Integrating Online Marketing with Direct Mail Works
While online marketing continues to grow in popularity, direct mail continues to offer great power in reaching customers and prospects. When you bring the two together, you get an unbeatable lead-building combination.
In an age of emails, tweets, and instant messages, some people might assume that online media is replacing traditional direct mail but that is not the case.In fact, direct mail remains a powerful tool partly because of the Internet.
Savvy marketers are integrating their direct mail with their online marketing to give more pop to each - creating a powerful tag-team on and offline.
Here are some keys to getting the combo right:
PURL, or Personalized URL, is a unique landing page that is created for each recipient and printed on the direct mail. When the recipient logs onto the URL, he or she can be greeted by name or other personal information pulled from your database – a powerful way to snag someone’s attention.
"According to the Direct Marketing Association, 33 percent of consumers go online to respond to a direct mail," explains Deborah Simpson, president of Multi-Craft, a marketing support and print solutions company based in the Cincinnati area.
"PURL builds that into your campaign and leads the target exactly where you want them to go online–and unlike plain email or even other online platforms, PURLs are easy to track. You can easily determine response rates by following who visited their PURL and took action."
If you put a Quick Response Code, better known as a QR code, on your direct mail, the recipient need only point a smart phone at the barcode to be taken to the desired URL. Keep in mind QR codes only work with mobile devices.
"If you link your QR code to a site that is not mobile optimized, you just wasted your time (and worse: your potential client/customer’s time)," says Josh Mabus, a marketing consultant in Tupelo, Mississippi, who specializes in building academic recruiting programs for colleges and universities.
"I’ve seen this more times than you would believe: you click the QR code with your phone, and the site you visit isn’t navigable on a mobile device either because of bad design or poor planning."
Intelligent Mail Barcodes provide the shortest description of individual tracking codes for each direct mail piece. Mabus uses this tracking to coordinate email blasts with the arrival of direct mail pieces.
An email message will go out that says: "Joe, be sure to watch your mailbox today for important information from XYZ University. We know you’ve got a lot of information to go through in choosing your college. You can go ahead and start your experience with XYZ University at yourname.xyzuniversity.com."
When the mail arrives the same day as promised, Mabus says, "This has given a tremendous boost to both the open rate in emails and the response rate to emails."
While integrated campaigns leverage the best parts of online and offline marketing, they don’t change the basics of effective communications. In both cases, the messages must be direct and compelling and understand the needs of the intended audience. The campaigns must be tested and retested to see what works.