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Best-Practices and Tips for Integrating Direct Mail Into Email Marketing Campaigns

by Dennis Kelly, Nancy Harhut  |  
May 7, 2018

Laying the Groundwork

The following sets of stats, facts, and tips support the wisdom of integrating direct mail into email marketing campaigns.

The also provide some best-of-breed guidelines for effective ways to doing so.

Adding direct mail to email campaigns makes good economic sense:

  • Using the two channels results in an up to 35% lift vs. a single channel (source: IWCO).
  • 57% of Millennials have made purchases based on direct mail offers (source: USPS).

Direct mail brings advantages to a campaign:

  • People spend more time with physical advertising than digital (source: Temple University, USPS).
  • People have a stronger emotional response to physical ads and remember them better (source: Temple University, USPS).
  • Because direct mail is tactile, it's harder to ignore.
  • You can use QR Code barcodes, near-field communication (NFC), or augmented reality (AR) to link your direct mail piece to your digital campaigns.
  • Direct mail comes in a variety of sizes and formats that can be used to attract attention.
  • Direct mail offers additional real estate for delivering your marketing message.

Use these five tips for combining direct mail with email:

  1. Consider delivering critical information in both channels to reinforce the message and increase the likelihood it'll make an impact.
  2. Have each communication build on the previous one.
  3. Use direct mail to emphasize a key message or break up the expected routine.
  4. Ensure both email and direct mail adhere to the same graphic standards and reflect the same voice so each piece reinforces and extends your brand promise.
  5. Use direct mail to initiate a conversation with people whose email addresses you do not yet have, or with those who have repeatedly not responded to your emails.

Workflows for Common Marketing Campaign Goals

The following example campaign illustrates how you might combine direct mail and email into workflows to strategically accomplish key marcom goals:

  • Workflow name: "Skim the Cream" Lead Generation
  • Goal: Generate leads from paid or acquired email lists. Converting prospects into leads can be challenging. Factors that influence success include the quality of the prospect, the competitive environment, the fit of your solution, and the timeliness of your campaign.
  • Approach: Since these are prospects, start with email, which allows you to "skim the cream" with what is a more affordable channel. Then, use direct mail in your campaign to try to quickly convert holdouts on your list.

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Dennis Kelly is CEO of direct mail automation tool Postalytics, which helps customers improve their impact on pipeline and contribution to revenue. His roles span product development, sales, marketing, finance, and HR.

LinkedIn: Dennis Kelly

Twitter: @djkelly1

Nancy Harhut is chief creative officer at HBT Marketing, a boutique digital firm that specializes in the impact of behavioral science on marketing. She's directed integrated campaigns for B2B clients large and small.

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  • by Paul Mon May 7, 2018 via web

    How does USPS track or know that a millennial has converted and made a purchase? I'm confused on the "57% of Millennials have made purchases based on direct mail offers (source: USPS)."

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Mon May 7, 2018 via web

    Hi, Paul. That's a reference to a study by the USPS:

  • by Paul Mon May 7, 2018 via web

    Thank you for clarifying and sharing the link to the USPS study, Vahe!

  • by Paul Geller Mon May 7, 2018 via web

    Some great ideas there. One effective way to achieve the “surprise and delight” component is through our automated, handwritten cards solution. makes it easy to send handwritten notes and cards (you can even use your own handwriting). And you can easily automate our process by integrating it with your CRM or other software, such as Infusionsoft for marketing automation, or through our Zapier integration. Well-complements email and other digital efforts.

  • by Jasmyn Davis Wed May 9, 2018 via web

    This article makes many great points. I like that it exemplifies the importance of why direct mail is important in marketing. In addition, I like the statement that was made, "It is harder to ignore". Thanks for providing great tips on how to effectively utilize direct mail in marketing!

    Do you have any tips on utilizing direct mail to reach consumers that are of younger generations? In addition, what are your thoughts on including any type of promotional item with the direct mail?

  • by Nancy Tue May 15, 2018 via web

    Jasmyn, direct mail can work very well with younger targets because it's more novel for them. And adding something to the package -- either flat mail or dimensional - is a proven way to lift opening rates.

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