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Direct Mail and E-Mail Working Together

Direct Mail and E-Mail Working Together

First impressions mean everything and your impression should be reinforced—many times, and in multiple channels—until the decision maker you want to influence sees you as a recognizable brand. Consider direct mail and e-mail working together.

Multi-channel marketing is about using various mediums to reach your customer. There is an ever-expanding breadth of multi-channel opportunities that work well individually and in conjunction with each other. In this blog we explain how you can get  direct mail and e-mail working together.

The more avenues of outreach used, the more chances of reaching potential customers. Reaching people at different touch points reinforces those touches and makes you, your company, and your offer more memorable and more desirable.

This two-ply marketing will strengthen your brand, especially if your marketing campaigns maintain a consistent look or theme across channels. You'll gain mindshare, and that will lead to greater return on your investment. Listed below are elements to consider in your multi-channel marketing campaign.

Know your audience:  First and foremost, you need to ascertain where your audience spends their time and what communication avenues are preferred. Understanding your audience will go a long way in the success of strategically placed multi-channel campaigns.

Brand Consistency: By marketing across multiple channels, you are in control of your brand. This allows you to stay consistent and in charge of your reputation, in messaging and presentation, whether in print, online or on-air. Start with the offer and the creative. Your e-mail HTML should contain the slogans, logo and other identifying marks used in the print piece, and the channels must reference each other. Similarly, the e-mail subject line must repeat the envelope copy or a prominent line in the postal piece. Direct mail confers legitimacy, e-mail is interactive and easy to use. But the message should be the same in both.

Make sure your Web site maintains the consistent design of your marketing materials. Feature the domain in every piece, link to it from your e-mails and make sure the site offers information on your products. Always create custom landing pages that are identical to your print offer or campaign.

Timing and Frequency: Reams have been written on what time of the day to send e-mails. This is less important than the timing in connection with the print mailer.

In most cases, the first e-mail should hit a week after the postal mailing piece arrives (give or take a day or two). The printed piece goes first because it has a longer shelf life. E-mails should continue at regular intervals. The ideal, of course, would be same-day delivery, with the direct mail piece arriving in the morning and the e-mail in the afternoon, but that's unrealistic.

How often should you mail?: It depends on what you're sending.  Brochures and catalogs should be mailed quarterly, accompanied by monthly e-mails. Postcards and other basic printed pieces can be mailed more often. The general rule? Send two to four e-mails for every printed package. B2B purchases are less spontaneous than consumer ones. You want to be in the buyer's face so often that you get the sale when the time is right.

Create Multiple Touch Points: As mentioned above, one of the advantages provided by multi-channel marketing is the ability to create a large number of touch points, which then provide additional data that can influence future marketing efforts. Touch points can include social media, surveys, email newsletters, mail-in items, etc.

Create Your List: Most mailers can find good prospecting lists. But the task is more complex in a multichannel campaign. You may, for example, not be able to get e-mail addresses for all the postal records on a rental file. There's a way around that: Profile your customers, using a multichannel database, then select names from that same database with identical characteristics for both mediums. Negotiate an ongoing arrangement with your list supplier instead of placing single orders. The resulting discount will reduce your cost per thousand. You need to remember to select lists that have a postal and e-mail component so you can reach the same decision-maker.

Expand your email subscriber list: Send a direct mail piece with a designated URL to drive the customer to a landing page to obtain their email address for future communications.

Personalization & Segmentation: Use data to make the piece personal and the message relevant to the customer and continue to evolve your segments overtime as you learn more about your audience.

Create Call to Actions

Every piece in every channel requires a strong call to action. There are five critical components to any CTA: Visibility, Verbiage, Direction, Immediacy, and, most importantly, Value.

  • Visibility—Make sure your CTAs are prominent in your campaign. In e-mail messages, use both text and image-based CTA links to ensure they can be viewed regardless of image blockers. The location of your CTA should be in the top third of your e-mail so it can be viewed in most preview panes.
  • Direction—Tell readers exactly what to do, and direct them to a custom landing page that further controls their experience.
  • Verbiage—Be assertive and use verbs quickly and concisely to command an action. Avoid a passive voice.
  • Immediacy—Readers must feel a sense of urgency. They must sense that if they do not respond to your offer, they are going to miss out on a tremendous opportunity that may never come around again.
  • Value—Give prospects value, and they will give you their attention, and ultimately their business.

Testing: It is important to test the effectiveness of your multi-channel efforts on an on-going basis. This not only means tracking results for multi-channel campaigns, but tracking results from a set group who don’t receive all the multi-channel outreach (or are even limited to a single medium).

Analysis - Always track results: Companies should always measure response rates, click-through rates and any other important metrics on both mail and direct mail. It will help them plan future campaigns, which creates better experiences for clients. The channels have to work in harmony, and they have to be evaluated that way.

Direct mail and email never should be in competition with each other. When used together, it can help you better reach your intended audience and ensure the message you want to communicate is delivered. When you have an understanding of how things are performing you can adjust as necessary. In other words, be sure to test, test, and test again!

And don’t forget to give them a reason to click through, even when you're not asking for an order.  Offer a free white paper or other incentive that drive them to the Web site. Once they are there, make sure there's a registration form or additional interactive activities.  The success of a marketing campaign should not fall on the shoulders of a sale, but on the initiation of dialogue.

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