Article

David Amor
David Amor 26 April 2017
Categories B2B

How digital and direct mail became best friends

The propaganda from digital marketeers said direct mail was dead. Now they’re retreating with their tails between their legs begging to be let back in. After all, the already powerful direct mail can have even more impact when paired with digital. But how are the digital natives returning to direct mail and why?

The realisation isn’t surprising and we all predicted it; digital would become so big it was impossible to hear the message clearly. But now with technology it’s easier to refine the message and hit the recipient from multiple channels. Direct mail with digital marketing integration can be even more targeted, personalised to specific individuals and an interactive and offline hybrid.

Avoid the Opt-Out All Together

With digital direct mail you can remove yourself from a list easily, and as mobile phone technology evolves, without searching for the unsubscribe button. This is bad news to marketeers as once you’ve lost a contact’s subscription, you’ll have to have a miracle to regain their following. Direct mail is different. Sending something to someone’s house or business is easy, and provided that you’ve acquired their data legally, totally within the eyes of the law.

Consumers throw things in the bin without hesitation, but unless the content is particularly objectionable, they never bother to find out from where it has come from or how to get rid of it. Without the worries of email sender reputation, spam filters or IP blocking, provided Royal Mail is doing its job, nothing will stop it from reaching its recipient.

Increased ROI

Just like email marketing, direct mail measurement is a dream. By using metrics and KPIs you can understand the insight of campaigns at a glance. Direct mail shares the same measurements as its digital counterpart and it can even improve digital marketing results. Sure, digital campaigns can have their impact, but they’re soon forgotten. A follow-up print mail alternative hangs around and can be the one thing that converts to purchase. Rather than sending five emails, isn’t one direct mail a better use of your time?

Programmatic Direct Mail Marketing                         

Even the display ad networks and resellers have found it tough of recent years and have had to evolve their strategies to combat ad blockers and decreasing impression rates. Digital advertising and remarketing has now turned to direct mail to convert customers to purchase. With sophisticated algorithms and the ability to track users’ browsing history, products can go from a wish list on the web to a DM flyer in their letterbox the following day. How could your customer possibly resist temptation when something they’ve coveted online comes directly to their hands?

Seamless Synchronisation

Digital marketing is seeing the benefits of direct mail and how it aligns with general marketing objectives. It’s easy to integrate the physical nature of DM with online CRM systems to conduct a more telling and sincere communication with customers and prospects. Nothing beats a birthday card in the post and only DM can convey the emotion to express true gratitude to key customers.

Semantics: Meaning of a word, phrase or text.

Though they come from the same discipline, direct mail and digital marketing are distant cousins rather than siblings in terms of terminology. They share a vocabulary, though depending on which camp you’re from you could be speaking the language with an accent. Each was founded on similar principles and they’ve since developed to suit the types of results each achieves. An open rate is one medium and means something completely different in the other, and response rates paint a different picture. Confused? We’ve lifted the mystery with our direct mail dictionary for digital natives; your comprehensive guide to the semantics of the world’s most powerful marketing tool.

DIGITAL SEMANTICS

Generally digital measurement is focused on the immediate, which lends itself to the nature of its lexicon. Here is a round-up of the most common terms you’ll encounter and in the next section a rundown of how they translate to direct mail.

Conversion rate: The number of desired actions resulting from email activity. For example, sales transactions, downloads or mailing list sign-ups.

Bounce rate: It is as it sounds and in either outcome the recipient never sees the email. A hard bounce rate is caused by incorrect email addresses or domain issues; a soft bounce rate is when there’s an issue with delivery such as a full inbox or server issues.

“DIGITAL: CONVERSION RATE - THE NUMBER OF DESIRED ACTIONS RESULTING FROM EMAIL ACTIVITY. FOR EXAMPLE, SALES TRANSACTIONS, DOWNLOADS OR MAILING LIST SIGN-UPS.”

Deliverability: The measure of an email campaign’s cutthrough. You should measure the returned email deliverability (volume of emails sent less the number of bounces) and inbox deliverability (volume of emails delivered to the inbox as opposed to the spam folder or not delivered).

Average unique open rate: How many emails were opened divided by the number of emails delivered.

Opt-out: The dreaded enemy; when a recipient opts out of further communications.

Response rate: The number of actual responses made as a result of the email campaign.

DIRECT MAIL SEMANTICS

In terms of semantics, there are subtle differences between the two and these largely depend on the way they’re consumed.

Conversion rate: In direct mail a conversion rate is the same as a response rate. Sales or information request, both forms of contact mean an interaction with your valuable customer.

Bounce rate: In direct mail a bounce rate means undelivered mail due to a change of address or a deceased individual. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. Expect a bounce rate of 1-5% depending on your data service.

Average unique open rate: According to Royal Mail the average unique open rate is about 90%. When you know most of your mail is guaranteed to be viewed, digital open rates tend to pale in comparison.

Opt-out: The Mail Preference Service registers those people who wish to Opt-out. A service that is updated monthly and saves wasted postage.

Response rate: The major difference between digital and print response rates reflect the number of sales or responses to an offer, which in virtually all instances is a sale i.e.conversion rates in digital is a response rate in direct mail.

“DIRECT MAIL: BOUNCE RATE - IN DIRECT MAIL A BOUNCE RATE MEANS UNDELIVERED MAIL DUE TO A CHANGE OF ADDRESS OR A DECEASED INDIVIDUAL. EXPECT 1%”

Knowing what each channel in marketing terms mean, not only gives you the vocabulary, but helps you to understand clearly what is happening with your results, both digitally and off-line. With the right set of tools you can competently recommend direct mail and watch your responses explode.

Madhuri Singh
Madhuri Singh

Relevant and applicable article that sets out the pros and cons for each channel

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