There are currently 2,095,006,005 (Stats, 2011) people in the world who are considered internet users and of those users 67% (US Datacenter, 2011) perform their searches through Google. You would think with 1,403,654,023 people using your search engine you would not need direct mail helping you advertise but you would be wrong. Why is it that some of the most recognizable companies, who have a monumental internet presence like Apple, Adobe, and Amazon (just to cover the A’s) still use direct mail as a means of advertisement? I ensure you it is not to find a way to spend their very large marketing budgets.
Direct mail is continually used by these companies as a marketing effort because of the results that ensue. One of the largest reasons these companies see a result from direct mail is they reach a different audience and also have the ability to intrigue the customer in a different manner. A first hand example is when Google sent me the same advertisement through two different mediums. Both were offers for $100 worth of pay-per-click services that could be redeemed when starting a new account.
The first offer was sent to my e-mail and the second came in the form of a physical mail piece to my office. When sorting through my e-mail the offer was opened, glanced at, and then deleted once it was discovered that it could not be used towards my business account. When sorting through my physical mail I looked at it and asked some co-workers if they would like it. One co-worker had a brother in the window tinting industry that used the offer and continued to use Google AdWords after the $100 dollar coupon had been exhausted. Let me emphasize that this example is unbiased as we offer e-mail lists/blasts also. One audience is more receptive to e-mail while there is a whole different group that responds to physical mail that can be held in their hands. Google continues use direct mail in spite of their daunting internet presence because they know that will have a result on people with different mannerisms.
Another internet marketing avenue that direct mail can help drive is social media. B2C companies are learning fast that social media helps them establish and grow branding, increase consumer trust, bring attention to products, improve customer service, and provide a multitude of other benefits. The problem is getting those potential and current customers to like your Facebook page, follow you on LinkedIn &Twitter, or subscribe to your Blog feeds. Many consumers look to these social media venues purely as a means of their basic function and that is human interaction rather than ecommerce. As a result businesses must provide a substantial offer to motivate the buyer into joining their social media efforts.
Many companies have a great call to action on their company page but have problems getting traffic to the point where the offer is displayed. This is where you can use direct mail to help send people to your call to action. Contact a list broker, compose a quality mailing list, and send out a mail piece that offers 10% off products, free shipping, or any bargain that is enticing for liking you on Facebook. Tell them in the mail piece how they can benefit from engaging in your social media real time flow of information and provide the URL. Using outbound marketing to help generate your inbound marketing efforts helps your company resonate and build a presence in the buyers mind.
The fastest growing group of social media fiends is baby boomers with an estimated 16.5 million (Press Events, 2010) currently sharing and engaging. They are growing faster than any group including gen X, gen Y, and any other age based segment for that matter. This is also one of the segments that is the least receptive to email blasting and other virtual advertisements and more welcoming to direct mail. Businesses can use direct marketing and other channels that are less intrusive as a means to reach target markets like baby boomers and other groups who are tired of constant virtual advertisements, pop-ups, and spam.
It is common knowledge that integrated marketing efforts show the best return because of the resonance and reach that develops when using multiple channels. Your direct mail campaigns drive traffic to you site and social media at which point your internet marketing efforts play their various roles while sales reps work the phones to telemarket and send out email blasts with information to further persuade along with other efforts. When you have synergy among all these channels is when you beat out the competition and really create a brand for you company. If you neglect direct mail (which is the only channel that is not virtual and presents a physical advertisement piece in front of the client) you are simply missing out on a large portion of potential clientele. It is like running a race with one leg, yes it can be done and there are success stories but it is not an ideal situation.
What are some ways you have used direct mail to stimulate internet marketing?