Smooth Transitions: Leveraging Traditional Direct Mail in Today’s Digital World

As the Internet, smartphones, social media and other technologies transformed the world over the past couple of decades, marketers continually proclaimed how with these technologies, businesses with products to sell simply couldn’t afford to stay with the steam engine of television and print advertising.

People didn’t need to look at advertisements when they had TiVo; they didn’t look at print advertising because print media was dead. Search engine optimization, content marketing and social media marketing were everything, they said.

What happens when you drink the Kool-Aid?

It’s interesting to note what happened with the biggest company to believe in the “new world order” of marketing. Pepsi was the largest investor in the world in social media marketing at one point.

When they launched their Pepsi Refresh social media project to gave away millions in prizes, it failed so badly, the company lost hundreds of millions, and its position as the number two fizzy drink in America (it now places third after Diet Coke).

Modern advertising methods offer value; but only when used with the traditional methods

The truth is that there’s something deeply right about traditional advertising. Any business that wishes to abandon it for more modern methods is in practically uncharted waters. Search, social, email and other methods are undeniably important; they work as part of a multi-pronged approach that builds on the strengths of traditional methods, though.

It doesn’t get any more traditional than direct mail

Direct mail in businesses is still one of the most effective ways of getting a message through to potential buyers. Not only is it cheap, it tends to produce $25 in return on every dollar spent. As impressive as it sounds, email marketing produces better returns; nevertheless, direct mail is an important pillar of any marketing plan.

It helps lay down benchmarks for use in new marketing plans, and offers retailers an excellent way to help establish the link in buyers’ minds between the retail store and the online store. Research has found that one in two of those who receive direct mail are motivated to visit the advertiser’s website.

Ideas for how direct mail can help promote online business

Small businesses these days use direct mail to send out Christmas cards with QR codes. Sometimes, these tend to be very small campaigns done in-house. The marketing department uses the best printer for envelopes and cards that they can afford, and puts out truly professional results. The results tend to be phenomenal. QR codes make results easy to track on Google Analytics.

Direct mail helps build mailing lists

Email marketing works very well when you have a properly compiled mailing list. Direct mail marketing can be an excellent way of coming by such a list — mail can be sent out to entire neighborhoods, after all. Such mail can be designed to request online sign-ups. When people do sign up, their email addresses can go on to help in the creation of a successful email campaign.

Direct mail tends to be particularly relevant today at a time of electronic communication overload. It tends to feel fresher and more personal. It might be somewhat more expensive than email marketing; it tends to offer more precise targeting, though.

Kimberly Barnes works as a marketing consultant. She likes writing about her insights on the web. You can find her posts on many business blogs.


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