You’ve probably been told over and over again to invest big in email marketing. It has been positioned as something of a holy grail of marketing, typically accompanied with phrases such as “guaranteed results” and “deep customer engagement.”
While it’s true that email marketing delivers results when used correctly, it’s not the only effective approach to marketing and engagement. And despite all the promises that technology makes, Australians still appreciate a good quality mail flyer.
With email marketing, a customer signs up to a company’s mailing list, and the company then periodically emails everyone on that list with special offers, new products, and other informative content. With direct mail, companies will craft a physical pamphlet or other printed material which is then sent to all addresses in a street, suburb, or city.
The differences between these marketing channels are quite obvious, but what benefits can you derive from mailing out those flyers when it is (in theory, anyway) so much cheaper to simply send an email?
1. You don’t need to get a sign-up first
Email marketing only really works if you’ve already captured the attention of the person you’re targeting. You need to get them to sign up to the email list and consent to receiving information from your company, meaning that they’re very likely to already be a customer.
Direct mail, meanwhile, allows you to provide your content to everyone by simply going letterbox dropping. As such, it’s a much better medium to target customer acquisition.
2. Direct mail lasts longer and gets more attention
People get so many emails that the average lifespan of an email is just two seconds, and studies show that only 44 percent of people can recall a brand after seeing a digital advertisement (such as through an email). On the other hand, a direct mail letter or pamphlet has an average lifespan of seventeen days, and results in brand recall in 75 percent of people. Clearly, direct mail gives you a much better cut through to your audience.
3. Direct mail can be passed around
If you come up with a killer piece of content – one that’s fun, informative, or simply offers some incredible value to consumers – people are naturally going to want to share it around. And because direct mail has a physical presence, it’s much more shareable than an email. This means your direct mail campaign will have a larger total reach than if it was sent by email, and in effect the people you’ve given the mail-out to will become brand advocates for your business.
People also may have an emotional attachment to something that has arrived physically at their house, and this makes them more likely to take it seriously.
4. Direct mail is much more versatile
You can get very creative with direct mail, both in terms of the design of the mail itself, and the content within it. The perception that digital mail is somehow divorced from technology is greatly inaccurate, too; by using QR codes, discount codes that can be redeemed on websites, and so on, you can use the direct mail as a step towards further digital engagement (including email list sign-ups).
You’ll also get a truer sense of the engagement behind your campaign. With email, a person who opens the email or even clicks on one of the offers within it isn’t necessarily engaged with your brand. But if they take the time to scan a QR code, or visit a website printed on the direct mail, you know that person is highly engaged. From that analytics data you can gauge the effectiveness of the campaign.
5. There’s less competition
One of the greatest advantages of direct mail is that your competitors probably aren’t using it. Just about every brand is actively using email and other digital engagement tools, but fewer are looking at direct mail campaigns. This gives you the opportunity to position your brand in isolation and free of rivals, providing you with a monopoly on your customer’s attention.
Choose direct mail
Being successful with a direct mail campaign requires that you understand it. With email, being quick and to the point is key; when you’ve only got two seconds of your customer’s time, you can’t waste any of it. With direct mail, however, there’s the expectation that the content will be highly engaging, and a kind of “value add”. Consumers will expect to spend some time reading and digesting the material, so make sure that your content is highly engaging and interesting.
The best marketing campaigns utilise a blend of mediums and platforms to reach customers on their terms. Often, direct mail and physical material is the piece of the puzzle that’s left out, and in terms of customer acquisition and ensuring your marketing campaign has longevity, it’s possibly the most important one of all.
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