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Why Direct Mail Should be the Headliner of Your Media Mix During COVID-19

Home, sweet home. That’s where many of us are finding ourselves at the moment. Kids jumping at our legs, microwaves beeping in the middle of conference calls, and us forgetting what day it is have all become part of our new normal. However, while daily routines may be changing, one marketing tactic stands the test of time and strategy: direct mail. Read on to see why direct mail should be the headliner of your COVID-19 media mix.

No, it’s not delivered by pigeons.

Direct mail is more than delivering a flyer to someone, somewhere’s mailbox: it’s a point of strategic physical contact with your target in a world growing increasingly digital. Whether it’s a brochure, letter, invitation, or gift, direct mail embodies your brand’s mission and personality. While digital media is the best way to capture the target’s attention as they stream and online shop, as seen in our previous post, many companies are quickly shifting to digital media. However, life happens both online and offline – and so should your strategy. That’s where direct mail comes into play. It’s the special ingredient to your media mix that will make you stand out from the rest. And in a time like this, distancing yourself from the crowd is key.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream mail.

We recommend sending direct mail about three times over a six or seven month period. This allows your message to be heard without becoming spam-like, or part of the weekly influx of grocery flyers and bills. With less message frequency than other media, it’s crucial to get your message right – and to the right person

There are countless tools available to find your target. Using current customer address lists, or pinpointing a region of interest can help narrow your audience. You can also test the effectiveness of a direct mail campaign and re-adjust by tracking phone numbers, or tracking website visitors following the campaign. In addition, first-class postage can further narrow your audience by providing a free return option for those who do not want mail. By implementing direct mail into your media mix, you can reach your target when they are offline and away from the media noise. It’s traditional, but it works.

Okay, but this has been around for a while. Why should you care now?

Fresh air is something we don’t take for granted anymore.

Consumer lock-down has unlocked endless opportunities in making every touch point count. You know exactly where the consumer is: at home, waiting for smiling boxes of serotonin from Bezos. The dependency on the mailbox as a source of connection with the outside world is growing. According to a study conducted by Klaviyo, online sales among over 32,000 brands have increased by 39% from March to April. For marketers, this means consumers are actually looking forward to their daily mail. The best part: consumers can’t send direct mail to spam.

Since 2003, direct mail response rates have grown over 200%. 

Not to mention that the response rates and ROI of direct mail are remarkable. A study conducted by PFL and Demand Metric found that eight out of ten marketers who incorporated direct mail into their media mix experienced “good or very good” ROIs. That’s 63% more than those who only used digital media. Direct mail should not be your only marketing tool, but it should be a priority in your COVID-19 media mix.

The Wow Factors

At the end of the day, what prevents direct mail becoming the newest addition to the trash can? Saliency and sustainability.

Obviously, don’t mail blank envelopes

How Can We Help You?

Saliency during this time refers to the relevance and importance of your direct mail content. It’s what makes your message more important than the other mail your target receives. Amy Jorgensen, Forbes council member and Marketing Director of, claims the success of direct mail content during COVID-19 depends on keeping your current customers satisfied and informed. Providing information regarding how your company is handling the pandemic and/or is helping the local community can magnify consumer trust and loyalty. Additionally, consumers will hold onto your message because they will most likely need to reference it more than once. Displaying your company’s enduring dedication and willingness to help will enhance your brand value and image: long-term factors in brand loyalty and customer relationships following COVID-19.

About 70% of customers find direct mail more personal than online interactions alone.

One example of the importance of adding a personal touch comes from the story of how an 11-year-old’s thank you note led Taylor Swift to write one to her personally. Emerson Weber found herself stuck in lock-down with no other communication other than the mailbox. While most kids her age were Tik-Tok-ing and Facetiming, Emerson was decorating and sending letters to friends and family. Aware that none of her letters would be received if it weren’t for her local postman, she wrote him a thank you note. 

Get crafty.

Within a matter of days, Emerson’s act of kindness was recognized on the USPS website and landed her an interview on Good Morning America – where they asked who she would most like a letter from. Her response: Taylor Swift. And to her surprise, a hand-written watercolor card decorated by Swift herself appeared on Emerson’s doorstep (along with a few other gifts). Emerson’s unintentional wide-spread recognition from a simple kind notion exemplifies the impact of going the extra mile – or extra mailbox, that is.

Making Direct Mail an Experience

You can make your message salient, but what actually motivates the target to hold onto it? Enjoyability and utility. Nick Runyon, CMO of marketing research firm PFL, recommends direct mail should be interactive and fun. Rather than sending the typical flyer or letter, companies should consider sending playbooks of how they are handling COVID-19 or nostalgic sentiments to remind the consumer of better times (such as toy cars or trendy fads of the past). How to make it more effective? Add a scent. The olfactory system substantially improves memory recall. Adding a scent can establish your company’s mood and improve customer recall about your message.

Consider adding free samples or gifts.

Another consideration is sustainability. Millennials are rising decision makers in the business world, and among their preferences is sustainability. Getting a third-party sustainability seal or including information about how your company’s direct mail materials or process is sustainable can separate your company from the rest and strengthen your brand image.

In addition to making mail useful, enjoyable, and sustainable, all direct mail should have a call to action. We recommend the first message be an introduction, the second an informational piece about your company and its offerings, and the third should invite the target to an event or take a certain action. While all three messages have different purposes, a call to action can be implemented into each. For instance, “call us today at #,” or “visit us at www.yourcompanyhere,” are both effective call to actions that can work on all three messages. A clear call to action elevates your mail campaign from a sheet of paper to a useful bridge between the target and your marketing channels.

In between zoom calls and online workouts, your target walks out to the mailbox. Yet, instead of seeing the usual array of monotonous white envelopes, a vibrant box with your logo greets them. You have introduced yourself without even having to shake hands.

Ready to separate yourself from the crowd? Triad can help.

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