Times have certainly changed for direct-mail marketing, but things have only gotten better. In the past there was no other way to get your brand in front of potential customers other than door-to-door sales, radio, and TV. Telemarketing was as hated as it is today, but some companies were able to pull it off.
But today, even with the Internet and digital marketing being so prolific, direct mail such as printed postcards and even email still works. The approaches have had to be adapted, but overall the industry has seen improved response rates because it has had to compete with digital marketing, such as shown in this advertising infographic from PrintPlace. On the other hand, the new data produced through digital marketing has resulted in better targeting and tracking of direct mail. Digital marketing has also given birth to an online version of direct mail with Internet direct-marketing techniques.
First of all, direct-mail marketing has gotten much better at targeting specific audiences. Gone are the days of sending postcards or emails to a broad group of potential customers—demographics be darned! Instead, marketers have had to get laser focused on exactly who they want to receive their marketing materials.
This has resulted in a higher response rate, as the right product is put in front of the right customer in the right format. You can better design your materials because you know exactly whom you’re sending them to as well.
There are a lot of tracking tools that are being built into direct-mail marketing as well. From special phone numbers to promo codes, here are some of the ways a modern direct-mail marketing campaign can collect excellent data:
1. QR Codes—These allow users to scan a barcode using their phones, and the resulting visit to a specific landing page shows that the campaign was successful in driving someone to the website.
2. Promo Codes—These allow users to enter a specific promo code to access customized information or to receive a discount. Each use of the promo code helps you know that the specific campaign drove traffic.
3. Toll-Free Numbers—When a specific number is set aside for use with a marketing campaign, each call is an indicator that a customer got the direct-mail marketing and responded.
4. Custom URLs—These allow the customer to enter a specific URL in their web browser and go to a landing page built for the campaign. Each visit is logged, often with geographical and other data tracked.
These and other techniques mean that modern direct-mail marketing results in better tracking of results, which extends to better calculations of return on investment and improved future marketing.
Today’s direct-mail marketing often involves outsourced print firms that handle everything. From design to printing to cutting to shipping—the entire process is integrated. The result is a far more efficient process that costs less and delivers reliably.
The quality of printing has improved dramatically in recent years because the industry has had to consolidate to survive the digital-marketing era. The result is that we get higher quality, more options, and faster turnaround. So from design to doorstep, the time for implementation is quickly reduced.
Digital Direct Marketing
Today, the term “direct marketing” no longer only refers to print marketing. Businesses can also take advantage of a few digital direct-marketing techniques. In fact, with so many options for targeting marketing, both print and digital, every business will find several direct-mail methods that work for reaching its ideal customers. Here are some of the most common digital direct-mail methods:
1. Email Marketing—You can use your own list that you’ve gathered from users registering on your website or blog, or you can purchase a targeted list.
2. Text Messages—Send special offers and discounts to customers through text messages.
3. Online Ads—Google, Spotify, Skype, and many more allow you to target a specific audience with your advertisements.
4. Blog Posts/RSS Feeds—Some of your blog posts may contain information on an upcoming sale, which will reach readers directly if they are subscribed to your blog or RSS feed.
Modern direct mail is far more effective than it used to be. With better targeting, tracking, and printing, the result is a better response rate than ever when applied properly.