Direct mail and email – collaborators, not competitors

On August 30, 2017

Marketers have a range of channels available for their campaigns, each offering something different. But with a multichannel approach, you can take advantage of the best that both digital and direct mail have to offer. It's not an either/or decision – it's a case of figuring out how to get the best results from both.

How can direct mail and email work together for multichannel marketing?

Alan Sherman, vice president of marketing strategy at direct mail firm IWCO, says that direct mail and email each have their own strengths and benefits. While direct mail offers high response rates, it requires money and effort to set up. Email gives you a faster, cheaper way to reach a large number of prospective clients at once, but tends to have lower response and conversion rates.

Rather than weighing up the benefits and choosing between these two channels, Sherman argues that a better strategy is to combine them in a way that plays to each of their strengths. Direct mail can be used for the initial contact, presenting your offer to the reader. Email can be used to follow up and reinforce the message, or even sent before the mailer to let the reader know it's coming.

Digital and direct mail each have their own unique qualities to take advantage of.
Digital and direct mail each have their own unique qualities to take advantage of.

Multiple channels, one voice

If you're combining direct mail and email into a single campaign, they need to feel like one. This means that your message and presentation need to be consistent across the different platforms you use. It's no good sending a follow-up email that has such a different tone the reader doesn't connect it to the mailer they got a few days ago. Likewise, if your direct mail sends them to a website that looks like it belongs to a different company, you sabotage your chances of making a sale.

"Make sure your visual identity is consistent," says Andrew Stanten, president of Altitude Marketing. "Visual identity is far more than your logo. It entails having a common overarching design (look and feel), style of photography and graphics, consistent logo treatment [and] common colours and fonts."

Unify your campaign elements to avoid confusing potential customers.
Unify your campaign elements to avoid confusing potential customers.

Don't overreach

Gartner vice president and research fellow Jennifer Beck says that multichannel marketing doesn't have to be 'every channel all the time' marketing.

"Think about your goal – what is just enough, and what are the right complementary channels that will accommodate the preferences and purchasing behaviours your particular buyers have?" Beck says.

Having a defined strategy and a solid understanding of your target market will help you determine which channels – or combinations – are best for you. Once you've decided, that's where we come in. The Prospect Shop can provide targeted mailing lists for direct mail, email or both. Get in touch to find out more.

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