You know those movies in which two competing heroes suddenly realize they can do more when they work together? They join forces and save the world in record time. That’s print and digital marketing—stronger, better, and more effective together than working alone.
Why does pairing up work so well? Anytime you reinforce your message with multiple touches in different channels, you have a greater chance of breaking through the clutter, getting noticed, and being remembered.
Plus, print and digital play different roles.
- Email is great for short-term boosts in response, while direct mail tends to have a “longer tail.”
- Email gives you a bump in orders right away, but those orders will tail off quickly.
- With direct mail, people tend to hang onto mail pieces longer, and those orders continue to roll in for a longer period of time.
What does this one-two punch look like in action? When one “fast fresh” catering company wanted to boost sales, for example, it started with an email campaign. Orders came in fast and furious, but once those orders died down, the caterer deployed phase two: a direct mail piece sent to everyone who had not responded to the email. The mailer was highly targeted and showcased the caterer’s culinary creations in a way that email couldn’t. The direct mail campaign paid for itself within a few days, but the orders continued to come in for a month. Ultimately, the campaign achieved 113% ROI.
However you use it, direct mail + email is a powerful combination. You can use email to reinforce a traditional or personalized direct mail campaign or, as in the case above, use direct mail to reinforce a digital campaign.
Keep in mind that “digital” doesn’t mean email only. One of the trending approaches in direct marketing is to combine direct mail with Facebook and other ads. This provides noninvasive reinforcement of the direct mail message and reminds people of their interest and prompts them to respond.
Take the example of a small, family owned tax accounting firm. With so many competitors, it decided to do something innovative. First, it mailed to the right people in the right ZIP Codes— close to the business so people feel it is highly convenient—and then retargeted them with Google and Facebook ads. The firm’s persistence was rewarded: 30 new clients, and with a client retention rate of 90%, a massive long-term ROI.
There are as many ways to combine direct mail and digital marketing as there are different marketing goals. Which one is right for you?