent a self-mailer inviting recipients to attend its upcoming webinar. The mailers included a personalized URL so recipients could register online for the webinar as well as a reply card so recipients could register by mail if they preferred. The company also promoted the webinar online through social networks, including Facebook and LinkedIn. Canon reports great attendance at its webinars, which it credits to the integrated marketing effort.

2. Use e-mail and direct mail together. Calling the e-mail/direct mail combination a "one-two punch," Neil Feinstein recounted in Deliver magazine how his firm used the power of those two media to help a credit union increase its membership. The credit union began its campaign by sending personalized e-mails to its current members, with links to a website landing page where they could list the names and contact information of family members and colleagues that they thought should join the credit union.

Then, a week after sending the e-mail, the firm sent 20,000 direct mail pieces "to reinforce the message." The result? The credit union's membership boost was 122% higher than they had expected.

3. Be consistent across all of your marketing media. People like consistency. Your marketing efforts will be far more powerful if you use a coherent theme in your direct mail, your e-mail, on your website, and in your social media profiles. At the very least you should use the same logo, color scheme, and tagline in your direct mail as you do online. Even better, create a unified marketing "concept" that is reflected in your layout, your graphics, and your copy both online and off.

Maintaining a consistent look and feel is partly about building your brand (think about how some company's colors and images have become incredibly recognizable cultural icons). But it's also about giving your mail recipients the sense that the mailer is connected to a bigger picture.

4. Ask how your customers want to be contacted. The absolute best move you can make is to communicate with your customers and prospects in the ways they want to be communicated with. Don't assume, ask. You'll find that communicating with your customers and prospects on their terms will boost the effectiveness of your communications and engender a huge amount of goodwill (and loyalty).

Listing 4 reasons why direct mail can thrive in the digital age, Ethan Boldt wrote in Target Marketing, "1. What Is Old Can Be New Again. 2. Mail May Be Old, but It's Wise. 3. Each Channel Has Its Strengths, Marketers Just Need to Play to Them. 4. In Some Markets, Online Remains Small Potatoes."

At Click2Mail we make our living through direct mail, it's true. But we know that other kinds of marketing can be incredibly effective. And we want to help you get the most from the money you spend on direct mail. Do that through integrated marketing - by combining direct mail with web marketing, e-mail, and social media. Every media has its place in the marketer's toolbox. The real power is in using all of those tools together.