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3 Ways to Integrate Digital and Direct Mail In Your Next Marketing Campaign



11.23.2023

If you’re a marketer, you know firsthand how quickly the marketing landscape shifts. But as algorithms update and trends come and go, there’s one tried and true traditional marketing tactic that has stood the test of time—and that’s direct mail marketing.

In a marketplace driven by digital experiences, direct mail alone may not give you the results you’re looking for. However, research shows that integrating direct mail with more modern digital marketing and data-driven strategies can create powerful campaigns. In fact, people pay 39% more attention to integrated direct mail and digital campaigns than they do to single-media digital campaigns. Just imagine the impact that could have on your campaign results and ROI!

TL;DR — Integrating digital marketing and data-informed strategies with direct mail can enhance the effectiveness of both. To get your creative marketing gears turning, here are three innovative ways to merge digital and physical for maximum impact, including:

1) Personalized URLs and QR Codes

One of the most effective ways to integrate digital marketing into direct mail is by using Personalized URLs (PURLs) or QR codes. These tools create a seamless transition from a physical mail piece to a digital platform. Here’s how it works:

  • PURLs: These are unique, personalized web addresses included in your direct mail piece. When a recipient types this URL into their browser, they're taken to a highly personalized landing page that might greet them by name and offer tailored content or special deals based on their preferences or past interactions with your brand.

  • QR Codes: These are scannable codes printed on your mail piece. While QR codes have been overused in some aspects of marketing, print materials are where they really shine. When scanned with a smartphone, they direct the recipient to a specific web page. This could be a promotional video, a sign-up form, or a special offer.

Neighbourhood Mailer

Using PURLs or QR codes allows you to track engagement levels and gather data on your audience’s preferences, which couldn’t be achieved without the digital aspects of the campaign. These methods provide real-time insights on landing page visitors and conversions, so you can more accurately measure the ROI of your integrated marketing campaign. That’s a major win!

Using QR Codes on Neighbourhood Mail

Neighbourhood Mail™ is one of three categories of direct mail marketing offered by Canada Post. Because it targets generalized neighbourhoods or regions, it’s ideal for mass awareness campaigns if you’re looking to acquire new customers.

If you live in Canada, you likely receive Neighbourhood Mail™ often because it is the least targeted and most economical option of the three. Whether it’s your local pizza shop or home hardware store, small businesses often send postcards or pamphlets via Neighbourhood Mail™. To streamline the customer experience, they’ll add a QR code to lead the customer back online without having to type in a URL manually.

Next time you check the mail, see if you can find a piece of direct mail with a QR code on it and let us know—do you think this tactic is effective?

2) Leveraging Customer Data for Targeting

From your social media accounts to past order addresses—your marketing team is sitting on a goldmine of customer data and insights. Leveraging these insights, you can create highly targeted direct mail campaign lists to significantly increase the relevance and impact of your mailer. Here's how:

Analyze your audience

Dive into your audience insights to better understand their preferences, interests, and buying habits. This could include demographic data including household income, locations, age and marital status. But depending on the nature of your business, you could also go deeper into things like the type of car they own, whether they like to take winter vacations, or whether they live in an older home.

How is all this relevant? Well, you’ll have to read on to find out.

Find similar customers

Say you own a roofing business and you want to send marketing messages only to areas where people live in older homes that may need new roofing. Or perhaps you’re an auto dealer looking to sell more inventory of pre-owned cars. By segmenting your data to give you a list of customers that have previously purchased these things from you, you can use Canada Post’s Postal Code Targeting services to find similar customers.

How does it work? Because you likely have your customer’s addresses on file from past order details, you can use Postal Code Targeting to send direct mail campaigns to postal codes that have similar audience attributes to your existing lists. This method of targeting is based on the old adage, “birds of the same feather flock together.” Meaning, people generally live in the same area as similar people.

Imagine if you saw a neighbour getting their roof updated, and days later, you received a direct mail piece that says, “Your neighbour just got their roof done. Now it’s your turn!” with a 10% off promo. Could that level of personalization urge you to take action?

3) Synchronizing Email and Direct Mail

Combining email marketing with direct mail creates a multi-touchpoint campaign that reinforces your message. Here’s a simple strategy to integrate the two:

  • Begin with an email announcing a special offer or a piece of valuable content.

  • Follow up with a direct mail piece that delivers on the promise made in the email. This could be a detailed brochure, a sample product, or a personalized discount code.

  • Use a subsequent email to follow up on the direct mail piece, perhaps asking for feedback or offering additional related online content.

