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Direct mail and email can accomplish much more together than they can separately, thanks to their unique combination of strengths – like a skilled boxer, mixing up jabs with a devastating right hook. We’ve written extensively (here and here) about the unbeatable benefits of this knockout combination. What’s less obvious are the numerous creative ways in which they can be used together to multiply your persuasive power with your target audience.

Here are 10 ideas to get your marketing punching well above its weight:

  1. If you have something important to announce, incorporate direct mail: Several years ago, Adobe had an important announcement to make about its Creative Suite of software (it was moving to an online-only subscription format). But designers had been ignoring its emails. So it launched an integrated campaign to ensure that it could reach and engage them prior to the upcoming product change. Designers loved the printed piece Adobe distributed, which was provocatively titled, “Print is Dead.” It was so successful that Adobe subsequently made it available through digital channels, including Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Combining print and digital enabled Adobe to reconnect with an important part of its target audience at a critical point in time, which helped drive adoption of its new product.

  1. Think beyond the postcard: There is much more to direct mail than sending colorful postcards to your customers and prospects. Get creative! Imagine sending them a large infographic in an oversized envelope or a mailing tube that provides some valuable information tailored to their needs. Unfolded, it’s much larger than such a visual could ever appear on screen – giving it unforgettable impact!
  2. Use email to preview a special offer: Send an email to your list to alert them of an upcoming sale or promotion, which will arrive in the form of a direct mail piece. When used in this way, the message of the email is to “watch your mailbox for an exclusive offer.” This combination is almost certain to increase the response to your mailer.
  3. Resurrect non-responsive recipients: Every email list contains people who have stopped responding. Instead of removing them from your list, why not try re-activating them with direct mail? A single direct mail postcard with a message tailored to their needs can “reactivate” people in a way that email alone can’t achieve.
  4. Imagine how direct mail can be used after the sale: Direct mail can become a vital component of a rich customer service experience. Picture this: An infographic that contains troubleshooting FAQs that your customer can post in their shop or service area. Or a large calendar that can be hung on their cubicle wall for an entire year. Companies as diverse as Snap-on Tools and the Union Pacific Railroad have made calendar marketing work longer than email has been around!
  5. Build an air of mystery into your direct mail/email campaign: Don’t give away all of the important information up front. “Tease” it out a little bit at a time, throughout the life of the campaign, so that your prospects will come to anticipate each message. For example, “Check our Twitter feed to reveal the answer” or “Download this special report to learn how you can increase sales by 200 percent in 2 weeks or less.”
  6. Event invitations: Are you planning a special event? If so, an integrated direct mail/email campaign can drive increased registration and engagement from the key people you want to influence. This approach can work for product launches, equipment demonstrations, VIP invites to your hospitality suite and other types of get-acquainted events. Use a direct mail piece to capture their attention and to persuade them to register for your event. Then use email to remind them to participate, and reinforce the benefits of doing so.
  7. Amplify your trade show visibility: Do you need to make a big splash at a conference or trade show? Create a direct mail piece with an air of mystery to its messaging. Hint at what will be revealed at your booth, to intrigue and attract your customers and prospects to visit you during the show. Another possibility is to make a special offer to recipients, with the condition that they must visit your booth to redeem it. Then send them follow-up emails to reinforce the offer and to remind them to visit you during the exhibition.
  8. Post-event follow-ups: Instead of sending prospects who visited your trade show booth a few follow-up emails, why not integrate a direct mail piece into the mix? You could send them a personalized cover letter plus a glossy printed piece reminding them of the products they saw at your booth, or a postcard with a “thanks for visiting us” discount.
  9. Create upsell opportunities: Use a direct mail piece with a special offer to encourage prospects to buy your product or service. Then use email follow-ups to thank them, streamline their onboarding process and generate repeat sales or upsell opportunities.

As you can see, the possibilities for creatively integrating direct mail and email are limited only by your imagination!

If you’re not sure how to make this one-two combo work for you, why not contact us to discuss your digital and print marketing needs?


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