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How can I achieve higher ROI with my postal campaign by integrating e-mail?

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Answer: First, let me say cheers to marketers that are employing a multifaceted approach to direct marketing. There is a natural synergy between the postal and e-mail channels that should be maximized to capitalize on consumer spending and behavior. In fact, consumers spend about six times more dollars offline than they do online yet respond to e-mail more readily than a direct mail piece. So what is the answer? Combine your efforts and attack from both angles.

Building a multichannel campaign that includes touch points for direct mail and e-mail just makes better economic and strategic sense. Imagine dropping a direct mail piece and sending a complimentary e-mail that arrives on the same day? How’s that for maximum impact?

Getting in front of the customer is your primary mission, and hitting them from multiple touch points can become the key response driver that yields the ROI you so desire. But before you give it a try, you should first take these three things into consideration.

Be consistent with your marketing message across channels. Don’t present conflicting offers that will frustrate your audience–for example, offering 20% off through e-mail but 10% off in the catalog.

Make sure your message fits the medium. Design your creative for the appropriate channel. E-mail requires a different format and voice than direct, postal mail.

Be relevant. Make sure what you send will be welcomed. Using best practices when sending e-mail will help build trust and awareness for your postal campaign.

You can achieve brand loyalty across both channels. Adding e-mail to the marketing mix is a perfect opportunity to reach customers and prospects who are consuming media in an area that is unreachable offline: the inbox.

Craig Swerdloff is VP-general manager of customer acquisition solutions at Return Path, an e-mail services provider (www.returnpath.com).

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