Advancements, Enhancements, and Everything in Between

It can be easy to see direct mail as “just marketing on paper.” And in the past – maybe that’s all it was. But it’s certainly not like it used to be. That’s why it’s still one of the major (and most effective) marketing tools used today. Take a look as we go over how it’s evolved through QR codes, personalization, tracking abilities, and more.

Direct Mail Then

As you may already know, direct mail is marketing sent in the form of traditional, physical mail. It’s completed and sent with the help of postage stamps, envelopes, boxes and mail carriers, and can be sent to current customers, prospects, or others in your industry.

Direct mail’s popularity began when William Penn, a 17th century printer, used convincing brochures to persuade Europeans to make their way to Pennsylvania. Ever since Penn, direct mail has continued to be a persuasive and effective marketing tool – no matter what rhyme or reason it’s being sent. But its popularity was challenged with the introduction of the internet in 1989. The possibilities of advertising on the web made print seem pointless at the time (which gives us a laugh).

Hence, the term “snail mail” was born. Yet, over time, marketers and advertisers started realizing that the saturation of internet advertising and lack of internet security lent itself to a real need and want for print marketing. An email or invasive online ad, on its own, just doesn’t make the same mark as a thoughtful letter or an exciting new package. Trustworthy, limited, and authentic, direct mail came back – and is here to stay.

Not “Just Paper”

At its core, direct marketing hasn’t really changed. It’s still some form of paper (we haven’t made hologram mail…yet), it’s still sent through a mailbox, and it’s still meant to attract and persuade its audience. But it isn’t just paper.

As newer and faster forms of communication have been introduced, some audiences have seen direct mail as “slow”, and at times, direct mail has suffered drops in usage as companies experimented with new trends. But statistics show that direct mail marketing is still taken seriously. About 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to the rather low 20% for emails. Better yet – 60% of marketers confirmed that a combination of direct mail and digital marketing increased a business’ ROI. Needless to stay, direct mail marketing has stood the test of time.

Over the years, direct mail has kept up and not died out because it’s been revamped, improved, and combined with digital marketing to make a greater impact. Technology is now fully supportive of and supported by direct mail marketing, and data collection is more sophisticated than ever before, making for endless personalization and customization possibilities. Much more than in the past, direct mail can be targeted, focused, and even inexpensive.

It’s Now Actionable (Thanks to QR Codes)

These days, almost everyone has and uses a smartphone, which is why QR codes have become such a household phrase. Especially over the last few years, the trend of using QRs has quickly made its way to the top. And, as of March 2021, about 60-65% of people use QR Codes on a daily basis, whether that’s for payment services, marketing purposes, or other verticals. QR codes are great on direct mail – leading your audience directly to where you want them to go or providing them with more information, with just a quick scan. Send them directly to your website, a web page, or even to buy.

When it comes to specifically targeting new movers, QR codes are a great starting point. They give customers a chance to browse your menu, hours, reviews, your catering page – you name it, and gets them intrigued and interested to learn more about your shop.

There are endless ways to incorporate QR codes into your direct mail piece. To read more on it, check out our QR-code specific blog, here.

It’s Now Personal (Thanks to Data)

Personalization is key. If you’re not personalizing your direct mail and other marketing materials – you’re definitely missing out on potential customers and increased sales. Direct mail can be personalized in a variety of ways, and isn’t limited to just adding a first name. Now you can personalize with location, interests, recent purchases, and so on.

57% of shoppers will share their information if they know they’ll receive personalized offers. And the more information you know, the easier it is to use personalization to entice them. Don’t miss out on making your customers feel seen and special. To learn more on how you can make your direct mail pieces personal, check out our personalization blog, here.

It’s Now Trackable (Thanks to Technology)

Thanks to advancements in platforms and marketing technology, direct marketing has come a long way and can be completely interactive. We like to call it “direct mail 2.0”. Not only can you incorporate a URL, PURL (personalized URL), QR code, campaign-specific phone number, or another device to bring customers on a marketing journey both on paper and online, but you can use these resources to track results of your campaigns and use those results to change and improve them. These digital forms of marketing are easily trackable, so using them on direct mail can significantly increase the success of your campaigns.

With these tactics, you can collect data to see exactly who’s in your target market, and what they’re doing once they receive your direct mail. This data will help you save money. Why? When you set your next direct mail budget and start your next campaign, you’ll know exactly who to send to. And they’ll be high-quality leads with high potential to convert into sales. To read more on effective direct mail tracking and analysis, click here.

It’s Now TIME

A lot has changed since direct mail marketing was first brought onto the scene by our man Penn. We hope that you can see as much as we can that time and technology has brought out direct mail’s true potential and endless possibilities. If you’re ready to take your direct mail to the next level, ZaHub can get you there. Contact us to learn more.