Making the most of Digital and Postal Direct Mail
Digital media have had a major impact on both consumer behaviour and marketing communications. As digital usage has grown, the core strengths of mail have not only endured but increased. Consumers are clear that mail and email have different qualities which make each suited to different things.
Because consumers move seamlessly between the physical and online worlds, mail actually generates a great deal of online activity. Both mail and email are able to drive consumer action. Using mail and email together in a planned way builds on the strengths of each. This gives you the greatest chance of maximising the effectiveness of your direct communications.
Email broadcasting - low cost but is it strong enough on its own?
Email has many benefits. It can be a cost-effective medium and basic emails are easy to produce and to send out. They enable you to send links to interesting content and to your own websites which makes it easy for customers to purchase from you, perhaps incentivised by special offers and online vouchers and codes. Email is certainly a very efficient, direct medium. However, a study of email analytics by Litmus in 2013 revealed that over half of emails are deleted within two seconds of being opened. And the actual open rates were only 21% and 29% for acquisition and retention respectively.
There’s a strong suggestion that, as more and more content is being consumed on the move (and as people feel they’re getting too many emails), the vast majority of emails are not even being opened, and those that are being opened get deleted with little more than a glance. This begs the question, who are you not reaching?
Mail and Email working together to create greater 1 to 1 relationships with your customers
Royal Mail have always believed in using the power of 1 to 1 communications to build customer relationships. However, technology has transformed marketing communications. The development of email and the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets have changed the way we connect with customers forever. When you want to talk to customers directly you now have many different tools at your disposal and that’s a good thing.
Extensive research to find out how customers prefer businesses to talk to them produces fascinating results.
It shows that the core strengths of mail have endured and in some cases grown even stronger, often by driving customers online. Mail is still opened, still valued, still kept and still drives response. Digital has transformed marketing but it hasn’t replaced mail for one simple reason. Customers don’t want it to. Customers are very clear about what they prefer to receive by mail.
They prefer to receive items of substance that they can spend time with and keep. Equally, there are some communications like quick updates that customers prefer to receive via email. So, complementarity pays. A recent meta-analysis by Peter Field on the IPA Databank reveals that 27% more of the campaigns which delivered high sales performance included mail than did not. He also looked at campaigns which drove high acquisition levels. And 40% more of these included mail than those that didn’t. Campaigns with mail achieved over twice (205%) the market share growth when measured against campaigns without mail in the mix.
(Royal Mail Market Research)
Well planned printed material and the best quality data
Figures available from the Royal Mail claim that more than 90% of direct mail is opened and last year 48% of adults took action after receiving direct mail, proving that mailing by post continues to be a powerful medium in its own right.
But as part of an integrated campaign, direct mail can work to amplify results. Combine it with TV for instance and you could see a 36% improvement in ROI, whilst insights from the market research company BMRB show that social network users are more likely to be frequent responders to direct mail than the average British adult.
Mailing catalogues can have a positive effect on online retailing and, in another study, 74% of email marketers experienced success when combining email with direct mail.
Having acquired new customers, direct mail can also be used to good effect in retaining and building their loyalty. Being easy to personalise it is much easier to make individual customers feel special, keep them aware and engaged and build a strong customer relationship.
The inclusion of direct mail in a Business to Business market, needs just two things; well planned printed material and the best quality data.
Research shows that the best strategy is to combine mail and email.
Nowadays, 56% of consumers say mail grabs their attention, up from 47% in 2007, and 10% more say they spend a lot of time reading it, compared to last year. The biggest increase though is in the number of us who say receiving mail makes us feel more valued which is now 57%, around a third higher.
Grabbing attention, creating a good impression and making consumers feel more valued. These are three things that every brand and organisation strives for. They’re also three things that mail is even better at delivering than it used to be in the days before superfast broadband access, before the smartphone and mobile internet.
Door to door mail such as leaflets, postcards and flyers also deliver strong cut-through, with 59% of people saying they open it. What’s more, recipients actually spend time with mail. On average, they keep mail around the house for more than two weeks. Although most marketers know, from responses that come much later than two weeks, many people keep mail for much longer. And with some mail such as catalogues and customer magazines, people spend time reading it.
Consumers don’t just open mail...
They interact with it and keep it too