How Does Direct Mail Campaign Work in 2023
In the rapidly evolving digital marketing landscape, traditional methods like direct mail seem outdated. But that’s not quite true. Contrary to this perception, direct mail campaigns have survived and thrived in 2023. In fact, they continue to provide a valuable marketing strategy for businesses and marketers to reach their desired audience tangibly and memorably.
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The Resilience of Direct Mail in the Digital Age
In the face of digital marketing’s dominance, direct mail has upheld its significance thanks to its distinct attributes. In an era flooded with digital advertisements, a physical piece of mail stands out, capturing your prospect’s attention in a unique way. Additionally, the world is moving towards greener and more sustainable practices, and direct mail helps you do that. We’ll show you how later in this article.
A report by the Advertising Association, WARC, revealed that direct mail is a popular marketing tool for all age groups, especially young folks. Technological advancements in printing technology, such as Variable data printing, have enabled more personalized and visually appealing mail pieces, enhancing the overall impact.
What Makes Direct Mail Campaigns Popular in 2023?
As 2022 rolled in, marketers were pressured to “talk the talk” and showcase the real ROI to the C-suite. Since then, direct mail campaigns have gained popularity for several reasons despite the growth of digital marketing channels.
According to the State of direct mail report by Lob, most (74%) of marketers believed that direct mail provided the highest return on investment (ROI) compared to other channels.
Here are some factors that contribute to their continued success:
● Data-Driven Personalization
One of the primary reasons direct mail remains effective is its ability to incorporate data-driven personalization.
In 2023, businesses rely on sophisticated prospect data to create highly tailored mail pieces. This personalization goes beyond simply addressing the prospect by name. Now, it has extended to presenting relevant offers with the help of technology, like a custom QR Code created using a reliable QR Code generator or personalized notes, product recommendations, etc.
For example, The Travis Manion Foundation, a group that helps veterans, used a direct mail campaign strategy to send personalized thank-you letters to donors.
● Integration With Digital Channels
As the old adage goes, “The medium is primarily the message.” When a business claims to care about the environment but sends mail that harms it, people notice the inconsistency. While direct mail is a physical medium, its effectiveness is amplified when integrated with digital channels.
Marketers often include QR Codes, personalized URLs (PURLs), or social media handles in their mail pieces, enabling prospects to smooth the transition from physical mail to online interactions. This integration provides a comprehensive and cohesive prospect experience that bridges offline and online engagement.
For example, Cadbury changed its yearly tradition of sending a chocolate bar as a Christmas gift in 2022. They used QR Codes on outdoor posters to create their ‘virtual postal service.’
● Enhanced Tracking and Analytics
In 2023, direct mail campaigns have adopted technologies for better tracking and analytics. Marketers can now track their mail pieces’ delivery and response rates, gaining insights into which strategies yield the best results.
These insights enable data-driven decision-making, helping businesses refine their direct mail strategies over time. And once again, the most prominent technology used here for this is QR Codes.
For example, Coca-Cola used QR Codes in its direct mail campaigns and promotional materials for its products to gauge the success of its campaigns.
● Multi-Channel Campaigns
Successful marketing strategies in 2024 embrace a multi-channel approach. Direct mail fits seamlessly into these strategies, complementing digital efforts such as email marketing, social media, and paid advertising.
By incorporating direct mail into a multi-channel campaign, businesses can reinforce their brand message and increase the chances of reaching their target audience.
Subsequently, Subway, a fast-food chain, devised a clever idea to customize rewards for each franchise branch. They used particular mail with a QR Code that could be scanned. This code made their ‘Little Book of Big Savings’ different for every branch, giving extra rewards to prospects in those areas.
● Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Practices
Direct mail campaigns have adapted to meet sustainability expectations in an environmentally conscious era. Many businesses opt for eco-friendly materials, responsible printing processes, and even offer recycling instructions in their mail pieces. This environmental consideration enhances the brand’s reputation and resonates positively with recipients.
An excellent example is when Norris Media, a marketing agency, ran a direct mail campaign to show prospects the environmental impact of digital ad campaigns. After assessing the carbon footprint of 500 views on a specific brand’s Facebook (Meta) ad, they sent a package containing charcoal equal to that footprint to a select group of CEOs. They also included a handwritten letter and a printed copy of the ad.
The letter clarified Norris Media’s actions and offered ways for the brand to collaborate to reduce its digital operations’ carbon footprint.
3 Strategies to Enhance Your Direct Mail Campaign
With a carefully crafted approach, businesses can use direct mail to engage customers, build relationships, and drive conversions. But how? Here are three strategies that can help you invest your money wisely now and plan for the future:
1. Target the Right Audience With Accurate Data
Data is crucial in direct mail. It’s like a puzzle that needs creativity and science to fit together. As costs rise, the old “spray-and-pray” approach isn’t practical.
Here’s what you can do:
- Ensure your data is accurate by cleaning up names and addresses.
- Use USPS’s National Change of Address (NCOA) database to update mailing details or other global postal address institutes in your respective countries.
- Depending on your campaign, fill in data gaps. For instance, consider third-party sources if you need physical addresses for digital visitors.
- With solid data, apply metrics to identify segments most likely to buy.
- Use your budget to decide which groups to target and through which channels.
- Tailor your messages to different audience segments.
2. Create Omnichannel Touchpoints
Today’s prospect journey involves various channels working together. Direct mail, email, and social media can trigger each other. Finding the best approach for ROI depends on your goals and budget. Consumers expect brands to be present in multiple channels. A data-driven omnichannel strategy helps you slot direct mail effectively.
Tips to create omnichannel touchpoints:
- Use printed materials as they are tactile and activate touch points differently than other mediums.
- Create QR Codes, personalized URLs, or phone numbers to encourage visits or interactions.
- Use mail-in automated campaigns for a personal touch post-website visits or actions.
3. Adapt, Offer Solutions and Optimize Cost
Flexibility is key. With disruptions to supply chains and cost increases for materials, think creatively rather than cutting back on direct mail. You can achieve the same results with innovative material choices.
Here’s what you can do to embrace direct mail campaigns while making it cost-friendly:
- Consider using lighter paper or your printer’s stock.
- Streamline envelopes or replace them with folded self-mailers or jumbo postcards.
- Standard No. 10 envelopes are easier to find, but adding unique inks or finishes can make them stand out.
- Plan early to secure materials and lower costs.
- Rethinking your design while keeping relevance in mind might reduce your expenses.
Embrace Direct Mail Campaign – A Timeless Approach for Modern Marketing Success
As surprising as it may seem, direct mail campaigns are far from obsolete in 2023. Instead, they have evolved to seamlessly integrate with modern marketing practices, offering a unique and memorable way to connect with target audiences.
Businesses can use direct mail to achieve remarkable results in their marketing efforts by using data-driven personalization, digital integration, enhanced tracking, and sustainability practices.
In a world saturated with digital noise, the tactile experience of direct mail continues to make a lasting impression, proving that sometimes, the classics are timeless for a reason.
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