Direct Mail and Email: Direct Response Marketing’s Power Couple

In today’s multi-marketing channel universe, it isn’t always easy to determine whether direct mail or email is the better delivery method for your offer…or should even be considered. Both have their pros and cons. But if you think you need to pick one over the other, think again.

We don’t play favorites here. Many times, direct mail and email are better together. Working as a team—a power couple—they can generate more leads for your campaign than either one can do on its own. Let’s find out why. And explore what it takes to successfully integrate both direct mail and email into one happy, powerful campaign.

Offline + Online = The Perfect Pair
According to marketing firm Proactive, customers spend 25% more when a business uses a mix of direct mail and email marketing. That’s because each brings its own set of strengths to the table. With it’s tangible, personal, straight-to-the-mailbox approach, direct mail…

  • Gives recipients something to hold on to and spend time with
  • Enjoys much higher response rates than digital channels
  • Builds brand trust and legitimacy
  • And, yes, gets around inbox overload

On the flip side, digital, quick, and convenient email is…

  • The most responsive and measurable of all digital media
  • Exceptionally easy to create
  • Relatively affordable to deploy
  • Interactive and mobile

Didn’t Aristotle say the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? Using a combination of direct mail and email bring you all of these advantages—and more. You also get all the benefits of running integrated, multi-channel campaign, including greater brand visibility, a reinforced message across touch-points, and…wait for it…more opportunities for people to respond to your offer.

Hit Them With your Best Shot, Twice
Here are our best practices for developing an effective campaign that leverages direct mail and email:

Build Your List. Targeting customers using direct mail and email gives you the perfect opportunity to optimize your lists. Take your postal mail contact list and add emails using an email append service. And do a reverse email append, where you take your email list and get a mailing address associated with each email. Of course, you might as well update, de-dupe, and standardize your lists while you’re at it. Learn more in 3 Reasons To Clean Up Your Data Files Pronto.

Be Consistent. An integrated campaign gives you the opportunity to connect with customers in more than one way. Yet it’s important they’re seeing essentially “the same things” with each communication so your brand, message, and offer are recognizable across channels. The same creative elements (colors, images, tones) should be reflected in both your direct mail piece and email, and each should ask customers to take a call-to-action toward the same offer. If your mailer offers 15% savings, your email should offer 15% savings. Otherwise, you’ll just confuse people—and that will hurt response rates.

Stagger Delivery. Plan your direct mail and email drops strategically. Ideally, recipients will receive their mailing first and see an email shortly thereafter. That way, they have time to review and digest the direct mail message and offer. The email can serve as a handy reminder or an effective “memory jog” if they haven’t acted on your CTA yet. And if they missed the direct mail piece, the email will their first exposure to your offer—one they otherwise missed, right? It might make sense to follow up with additional postal mailings or emails, depending on your campaign goals.

Track Carefully. Make sure you know which channel drove response by providing your direct mail and email with unique URLs and/or phone numbers. By seeing which channel drove the most action, you learn more about your audience and how they want to work with you! Get more detail in Measuring the Success of an Omnichannel Direct Response Marketing Campaign.

But be careful—you won’t necessarily know how the integrated approach may have influenced response. A person may have read your direct mail piece but replied via email (or vice versa). Consider the campaign results as a whole and assess how it performed. If you are a direct response purist, you may want to test a single-channel campaign against a direct mail/email multi-channel campaign.

If you’d like to integrate your next direct response marketing campaign—and use a combination of direct mail, email, or other digital channels, be sure to contact us.