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Direct mail is over. It’s intrusive. It goes straight to the recycling bin. Sound familiar?

Start with the fact that 90% of American adults use the internet, add in the recent fintech revolution and a year where most of life as we know it has moved online, and it’s easy to see how this perception became “common knowledge.”

There’s only one problem with this story—it’s not true. As the original direct marketing technology, direct mail offers decades of proven results. And combined with the reach of email marketing (and the power of data analytics), direct mail can be one of your most efficient channels as well.

The Truth About Direct Mail

One of the biggest roadblocks around direct mail is the perception that email has made it obsolete. In reality, financial marketers face a series of uphill battles when it comes to email advertising. More and more users are armed with email filters, mass unsubscribe tools and even multiple personal email addresses to have complete control over what they see in their inboxes.

And it’s working: according to Campaign Monitor, the average email open rate for the financial services industry is just 20.2%. In other words, assuming delivery goes perfectly, 4 out of 5 of your carefully crafted emails are never even seen, let alone opened or clicked on.

In comparison, when direct mail arrives, your recipient must at least touch it (and USPS reports that 77% of consumers sort through their mail as soon as they get it). And if you’ve crafted a targeted and meaningful message, it will get opened: 51% of households read advertising mail and another 21% scan it. 

Direct Mail and Email: 1 + 1 = 3

But this isn’t a post about abandoning email for direct mail; this is a post about harnessing direct mail’s enduring power to make your email marketing more effective. Now it’s time to put them together to fuel a superior multichannel strategy.

When used in tandem, these two channels become even greater than the sum of their parts. According to a direct mail study by InfoTrends, marketing campaigns that used direct mail and one or more digital media experienced 118% lift in response rate compared to using direct mail only. And the USPS has shared that combining digital and direct mail results in 40% conversion rates.

The Final Piece: Crafting a Meaningful Message

The days of “spray and pray,” often associated with direct mail, are over. These days, it’s all about using targeted direct marketing, driven by data.

Data analytics can quickly uncover spending patterns, life events, and other triggers that allow you to gain powerful insights about customers and their past, present and future behavior. It’s changing the way we communicate with our customers and prospects, especially across multiple channels.

Combining your internal data (for instance, customer purchase history) with third-party data (for instance, credit inquiries and life events) can give you a window into:

  • What has already happened (descriptive analytics)
  • Why it happened (diagnostic analytics)
  • What will happen next, and when (predictive analytics)
  • Where to go from here, in terms of recommended actions (prescriptive analytics)

By combining and analyzing quality data from multiple sources, financial institutions can send products, offers and creative that that really matter to their account holders and prospects. 

The Bottom Line

Direct mail is more effective than you might think, especially when high-quality data is used to inform both the message and the recipient. And as a best practice, marketers should integrate direct marketing alongside digital channels.

Let data analysis do the heavy lifting so your communications are more efficient and desired by the consumer or small business across all channels. At Deluxe, we know that access to data and analysis of data are swiftly shifting the marketing landscape. Our data-driven marketing experts can help you navigate this sea change and make it work for your business.

This content is accurate at the time of publication and may not be updated..

Digital Marketing

Data Driven Marketing