In this type of campaign, Personalized Mail is your go-to method. Personalized Mail is a one-to-one approach that mails a specific recipient and is personally addressed with their name. This works best for marketing to existing customers or to a list of previously engaged prospects who might already be familiar with your brand.

Personalized Mail is often used for scenarios like inviting people to events, soliciting donations, reporting financial performance to stakeholders, or supporting loyalty card programs.

Direct Mail

Can you think of a time a company sent you a marketing message and followed up with a piece of direct mail? Many leading brands use this integrated method to nurture their audience. Sephora uses this method to market their Beauty Insider program and exclusive discounts, while Questrade uses it to send financial statements to their account holders.

This synchronized approach ensures that your brand stays top-of-mind, as recipients encounter your message across multiple channels. The opportunities are truly endless!

Curious About Creating a Direct Mail Campaign?

Integrating digital marketing with direct mail creates a holistic approach that leverages the strengths of both. The key is to ensure that each element of the campaign complements and reinforces the others, creating a unified, multi-channel marketing strategy. With these tactics, your business can enhance engagement, improve response rates, and drive a higher ROI on your marketing campaigns.

To dive deeper into the world of direct mail and learn how to build out your very own campaign, access our FREE 6-Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing. Or if you’d rather not go it alone, learn how WCD can help you create your direct mail campaign—from strategy to design, printing, mailing and beyond.


06.10.2024

Why Aren’t Your Direct Mail Campaigns Successful? Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or a small business owner, crafting a direct mail marketing campaign can be daunting—especially if past attempts haven't yielded the results you expected. Many businesses dip their toes into direct mail with a single postcard campaign and are quick to write it off when the returns don’t immediately materialize. If this sounds familiar, fret not. This article will equip you with the strategic insights needed to create a successful direct mail campaign, moving beyond the basics and diving into the key components that can make or break your marketing efforts. We’ll explore: What is direct mail marketing?The three ingredients for a successful direct mail campaignWhat to look for in a direct mail services provider How to get started with your first direct mail campaign What is Direct Mail Marketing? Direct mail marketing, often referred to as Smartmail Marketing by Canada Post, involves sending physical marketing materials directly to the homes or offices of targeted consumers. Although digital channels have dominated over the past decade, this more traditional form of marketing remains highly relevant, engaging potential customers in a direct and personal way. In fact, over 60% of Canadians feel a strengthened relationship with businesses that reach out via direct mail, proving its potential impact. 3 Ingredients for Successful Direct Mail Marketing 1) Solid Campaign Strategy As with any marketing campaign, direct mail requires a comprehensive strategy that addresses the goals, objectives, key messaging, and other essential elements needed to effectively reach your target audience. If your outreach is focused on acquiring new customers, a single mail drop may not be sufficient to see the results you’re hoping for. Over time, a successful direct mail strategy will create brand familiarity with multiple touchpoints. Consider planning a series of mail drops throughout the year, such as quarterly mailings, to maintain engagement and brand recall with your audience. This approach ensures your message is reinforced over time, allowing you to adjust your strategy based on your audience’s response and market trends. 2) Digital Component to Campaigns Did you know that blending digital marketing with direct mail is proven to enhance the effectiveness of both? Statistics show that direct mail campaigns integrated with digital efforts lead to a 40% higher brand recall and significantly more engagement. By coordinating your direct mail with online campaigns, you can create a cohesive marketing strategy that leverages the strengths of both mediums. Here’s an example of what that might look like in your campaign strategy. Consider you're launching a new product line. You start with an attention-grabbing direct mail piece—perhaps a beautifully designed postcard or a small sample package. This mailer not only announces the product but also includes a unique QR code that directs recipients to a special landing page on your website. The page might offer more detailed information about the product, an introductory discount, or even an invitation to sign up for an exclusive webinar. At the same time, you launch targeted digital ads that echo the design and message of the direct mail piece. These ads would appear on social media platforms and Google, reinforcing the message seen in your audience’s mailbox. As recipients of the direct mail visit the landing page, your digital ads can also employ retargeting techniques to keep your brand and message top of mind, increasing the likelihood of engagement. By integrating these digital and traditional channels, you’ve now created multiple touchpoints with your audience, enhancing their journey from initial curiosity to final purchase. 3) Big-Picture Budget Effective direct mail campaigns are not about one-off attempts but a sustained effort that integrates seamlessly with your overall marketing strategy. Budgeting at minimum $12,000-$15,000 annually for localized direct mail marketing campaigns can provide the necessary funds to craft impactful, creative content and maintain a consistent mailing schedule that will genuinely resonate with your audience. For larger companies with larger audiences, this number can vary widely. This may leave you wondering: how do we track the ROI of our direct mail campaigns? Like most marketing initiatives, there’s no perfect science. However, there are some tried and true methods for tracking the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns that we dive into in this article, including: Using trackable coupons or promo codesLeveraging customized URLs on your mailersDedicated phone numbers and emails to track replies Using QR codes to track scans and form completions If you’re looking for a more low-budget, one-and-done marketing tactic, a digital initiative such as paid advertising may be a better option for your business. What to Look for in a Direct Mail Services Provider When choosing a partner for your direct mail campaigns, look for a provider with a comprehensive suite of services that go beyond just printing and mailing. Partnering with a Canada Post Smartmail Marketing™ Expert like WCD ensures you're working with a team skilled in strategic planning and creative design. These partners can help optimize your campaigns for maximum impact and efficiency. As a Smartmail Marketing™ Expert Partner, we’ll work with your team to create direct mail advertising that uses highly effective messaging and thoughtful creative to build brand awareness, produce quality leads, and attract new customers. Need help with campaign design? Our in-house design agency crafts integrated direct mail campaigns that get results. Jumpstart Your Direct Mail Marketing Ready to switch up your marketing approach? When executed with a thoughtful strategy, direct mail marketing can significantly elevate your brand's visibility and engagement. Download our FREE 6-Step Guide to Direct Mail Marketing to begin crafting campaigns that not only reach but resonate with your audience.

