5 Good Things Digital Marketers Are Doing in Direct Mail

We’ve all heard a million times that “direct mail is dead” because we live in a digital age.

Talk about a blanket statement! But if it’s true, then someone might want to let a lot of digital-first marketers know that.

We’ve all heard a million times that “direct mail is dead” because we live in a digital age.

Talk about a blanket statement! But if it’s true, then someone might want to let a lot of digital-first marketers know that. They’re using direct mail to stand out from their heavy online competition.

I’ve examined a few old school offline tactics that seem to work well for them, thanks to a look through files at Who’s Mailing What!

1. Compelling Images

ZulilyA_0001Grab the prospect’s attention right out of the mailbox. This postcard from Zulily works because it pairs a large photo of a smiling mom and her child with perfect copy: “everything YOU LOVE in one place.” It perfectly fits the brand.

2. Great Content

AngiesList_0001I won’t go into great detail on this. We know that good content rules wherever it is, in print or online. Angie’s List, the consumer review website, publishes a digest-sized magazine that mixes articles, tips, and a ton of local coupons for members.

It’s a great way to keep them engaged with information that may not be top-of-mind, but may spur later investigation online. In addition, it doesn’t have to compete with other websites for the customer’s attention.

In the June edition, Scott Goldman, Angie’s Senior Director for Content Strategy announced that the magazine is going bimonthly to reduce costs. At the same time, though, he claimed that readership measures 80%. That’s pretty impressive!

3. Sales and Discounts

Chewy_0001This is a common one. Amazon does it. Lots of food delivery services do it. Who doesn’t want to save money?

Chewy.com, which sells pet foods and other products, has a large burst that really pops. It highlights a $15 discount for new customers. The unique promo code allows response to be easily measured. Also, a smaller circle points out an offer for 1-2 day free shipping.

4. Customer Testimonials

HandyA_0001The importance of reviews cannot be overstated. An audience may already place a lot of trust in online reviews, so showing them on a direct mail piece is a no-brainer.

Handy.com, a home cleaning service, puts some social media love to good use on the inside panel of this self-mailer. These were gathered from Twitter and Instagram.

5. Simple Formats

Airbnb_0001Finally, you don’t have to go with an expensive or complicated format. With the exception of the Angie’s List Magazine, many of these efforts I’ve shown are postcards or simple self-mailers. They’re a great way to quickly catch the attention of prospects, give them a good amount of information, and then get them to convert online.

This is a really small direct mail piece, from Airbnb. It measures only 4-1/4”x6” and it lists a few benefits on the back about monetizing your vacation home.

All of these companies are primarily known as disruptors in their respective marketplaces on the web. But by using direct mail, they’re acknowledging the limits of online marketing. It’s another effective tool to help drive traffic online and expand their customer base.

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