Technology is changing the face of direct mail
In years past, you’d wait anxiously on the front porch, peeking around the corner for that familiar white and blue truck. Getting the mail used to be full of suspense, before the introduction of Informed Delivery, tracking numbers, and smartphones. These tools now make it easier than ever to locate your long-awaited package or see your mail before even putting a hand in the mailbox.
Still, there’s something exciting about opening the mailbox and finding postcards, fliers, and letters addressed specifically to you. Direct mail has a way of tapping into the thrill of brands speaking in a very personal way to different individuals.
Today, consumers continue to check their mail at the end of a long workday — 40 percent of Americans still look forward to checking it when they get home. But with the rise of new technologies and communication channels, businesses can reach them in unique ways that go beyond traditional postcards or full-page fliers.
Direct Mail is Not Dead
Despite the advent of emails, texts, and push notifications, direct mail still reigns supreme. According to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), direct mail response rate for customers (9%) is nine times higher than that of email (1%). It is the starting point in a consumer’s omnichannel experience; when someone sees a message in their mailbox, they’re going to be more conscious of it elsewhere.
That’s why your strategy should be to combine your digital and direct mail marketing efforts. How? Here are a few technologies making this new reality possible:
USPS Informed Delivery
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is bringing the mailbox directly to your inbox. Thanks to the agency’s Informed Delivery, qualified consumers can see their mail before it’s even loaded into a mail carrier’s bag. The technology sends digital previews of residential mail to an individual’s email every morning, giving them complete control over their household’s incoming letters, packages, and ads.
Brands and businesses can also take advantage of Informed Delivery, sharing “ride-along” content to supplement their direct mail pieces and create an additional impression from a single piece of mail. When subscribers receive the email preview, marketers can attach a full-color image and call-to-action link encouraging consumers to take an additional action.
Audio and Video Messages
Remember the birthday cards with custom voice messages and songs? The same technology is available to direct marketers who want to add a personal touch to their mail pieces. Some marketers are even adding video to their direct mail pieces using tiny LCD screens and up to two hours of custom video content. Last year alone, the USPS delivered nearly 15 billion mail pieces, and creating noteworthy collateral is critical in differentiating yourself from the competition.
Quick Response Codes
Quick response (QR) codes have been around for years and continue to evolve in functionality. Marketers can incorporate QR codes into their logo, letterheads, and on specific pieces of direct mail to customize the consumer experience. With QR codes, brands can offer special incentives to direct mail subscribers, all with a quick scan of their smartphone.
Like QR codes, Near-field communications (NFC) bridges the divide between a consumer’s smartphone and a physical piece of mail. The technology, which makes things like Apple Pay possible, can turn your traditional postcards into advertising portals, connecting the copy or advertisement to a unique landing page or limited-time offer on a cell phone.
Postcards, letters, and other forms of traditional direct pieces will continue to fill mailboxes across the country. But, a new wave of technology is making these pieces smarter, more intuitive, and more in touch with the needs of today’s plugged-in consumers.
Looking for new ways to connect with your patients through direct mail? Contact BlueWing Dental today!