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06.16.2023

5 Powerful Ways to Utilize Direct Mail for Your Business

Do email and social media dominate your marketing strategy? With today’s screen-time statistics, it's easy to overlook the tried-and-true method of direct mail. Despite what some marketers assume, direct mail remains a highly effective tool for businesses to engage with their target audience in a tangible and personal way. With careful planning and execution, direct mail campaigns can yield impressive results and help your business stand out from the competition. Let’s explore five powerful ways your marketing team can leverage direct mail to drive growth and boost your business, including: Generating New LeadsNurturing Customer RelationshipsShowcasing New Products or ServicesDriving Website TrafficRe-Engaging Dormant CustomersOr, dive into the basics of direct mail > 1) Generate New Leads Direct mail can be an excellent tool for generating new leads and expanding your customer base. By strategically targeting specific demographics or geographic areas, you can reach potential customers who may not be as receptive to online marketing efforts. And the real money maker? Personalization—because 84% of consumers say they’d be more likely to pay attention to mail that speaks directly to them. Consider offering exclusive promotions or incentives to encourage recipients to take action, such as visiting your store, redeeming a coupon, or signing up for a newsletter. And don’t forget to include a compelling call-to-action that entices recipients to engage! 2) Nurture Customer Relationships Have you ever received a personalized reminder that it’s time to take your furry friend to the vet? “How nice!” you think, because it feels personal and caring for them to reach out. Direct mail provides an opportunity to nurture existing customer relationships and keep your brand top-of-mind. Consider sending personalized thank-you cards, birthday greetings, or anniversary offers to show your customers that you value their loyalty. By adding a personal touch and making your customers feel appreciated, you can foster long-term relationships and encourage repeat business. Learn how a local business grew with direct mail > 3) Showcase New Products or Services You’re beaming with pride over your new service offering—so much so, you want to shout it from the rooftops! Direct mail allows you to communicate with the people who matter most [your customers] in a visually appealing and informative way. Use high-quality images, engaging copy, and compelling offers to capture the attention of your target audience. Whether you're launching a new product line, introducing an upgraded service, or announcing a special promotion, direct mail can help you make a memorable impact and generate excitement among your customer base. 4) Drive Website Traffic Direct mail isn’t a one-and-done deal—it can and should be used alongside digital channels to drive the best engagement. A study by Canada Post shows that integrating direct mail with digital tactics in a campaign increases brand recall by 40% and makes consumers 39% more likely to pay attention. Include QR codes, personalized URLs (PURLs), or unique coupon codes in your direct mail pieces to encourage recipients to visit your website for more information, or to make a purchase. This integration of offline and online marketing channels creates a seamless customer journey and enhances the overall effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. 5) Re-engage Dormant Customers Direct mail is a powerful way to re-engage with customers who haven't interacted with your business in a while. How? First, segment your customer database based on their purchase history or engagement levels, and then send targeted direct mail pieces that reignite their interest. Consider offering exclusive discounts, sneak peeks of upcoming products, or personalized recommendations based on your customer’s previous purchases. By showing them that you value their past support and want to rekindle the relationship, you stand a better chance of bringing them back into the fold. While digital channels continue to evolve and play a vital role in your growth strategy, direct mail remains an effective and impactful tool to add to the marketing mix. Remember, the key to success lies in creating targeted, personalized, and visually appealing direct mail campaigns that resonate with your audience. So, don't overlook the power of direct mail—it may just be the missing ingredient in your perfect recipe.

