Here’s a hint – one is email!
While visiting relatives, my grandson, Mason, who is eight years old, tried in vain to teach me how to play a few of his video games, on an machine about the size of a Snicker bar.
Since I did not grow up in the video game era, I am all thumbs and to make matters worse, I have no patience. However, with his guidance, and in his opinion, we did build a spitting image of me in his Batman game, cape and all.
I have worked in the direct marketing era for many years and have applied many of its techniques in other forms of communication. One of my favorites is email.
I started to use the combination in the late 1990s with the B2B marketplace. Email was more prevalent at that time in B2B, so I started experimenting with it using direct mail.
Today, most people have an e-mail address, and many house mailing lists also include e-mail addresses. Those that don’t can quickly add e-mail for 20% to 30% of their names through a simple appending service.
But while many use one or the other of these media, too few do not use them together. In particular, many businesses have found that e-mail can be an economical and effective way to boost response to their direct mail.
The most obvious technique is to announce your direct mail campaign a few days before it arrives. You can show the envelope and tell people to be on the lookout for a special offer. This alone can increase the open rate of your envelopes dramatically if you have a recognizable design and an appealing offer.
Another way to boost response is to follow up on a direct mail campaign with an e-mail message. Remind people of the offer or deadline. You can also offer an online response, so while the direct mail package does the heavy lifting with your sales message, the added e-mail provides another means of response.
A third strategy is to run parallel campaigns. Your direct mail piece and e-mail are timed to arrive at about the same time and present the same offer. There is no obvious connection between the two media, but by presenting the message in two different forms, your overall response can be higher.
If you have a large and targeted opt-in e-mail list, you can turn your addresses into the front-end of an inquiry generation campaign. E-mail an offer for free information about your product or service. Then follow-up by sending your direct mail package to those who respond. The direct mail package can be designed with envelope copy that reads, “Here is the information you asked for.”
DUCK! If you want to add another punch to your direct marketing, create a personalized landing page, and direct your recipients to it using both direct mail and email!
Finally, no matter what method you choose to coordinate e-mail with direct mail, you should always be collecting e-mail addresses from customers and inquiries. You can do this by offering a free newsletter, product updates, exclusive offers, web sites or whatever you believe your customers and prospects may want.
E-mail can be a powerful weapon in the direct marketer’s arsenal. It’s relatively inexpensive, fast, flexible, and an easy way to boost response.
I may not be an expert in video games, but I know a great one-two-three punch when I see one. Please let me know what you think?