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Published: 07.26.2022

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Research, Trends, and Insights

Don’t Limit Your Customer Impact—Direct Mail and Digital Advertising are Better Together

In an increasingly digital world, physical marketing still leaves its mark.

How to reach out to current and potential customers is a complex and evolving question. 30 years ago, there were fewer answers to that question, namely direct mail. Now, digital advertising is also a common tool advertisers use. It’s hardly a stretch of the imagination to guess that some people receive upwards of 1,000 marketing emails every single day, and that number only skyrockets when you take into account social media ads, targeted ads, remarketing ads, etc. It would take one massive mailbox to get even a fraction of that number in physical mail.

When you’re weighing what route you want to take with your marketing efforts, it’s inevitable that you’ll run into the question of physical vs. digital—which one will reach the most people, which one will have the greatest return on investment, which one will help you grow your business?

Direct Mail Response Rates Remain King

Despite—or possibly because of—the oversaturation of digital advertising in today’s world, direct mail boasts considerably higher response rates than any form of digital advertising. According to a report from the Association of National Advertisers, direct mail marketing had a 9% response rate compared to a 1% response rate for email, social media, and paid search. With quality design and smart targeting, direct mail boasts undeniable value, even with our eyes glued to our screens.

Cut Costs Through Digital Marketing

There’s a key reason why digital marketing is far more common to see today: the price tag. Material and manufacturing costs aren’t insignificant, and missing the mark with a poorly planned mail campaign can be expensive. Digital advertising removes all costs associated with that physical production, allowing for your budget to go towards hitting a wider range of people and markets. The comparatively cheap cost of digital marketing also leads to a likely increase in ROI, further contributing to its popularity.

How Digital Advancements Changed Direct Mail Marketing

While digital marketing options opened a new world of possibilities, direct mail marketing has not remained stagnant or unchanged over the past few years. For example:

  • Tracking your direct mail’s effectiveness with digital tools like QR codes printed on the physical good you’re sending out
  • Improved refinement of mailing lists to cut down on and eliminate duplicate and outdated addresses
  • Advanced analysis of tracking activity to create detailed and customized reports
  • And more

Merging digital capabilities with the possibilities of a direct mail campaign is a key part of any quality omnichannel marketing strategy that weighs and addresses the weaknesses of both the physical and digital sides of advertising.

Digital Fatigue Can Impact Your Online Campaigns

Ever since COVID-19 pushed most of the planet into varying levels of lockdown, digital fatigue became a key area of focus for people from all walks of life. One key area, referred to as ‘Zoom fatigue’ after the popular video conferencing app, was a noted phenomenon as early as one month into the first wave of the virus.

This fatigue extends past the time we spend staring at ourselves in little boxes during classes and meetings. Staring at an intangible digital space for hours on end isn’t easy to do day after day, but it’s where we spend much of our time.

It would be foolish to ignore these spaces, but finding a way to balance digital advertising with advertising in tangible, physical spaces can leave an impression. A well-crafted postcard, mailer, or other physical good can have a lasting impact no cluster of pixels on a screen can match.

Omnichannel Marketing Helps Meet Your Customers Where They Are

A key part of any successful marketing campaign is to position yourself in the most convenient place for your desired customers to come across. This means both online through a digital campaign and in their mailboxes with a direct mail campaign—combining the two will help you more than either could as a single campaign. Exploring every potential avenue to get in front of your customers is core to any good omnichannel marketing strategy—digital options let you hit a wider swath of people, while direct mail marketing lets you target people you think are prime candidates to take the next step in the purchasing process.

Combining the reach of a digital campaign with the effectiveness of direct mail marketing is only one part of a data-centric, omnichannel strategy, giving you the power to know more and do more. Dig deeper into how local search can benefit your business, or let’s talk about how to achieve more for your marketing—and your business.