A tried and tested means of direct marketing is still print mailing (also: direct mail or just mailing). Even if at first glance this may seem a bit outdated in a digital world, mailing is still effective – even among younger buyers. A study by the United States Postal Service showed that 57 percent of all millennials (people born between the early 1980s and the 2000s) made purchases based on offers from print mailings. 91 percent consider advertising from direct mail to be trustworthy, and 87 percent even like to receive advertising in this form. However, print mailings can have an even better effect if it is combined with the innovations in the form of e-mail campaigns. We show you ways and means.

Advantages of mailings

Print mailings are associated with higher costs and cannot be produced as quickly and flexibly as digital mailings. Nevertheless, they have other valuable features that are not so easy to achieve with digital content. First of all, customers develop a greater emotional bond with physical ads, which makes it easier for them to remember advertising and content in the long term. One of the reasons for this is that print mailings are tactile, which makes them more difficult to ignore or can’t simply end up in SPAM filters. In addition, mailings offer the opportunity to choose from a variety of different sizes and shapes and thus stand out from the competition with real eye-catchers.

The right connection is key

If marketing on a channel works particularly well, this does not mean that you should cling to it. Rather, you should try to make it even better by using other communication channels.
There are channels that can be linked particularly well with each other. These include direct mailing and e-mail in particular, since both communication instruments are quite similar in a certain way and above all transport text and images, but both have their own peculiarities. While mailings are distinguished by the fact that they are regarded as more valuable, that they can be touched, and that they can therefore generate better emotionality, e-mail can score points with interactivity and the possibility of being able to transport any amount of content. However, the greatest advantage of e-mail may still be the tracking of customer behaviour, which shows which content appeals to which recipients and which products are of particular interest.
In addition, the digital can also be linked to the analog. Using techniques such as QR codes, barcodes, near-field communication (NFC) or augmented reality, analog mailings can be enriched with digital content, thus creating real added value for customers.
Modern e-mail marketing solutions today often offer integrated functions that enable print mailings to be created directly in the programs, personalized, graphically individualized and then sent to print in cooperation with print shops. With the option of personalizing unaddressed mailings, they are no longer necessarily mass-produced items. If desired, automated and immediate responses to triggers in the Customer Journey are also possible. A good system decides independently and automatically on the basis of data how a customer should be addressed in which situation via which channels. For print mailings, the applications include personalized mailings, shopping cart follow-ups, reactivations, welcome routes, loyalty campaigns, and birthday mailings. We have already explained the use cases mentioned in more detail in a previous blog post.

The following five tips can help you to link analog and digital content correctly:

  1. Be sure to communicate the critical information through both channels to ensure that the message you want to convey is understood by the customer. Of course, the content they convey should always be different, not just redundant. However, the core of their communication should be consistent and thus contribute to branding. Branding can be especially important in the long term and can be a real competitive advantage – especially in saturated markets – because a strong brand usually leads to higher conversion rates. Do not only use a uniform design but also try to emphasize your unique selling points, such as a special service or an exceptionally simple order processing, so that these attributes are also linked to your brand.
  2. Always build your messages on previous messages to tell a consistent story that is as memorable as possible for the customer. In the long run, you can influence the perception of your brand by your customers and ensure that the right image is consolidated in the minds of your customers. In particular, regular, but not overly penetrating, contact plays a central role in keeping customers in mind without being too intrusive.
  3. Use the mailings to underline the key points of your communication and to “break out” of the simple and routine e-mail communication! Many companies only choose one or the other. Far too rarely, cross-channel communication is also used, especially in the interaction of online and offline communication. With the use of other channels, however, you have the opportunity to break through the familiar and to remind the customer in a different way.
  4. Make sure that both the communication of your e-mails and the designs and layouts used in your print mailings create a uniform image and thus guarantee the recognition value of your communication and the association with your product. Branding is extremely important. Whether online or offline, the customer should often be able to recognize which brand it is by the coloring alone. However, companies often make the mistake that online and offline communication differ so much from each other that one gets the impression that they are no longer one and the same company.
  5. In addition, you can use print mailings to start communicating with potential customers whose e-mail addresses you do not know, who have not responded to repeated e-mail communications, or from whom you lack other data or consent. An example of only some of the business contacts is also the e-mail address known or there is no opt-in. The solution: a print mailing with a personalized link. By entering the URL, the contact gets to his profile page, can update his data and enter an e-mail address along with an opt-in. But be careful: a double opt-in is still necessary after the update has been completed, despite the personalised link.

Bottom line

Be versatile. Use different channels to reach the customer in as many ways as possible. However, make sure you are consistent in content layout. If you take this into account, direct mail can be a great way to link online and offline communication. Print can serve as a bridge into the digital world. Print can also serve as a door opener for further communication, especially if no e-mail address for your lead has previously been stored in your customer base.