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Why You Should Integrate Online Marketing and Direct Mail

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It would be great if online marketing—websites, pay-per-click, email, etc.—were all you needed to get the most out of your business's marketing plan, but that just isn't the case. Could you make it work? Sure. But you'd be leaving money on the table—money that could be brought in, say, with a strategic postcard campaign.

Deliver magazine recently published a statistic: Customers who received a printed catalog spent more meaningful time on the company's website and purchased 28% more on average than customers who did not receive a catalog. And that held for every age category.

So, when people say the Internet and social media have made direct mail obsolete, I can't help but strongly disagree. Though not a silver bullet, a direct mail campaign that's strategically and consistently applied will deliver results.

The truth is that to have the most effective marketing strategy possible, you will need direct mail and online marketing working in tandem. A successful direct mail marketing campaign drives traffic to your website or landing page, where you prompt prospects to fill out a form, thus capturing a lead. But if you are using only online marketing like pay-per-click advertising, you may have a prospect's attention only for a split second before they click on your competitor's ad.

The key is integration.


Integrate Offline and Online

Here are three examples of how postcards and online marketing can work together to help you build your business.

1. Use postcards to point prospects to a landing page

There is just no better way to ensure your prospects see exactly what you want them to see than a well-designed landing page. It makes your sale (offer, special, etc.) the only information available. On your homepage, there are many distractions that can interrupt the sales process. Use landing pages to guide a prospect through the sales cycle. Never leave them to wander aimlessly.

2. Follow up with online leads using Google's Remarketing

Once you drive prospects to a landing page or your website, you want to follow up with them, because not every lead will close right away. The easiest way to do so is with a new service from Google: remarketing. Activating it with your AdWords account allows you to have your ads follow prospects around the Internet once they visit your site. After they navigate away from your site, your ad will appear to them anywhere they go on the Google marketing network, which includes thousands of sites, including big names like dictionary.com and CNN.com.

3. Collect email addresses with a postcard campaign

You want email addresses for your leads because email provides an extremely affordable way to stay in front of customers and prospects alike. Also, it is an excellent way to follow up with leads who opt in to your mailing list. The combination of email and Google remarketing follow-up provides excellent exposure for your company and increases your close percentage.

The Benefits of Direct

Here are two major benefits you get from direct mail that you won't get from a solely Web-based strategy.

1. Targeting your ideal customer

You can compile a mailing list based on a model of your current best customers. You are able to filter results by age, gender, income level—almost anything—and by doing so, you are putting your ad in front of prequalified leads.

2. More prospects reading your message

As great as online marketing strategies are, the fact is that email and online advertisements are opened at much lower rates than direct mail postcards. A direct mail piece, even if it does find its way into the trash can, stands a much better chance of getting its headline read by your target audience. The more consistently you mail, the more likely you are to increase awareness of your business.

* * *

The Internet will never be able to compete with direct mail in terms of targeting a specific audience and gaining superior exposure, and direct mail can't always offer the cost-efficiency that online platforms provide for staying in touch with prospective clients. When both are used hand-in-hand, they can increase the efficiency of your marketing plan and help you get the most out of your budget.


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Joy Gendusa is the founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a marketing firm that specializes in direct mail, email, and website development. She used postcards to grow PostcardMania from almost nothing—just a computer—to a $20 million enterprise in less than a decade. Download her free "95-Step Total Marketing Checklist." Find her on Google+.

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Comments

  • by Amy Fowler Mon Aug 6, 2012 via web

    While I agree that for lots of people, direct mail can work, there's also a lot of people opposed to it, so I think you need to be extra careful who you deliver the mail to, and ensure the mail piece brings as much value as possible.

    Along the same sentiment, you say this 'The more consistently you mail, the more likely you are to increase awareness of your business.'

    Which I completely disagree with. Well yes, they'll probably be very aware of you, but, send people too much mail and they *will* get annoyed. I've actually sworn off ever using a particular company due to their aggressive and completely unnecessary use of direct mail.

    You have to find a balance - sending out the odd *excellent* mail shot occasionally is (in my opinion) likely to be more effective than regularly sending out mediocre pieces.

  • by Amy-Lynn Wed Aug 8, 2012 via web

    You really need to know your customers to find the right balance. I work in a traditionally "Technology Impaired" industry, so direct mail is absolutely critical for us and we spend the majority of our marketing budget on that.

  • by Joy Gendusa Wed Aug 8, 2012 via web

    From my experience of mailing for over 53,000 companies your particular complaint although totally valid for you is not the general consensus. Statistically people are opposed to receiving a direct mail piece less than any other form of marketing. The reason being they choose when to view it. Unlike other forms of marketing where you are forced to see it - tv commercials, email, billboards.

  • by Caleb Herrick Tue Sep 11, 2012 via web

    @Amy Fowler - the article makes an emphasis on targeting. Along with targeting comes testing. The company you disavowed likely did not test different approaches. Like the online world - you use different AIDA (capture attention, hold interest, create desire, call to action).
    Maybe a free report, maybe a free gift, or a promotion of an event, local or for a specific platform.
    Once a person responds, or becomes a sale, then you move them from the prospecting list to current client list. Hopefully then you follow up by email, text or social platform.
    Think of it this way - besides going viral, implementing systemized referral processes and joint ventures - what more systematic targeted and scaleable thing is there?
    Its very much a push-rather than the pull of social media that is definitely a must for the future. But this can help the proactive company enter into a market quicker and more efficiently. (Think of a sideways sales letter, or integrating a "7 Secret Tips for..." getting the most out of the business you choose - whether its us or not.

  • by Alyona Fri Sep 14, 2012 via web

    I think we must be carefully using post direct mail. Of course, some people (like me) are opposed to receiving a post direct mail. We have to know our audience very well, sometimes it is better to use email marketing. It depends on kind of business (b2b, b2c), audience preferences and many other factors. In any case we have to make an integrated marketing activity.

  • by Cathlyn Tue Mar 12, 2013 via web

    Taking advantage of both marketing strategies will give you better market exposure. Even though an old strategy, direct mail does still matter especially if done well and integrated effectively in an online marketing campaign. Read this article to see some great examples of direct mail: http://printingjournal.blogspot.com/2013/02/10-amazing-examples-of-inspirat...

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