Many marketing experts are touting “Integrated Marketing” as the approach to take when developing a marketing strategy, and this can be a very effective game plan. If you’re a company that has historically relied on direct mail as your marketing workhorse, you know that direct mail is still a trusted and reliable tool in a marketing strategy, as highlighted in this chart from Marketing Sherpa.
Direct Mail with PURLs
A PURL, or personalized URL, is a unique web site address that allows a user to access personalized content by entering the URL into their web browser. PURLs are a natural match for direct mail because it’s so easy to include a PURL in the print process whether the mailing is being done digital or traditional. Each of your recipients receives a unique URL specific to them. The URL usually contains their name in order to make it more memorable. Since your recipients will have to type the link into their web browser, you’ll want to keep the PURL as short and as simple as possible.
A PURL should lead to a landing page with a specific offer and personalized information. According to Tom Searcy of CBS News, “In most cases, a campaign with only a home page link generates higher website ‘hits’, but that traffic can get lost after the home page. When using links, it is better to have a landing page tailored specifically for the offer in the message. Still, even a landing page cannot overcome an uncompelling offer.”
So what can a PURL lead to? You essentially have two options: a PURL redirect or a direct PURL. A PURL redirect takes the PURL as its input and redirects the person to a static landing page that you specify. While the PURL itself may be unique to each user, the landing page is not. The advantage of this over a normal URL is the PURL allows you to track who is visiting your site not just how many are visiting. On the other hand, a direct PURL links to a specific, personalized page for each individual, and each page will be different for each user. This landing page is custom created specifically for the PURL campaign and you usually swap out images and copy, and include a pre-populated response form.
Direct Mail with Email
Some people have played down the importance of direct mail in today’s email age, but studies have shown that it still has a critical role in marketing strategies, and is preferred and trusted by many demographics over email. We think direct mail and email should be utilized together.
According to Tony Pires of Lime Marketing, “Consumers still like to receive mail. It’s tangible and real and we can leave it on our desk or counter and look at it later. We can’t just hit the delete button and make it go away. Now imagine taking that same message and a short time later sending out an e-mail blast that promotes the same information. That integrated approach and consistent message using two different mediums to touch your client or prospect can have a dramatic affect on the success of the campaign.”
Email is a natural follow up to direct mail. For example, if a direct mail piece is delivered to your prospects early in the week, you can follow up later in the week with an email reminding them of your offers. The email can reference the message you provided in the direct mail piece, provide additional follow-up information, and include either a link to a landing page, or a PURL for a personalized experience as described previously.
This also works in reverse. You can send out an email to your list, and then take a look at who responds. For prospects who don’t respond to the email, you can follow up by sending only those prospects a direct mail piece. This approach will also save you printing and postage costs because you aren’t sending to those who are more likely to respond to an email. An email can also be used as a “preview” to let prospects know to expect an offer in the mail in the near future.
Direct Mail with Promotional Items
Promotional items have been traditionally associated with in-person communications, where you hand out items to a potential customer, whether in your office, at a trade show, or at a chance meeting. However, you can also distribute promotional items through direct mail. While the standard direct mail piece consists of a letter in an envelope, a postcard, or a catalog, direct mail can be easily enhanced by combining the basic message with a promotional item.
There are many promotional items that can be easily included in a standard mailing, while others require more creative designs. Small flat items, such as a decal, smartphone screen cleaner, imprinted rulers or bookmarks, can be included in most envelopes or other traditional mailing forms with little to no modification to the design. Magnets are another type of promotional item that can be easily added to most direct mail pieces and provides a bit of real estate for your brand to get some face time.
However, more complex promotional items can also be integrated into direct mail pieces in more creative ways. For example, we recently created a mailing for a healthcare client involving an imprinted flower pot-shaped pen holder with an imprinted pen (watch this video to see a sample). The items were enclosed in a small box along with a brief letter. Obviously, a mailer of this type is going to have a higher cost per piece than a standard envelope, but it’s far more likely to be opened, and of course, that’s the first goal in direct mail. Once the piece is open, the promotional items will do their job by providing brand recognition to your potential customers.
As you can see, direct mail can be enhanced by combining it with other marketing strategies and media, resulting in enhanced visibility for your brand.
How are you enhancing your direct mail?
I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!