Classic marketing, much like the sport of boxing, is rooted in discipline, repetition and hard work. You may recall the phrase used when boxer Muhammad Ali was marketing his fight with George Foreman: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.” This statement also rings true for any single marketing tactic: it may come close, but often doesn’t score any knockouts.
You may also remember how many postcards, flyers and letters your friendly mailman delivered to your parent’s house. You probably got a kick out of hearing your father call it “junk, junk and more junk,” throwing the mail away before he even opened it, as if he had X-ray vision.
Historically, however, direct mail has delivered a powerful punch to build brands and increase sales. A good example is AOL, a company that went public in 1992 with fewer than 200,000 subscribers. Within 10 years, they reached over 25 million subscribers. In 1998, with the launch of AOL 4.0, AOL used all of the worldwide production of CDs for two straight weeks. Not a single music CD or Microsoft CD was produced at that time. Looking back on AOL’s first large mailing program in the spring/summer of 1993, Jan Brandt, AOL’s former Chief Marketing Officer, said, “The average response to that mailing was a staggering 10% – unheard of in direct marketing – or any marketing circle.”
While today’s consumer is still influenced by direct mail, many marketing executives today believe that it’s too costly and can’t be targeted well enough to reach only their ideal prospects. Not to mention, the same “junk mail” stereotype exists today.
Based on my experience, the ideal marketing strategy leverages the best of both print and digital. This “sting like a bee” strategy delivers a one-two punch that makes your marketing message heard repeatedly and more cost-effectively.
At our agency, we pair all of our direct mail campaigns with digital advertising that uses the identical demographic data. Using these demographic and behavioral statistics from your digital marketing tactics can help you to refine the focus of your direct mail. When done correctly, it is the marketing equivalent of boxing’s classic one-two combination. We call our product “My Face,” a play on Facebook’s name since we pair their advertising demographic and behavioral targeting with our own direct mail refinements. The client simply sets a monthly budget and we take it from there, delivering their message to their ideal prospects via mailbox and social feeds. We also like to throw email marketing in the mix.
By doing so, prospects see an ad in their mailbox, inbox and social media feed. Using cross-media tactics produces an exponentially better response rate, typically 25% or higher than direct mail alone, based on my agency’s findings. You also gain more qualified leads as well as increased traffic to your website and social media platforms, thus resulting in greater exposure to your business. Digging into the data available allows you to learn more about your customers so you can then optimize future campaigns.
If you’re seeking out the help of an agency to help you with these tactics, make sure its team has experience with refining print campaigns and creating digital advertising. If you’d like to try it yourself, use Facebook’s custom audience tools paired with your direct mailing list to reach the same prospects both ways.
Your business likely has current and inactive customer records that you can compile into a database. Use the emails in this database to run a Facebook “lookalike audience” ad, which will help you reach a new audience whose demographics are similar to your existing one. You might even want to try using a Facebook lead gen ad tied to a landing page of gated content so you can capture very targeted, qualified emails and mailing addresses.
The businesses that ascend above the competition stay on top of trends while also leveraging proven best practices. Combined with digital marketing tactics to create a one-two punch, direct mail will no longer be perceived as the useless junk clogging your audience’s mailboxes.