Social Media and Direct Mail: The Crossover

Posted: April 3, 2018

Categorised in: Direct Mail

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Traditionally, social media advertising and mail marketing were paths that never crossed. The two forms of communication were considered chalk and cheese. However, opposites do attract.  New industry reports demonstrate the benefits of pairing the advertising methods, with a combined lift of 118% in response rates when using both digital advertising and direct mail marketing. In a unique twist of fate, social media giant, Facebook, has announced plans to use direct mailing as part of their future advertising, so there’s life in the old dog yet.

Traditional Direct Mail

Direct mail

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In 2018, direct mail marketing has experienced a surge in popularity. The buzz for mail marketing has been so impressive, the DMA (Data & Marketing Association) has recorded their highest response rate for mailing campaigns ever. As the increase in open rates continues to hit the news, more companies are turning to direct mail services. To put it in perspective, they are recording open rates of 5%, with an average return on investment of 129%.

While social media advertising rules the roost, direct mail marketing is one of the best practices of reaching your audience. We can attribute the statistics to many factors. One of the most notable, however, is its tangibility – the ability to physically touch mail. Touch is one of the five senses that dictates how we see and navigate the world, and brands that truly understand marketing have mastered the art of touch. For example, touch can affect how we perceive a brand, with the ability to provide a deeper level of engagement than seeing an ad on the screen. A number of studies showcased that communication with physical and tangible advertising helps when recalling the company message. Similarly, even the paper used for your mail marketing can significantly improve the ability to remember information. Digital advertising can never compete with the power of touch.

Social Media Advertising

As a mailing house, we understand the benefits of using direct mail marketing, but we cannot disregard social media marketing. According to recent surveys, the number of social media users is a staggering 3.196 billion, increasing by 13% each year. Likewise, the number of internet users has reached a massive 4.021 billion, up 7% year-on-year. These figures are nothing short of astonishing, and demonstrate the future of advertising. However, by disregarding all other forms of communication, you are ignoring a large chunk of your market. For example. Facebook is losing teen users to the likes of Snapchat, and is turning to direct mail services to appeal to their audience. We have also seen past examples of Google, another internet giant, use print and mail services as part of their marketing strategy.

Today, brands face Herculean challenges. You must be everywhere, available at every moment – even that’s not enough. You must have an active social media, but you must also deliver experiences through traditional media channels. You should never ignore chunks of your audience when looking to expand your reach. Recently, we have seen more companies looking into the possibility of advertising mail – particularly with the over-saturation of email marketing. There’s always the possibility your marketing email could be ignored, or deleted, but it’s harder to overlook mail delivered through your door. This is where direct mail advertising will always succeed and, when paired with digital, becomes a force to be reckoned with.

Programmatic Mail: Rise of the Machines

Augmented reality

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Programmatic mail is a revolution transforming advertising. We’ve discussed how social media advertising has proved priceless for brands and the ability to speak to consumers without delay. However, with the rise of the machines, we have lost the ability to ‘touch’ marketing. We know direct mail stays in the house of your consumer for an average 17 days, and brands are becoming savvy to this knowledge.

Programmatic mail is a method of combining modern and old. For example, a consumer may be browsing your website and select a product for their cart, yet not complete the transaction. Typically, the company would gently remind the consumer about their abandoned cart through email. However, programmatic marketing enables you to send personalised direct mail to their door, regarding their cart. Paperplanes, a UK tech startup, incorporated this strategy into their marketing campaign and reported a 14% basket recovery uplift.

Increase in Ad Spend

To put the popularity of print and mail services in perspective, direct mail ad spending has experienced a boost during 2017. Advertising mail ad spends increased by 5.9% compared to that of 2017, showcasing a record high for the marketing method. Collectively, UK advertising spend has improved, with the total set to hit £22.7 billion at the end of 2018. The increase in ad spend highlights the changes in our media channels, and how businesses must adapt to survive.

The Future of Direct Mail

As we move further into the digital age, the face of direct mail marketing will change. We have already seen the movement in the form of programmatic mail, but the likes of augmented reality are coming into the fold (literally). AR is already touted as the ‘next big thing’ and can be included in your mail marketing through the use of QR codes and specific URLs. Similarly, with the improvements in collecting accurate consumer data – ahead of the GDPR legislation – you can produce hyper personalised direct mail, tailored to the needs of your audience.

Ultimately, social media advertising and advertising mail can significantly boost your brand profile and, subsequently, revenue. If you would like to discuss the opportunities for direct mail services, you can get in touch with our team today.

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