For the love of letters

1 minute read

With rising postage costs, many marketers may dismiss Direct Mail as too expensive an option. But innovations such as AR, NFCs and interactive technology make mailouts more powerful than ever.

We get it: Direct Mail sounds boring. It’s the ‘old guard’ of marketing; a throwback to the 1950s. But letters can hit harder than they’ve ever done before, particularly when they’re combined with digital tools. Here’s the lowdown on what makes for an effective mailout today.

Let’s get tangible

Above all, a letter is a physical object that your audience can directly handle and interact with. This means that they are not only more likely to view its content as reliable but also less likely to throw it away. A study by Royal Mail and MarketReach revealed that 87% of people consider mail to be more believable compared to 48% for email. And the tangible quality of Direct Mail sets it apart from digital marketing; your audience can’t instantly swipe to delete.

Measurable results

Worried that your message will get lost in the post? Direct Mail is really easy to measure. Post-pandemic, the way that we consume media, including the ways that brands build trust and drive customer action, has completely changed. And it’s been proven that receiving post has a greater impact since Covid-19. JICMAIL Q2 2020 revealed that during the first lockdown, a record 96% of mail was engaged with. Frequency of exposure to mail was at its highest, and online behaviour driven by mail increased by 70%.

You can also measure consumer engagement with your Direct Mail by using traceable codes, custom landing pages or PURLs to assess the success of the campaign.

Embrace innovation

Augmented Reality (AR) – how about making your mail even more engaging through AR? Recipients can scan your Direct Mail using a mobile and experience your previously 2D mail as a moving object that they can interact with – think Pokémon GO.

Variable Data Printing (VDP) is another way to greater personalise Direct Mail. This allows you to insert variable print such as text, offers and images into a print run. While it’s a little more pricey than traditional printing, this is a negligible difference as the extra cost is well worth it due to the ROI. A recent study revealed that more than 60% of consumers said they would become repeat buyers after a more personalised shopping experience. It’s also far less wasteful as the targeted printing eliminates unnecessary mailings.

Near-Field Communication (NFC) allows you to embed a chip in your Direct Mail that can link to a mobile device – using Direct Mail in combination with online marketing is a great way to drive traffic to your website or offer exclusive offers for the recipient.

Ultimate personalisation

A major upside to Direct Mail, when compared with other forms of marketing, is that you can tailor your tact to different audiences. From loyal to prospective clients, use the medium to your advantage and appeal directly to the person receiving your mail.

This will benefit both your business and your customers. Avoid bombarding clients with offers or material that wouldn’t suit them and instead, keep it specified to their individual needs and/or buying habits. This means effectively crafting your message. Make sure that you address and appeal to your reader by considering the demographic you’re targeting.

And this goes for prospective customers or bought data lists too. Look into purchase preferences, occupation, education, age, income and hobbies or interests.

Personalisation is all about the nuances in the language you use and staying in tune with topics that will capture their attention. This is where tone comes into its own; brand voice works particularly well on the printed page and, since your marketing asset is in the hands of the recipient, this creates an even more powerful relationship between the two – one that is greater enhanced by an appropriate and appealing use of tone.

A flexible format

A well-crafted letter is lovely, but DM offers more creativity. This can range from longer form options like catalogues and magazines to shorter form such as postcards and leaflets. Plus, your mail can be customised – this is where design comes in – you can employ interesting fold-outs, die-cuts (which create a stencil effect) or experiment with sizes – anything that’ll stand out. There are also no restrictions when it comes to colour or paper quality – and who says it has to be 2D?

Generating a response

If you’re thinking: how do I incorporate an effective Call to Action on a piece of paper? It’s important that your Direct Mail clearly signposts the routes to action for the recipient; consider a QR code, or even voice activated CTAs.

Be original

There are many ways to use the interactive potential of a tangible object to your advantage. Engage all of the recipient’s senses. For example, BMW’s recent campaign ‘can you smell the rubber?’ included a custom leaflet which had been driven over by one of their cars, leaving a tyre mark and the smell of, well, rubber.

Make a game out of it! For example, Gusto’s Direct Mail campaign included a maze as an involvement device, which invited the customer to consider the process of building their business in a different way – as represented by a journey through a labyrinth.

Design plays a big part. Be sure to incorporate your brand colours and tone in your mailout and don’t forget to play around with all of the elements you can’t utilise on a digital platform – formatting, texture, smell and even taste can become part of your brand story.

Ultimately, it’s about promoting your business in a creative way – Direct Mail marketing presents an opportunity to be innovative, personalised and most of all memorable. But with rising costs, perhaps it’s time to stock up on stamps.

If you’d like agency input on crafting your Direct Mail campaign, get in touch for a chat today!