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10.20.2022

How to Personalize Campaigns with Variable Data Printing

Have you ever received a highly personalized piece of direct mail from one of your favourite brands? What about a wedding invitation that had your name and address inscribed on the envelope? Odds are, both of these materials were made using Variable Data Printing—a technique that customizes print materials to feel curated and relevant to you. Why Variable Data Printing? Studies show that 63% of marketers agree that personalization increases customer interactions and conversion rates. As consumers, we respond better to information that is specific to us than we do to mass communications. Luckily, Variable Data Printing makes that personalization a breeze to achieve. Ready to learn more? Let’s dive into the basics: What is Variable Data Printing?How does Variable Data Printing work?Examples of Variable Data PrintingWhy clean data is critical for Variable Data Printing What is Variable Data Printing? Variable Data Printing (VDP) is a process that allows you to print large batches of personalized materials all in a single print run. Rather than creating hundreds of digital files with unique data on each (like an address), VDP enables you to use one creative file and merge it with a data source to personalize each piece. With VDP, you can personalize almost anything on a printed piece, including: Name and addresses Images and logosLocation (i.e. for franchises)ColoursSpecial promotions Take for example the postcards below. The piece on the left is a generic postcard printed in a bulk run without personalization and was likely delivered to everyone in the neighbourhood. While this can also be an effective method of advertising, let's shift to the sample on the right. This piece uses Variable Data Printing to personally address the recipient by name and show her examples of houses sold on her street within the last month. Which ad do you think is more likely to peak Janet's interest? How does Variable Data Printing work? Using a data source like an Excel spreadsheet that’s been exported from your CRM, advanced digital printing technology within a printing press pulls the data and inserts it into a template. Revisiting our wedding invitation example, you might have the basic design of the invitation made into a template, but variables like your guest’s names and address information are then merged into the file automatically with VDP. This prevents marketers from having to do manual and time consuming data merges. Examples of Variable Data Printing In a world where 84% of consumers want to be treated like a person rather than a number, Variable Data Printing is a simple and effective way to employ the power of personalization. Here are a few ways businesses use VDP to connect with their customers today. Appointment reminders Have you ever received a postcard from your dentist reminding you that it’s time for your annual cleaning? How about from your car dealership when it’s time for an oil change? Using data from your CRM, it’s easy to set up time-based automations that export your lists to be sent off to your digital printing partner. Upselling Many retailers use VDP for upselling to customers post-purchase. Take for example a store that sells hot tubs. After the client’s new purchase is delivered, they send a special offer with 10% off accessories and cleaning supplies. With VDP, they can swap out text and products to make the ad relevant to the customer’s specific model of hot tub. Shopping Cart Abandonment The average eCommerce shopping cart abandonment rate is a whopping 68%. Marketers have determined an effective way to entice those customers to come back using VDP. Sending a piece of direct mail that shows the specific items from the shopper’s abandoned cart, they’ll offer a discount code to complete their purchase—a cost-effective way to increase conversions. There are many creative strategies marketers can use to personalize their direct mail campaigns and increase customer loyalty, retention and revenue with VDP. Want to brainstorm ideas for your business? Chat with our team at WCD Creative > Why Clean Data is Critical for VDP Printers can’t detect spelling errors or false information—they’re simply fed data that’s then merged onto a printed piece. Because of this, maintaining a clean data source is critical to a successful campaign. Here are a few ways you can prepare your data: Collect it often and everywhere It’s likely that you already have a treasure trove of customer data. For some businesses with more sophisticated CRMs, this data is already maintained and stored in a central location. For others, it might be spread across systems and sources. If you’re collecting information like addresses, names, contact details, purchase history, preferences and other valuable information, make sure to save it somewhere central so you can personalize your customer’s communication. Commit to keeping it clean Data entry can be messy. If a customer is filling out a website form and that information is then merged into your CRM, the information will stay there exactly as they typed it. Maintaining a clean database means checking for spelling, grammar errors, capitalized text and other details. It also means updating information as it changes to the best of your ability. For example, if your B2B contact moves to a new company, update that information in your CRM. Variable Data Printing with WCD As one of Canada’s leading digital printing providers, WCD is well equipped to guide you through your Variable Data Printing campaign. We’re also Canada Post Smartmail Marketing Expert Partners—meaning we’re great at designing, printing and distributing direct mail campaigns that are proven to convert customers. Curious how your marketing team can use direct mail to reach ambitious goals? Let’s collaborate.

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