Direct Mail and sustainability

Direct mail has had had a reputation for being one of the least sustainable marketing channels. This wasn’t helped by the fact the channel has been used to reach high volumes of customers mostly for prospecting and acquisition. As a result, you can understand why a significant number of mail produced might not have even been opened and ended up in the bin, especially if whoever received it wasn’t interested in what it contained. An incredible amount of paper can be wasted if the intended audience deems marketing they receive as irrelevant. Add to this the fact that there has always been scrutiny around the carbon emissions generated when delivering mail leading many to believe that digital marketing is far more sustainable.


However today, things have changed regarding the approach to direct mail and if implemented and integrated properly into a marketing strategy it can be used efficiently to aid your strategy in an environmentally conscious fashion. This could be by cutting through the clutter of the infinite amount of promotional content that consumers face on social media feeds and emails, and more importantly, now marketers don’t have to choose between the effectiveness of direct mail and their commitment to sustainability. Thanks to our technology and expertise, Paperplanes can provide a more sustainable approach to multi-channel marketing, avoiding any waste through a meticulous process of targeting and personalisation.


Partners with high environmental standards

The first step in making direct mail sustainable is to find production partners that have high environmental standards in mind. Certifications such as ISO 14001 and the ability to gain FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approval for materials provides confidence that sustainability is a key focus. Print production partners should have those accreditations in place and we are always looking for new innovations to limit the impact on the environment.


 Customers should not be spammed

We always tell our clients that the key to high conversion rates and Return on Investment is not reaching the highest number of people, but to reach the right people at the right time. Furthermore, it is crucial to include elements of personalisation in the mailings. That way the customer feels that the company sending mail has put in a lot of time and effort into sending something the recipient cares about. This all results in less waste, decreased cost on postage and limited impact on the resources.


For example, if an individual who has not engaged with a company before receives a piece of mail, it is less likely that a commercial action will be taken from it. In most cases the mail will not be even opened as the customer does not have any connection to it. On the other hand Paperplanes technology targets the customers who have been browsing and buying on the company’s website, or that have been in contact with the website in the past and send personalised and relevant mail creating incentive to come back to the website. Carefully monitoring results on an ongoing basis then allow us to optimise and refine targeting even further, boosting conversions and pinpointing exactly how sending mail will drive the desired action.


Data drives efficiency

The last piece of the puzzle is to ensure data is used to identify the right recipients and ensure there isn’t too many communications reaching those people on a regular basis and removing any who do not want to receive in the future. Technology can be established to manage the number of contacts for any one individual and if customers do wish to no longer receive any post in the future they can be removed from mailing universes. Data shouldn’t just trigger a sales opportunity, it should be used to limit the amount of content sent in the post.


Final Thoughts

The direct mail channel can be the perfect ally for your digital marketing strategy and for the planet, but only if implemented in a sustainable way. At Paperplanes we believe that “Sending less is more” and through only targeting the right audience and reaching them at the right time can we ultimately generate a sustainable outcome and at the same time help you achieve great results. Through doing this we can ensure that mail will only boost anything achieved by initiating a digital strategy alone. The data speaks for itself, Paperplanes average conversion rate for our marketing automations register at 12% against the average email conversion rate that fluctuated between 1-3%.