The pandemic has changed almost everything: businesses had to rethink and rebuild their marketing strategies to survive. The rules of engagement have changed dramatically in a very short time, and our reliance on digital transformation increased overnight as most countries went into lockdown.
The challenge for businesses has become how can we stand out considering the infinite number of digital advertisements every consumer received in a post-covid world?
So how can marketers achieve good results when facing such an intense competition for awareness on digital channels? The answer was simple: going back to physical. And what is more physical than a piece of mail delivered to the customer’s doorstep?
The integration of the Direct Mail channel into an online marketing strategy has allowed many businesses to achieve results that were unthinkable through just using a digital strategy. The average response rate for direct mail during 2020 has been 4.9%, and this is the highest score since 2003!*(1)
And the thing that surprises the most is that it all happened during a pandemic.
So, why should you consider Direct Mail as a marketing channel in a post-pandemic world?

The importance of Home

Everyone was forced to stay at home in the past year and, as a result, the value of what we receive in our mailbox has increased significantly.
Whilst the number of messages, ads and emails people receive on their devices can feel intrusive, impersonalised, and can sometimes lead to fatigue, physical mail is often welcomed in our home with a positive reaction.
The thought of someone investing effort, time, and money to deliver mail to our door, makes us more likely to open and read mail giving the channel far more attention compared to digital alternatives.
Research shows that at the end of 2020 mail engagement was higher than ever at 96%.*(2)
Furthermore, 40% of people agree or strongly agree that moving into lockdown made them realise how important mail was for them.*(2)
These numbers are confirmed by many Paperplanes’ campaigns that have been live throughout the pandemic. To give an example, Paperplanes and Iclothing partnered to see if programmatic and personalised direct mail could help them recover abandoned baskets. The results were impressive: 14% of mailed customer baskets were recovered, with a 50% sales uplift resulting from the mailing.

Workspaces and Lifestyles changes

Mail is proving to be a very effective channel, as working, and living styles have changed, we are now spending more time at home than ever.
This trend doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon; homeworking has shown its benefits and many companies are planning to reduce the number of hours spent in the office. According to McKinsey, 20 to 25 percent of the workforces in advanced countries could work from home between 3 and 5 days a week.*(3)
This shows that even after Covid, Direct mail will still be effective as people will continue to spend a considerable amount of time at home.
Being at home for such a considerable amount of time has convinced many people to pursue new hobbies such as gardening., an online garden centre, benefitted from this situation and thanks to Paperplanes’ support in their abandoned basket strategy managed to hit a 17% conversion rate for mailed customers, which was much higher than any other form of re-targeting strategy deployed by them.

Success Key Factors

One of the factors that has made direct mail one of the most effective marketing channels is that receiving it provides a multi-sensory response, engaging touch and vision and in some cases also sound and taste.*(4) Another element that allowed this channel to be so successful has been the possibility to integrate personalisation. When working with BigDug, a company specialised in storage products, Paperplanes managed to trigger automated and personalised DM to customers who had been browsing BigDug’s website but had not completed the purchase (thanks to our machine learning algorithm). The results were outstanding compared to the control group who did not include personalisation in the mailings: an almost 50% uplift in conversion rate was registered as a result of the abandoned basket campaign.

In these difficult times, when companies struggle to remain profitable, it is crucial to build a marketing strategy that can bring great Return on Investment (ROI); in fact, Direct Mail has proven to provide a higher return compared to other channels.*(5) To give an example, when working with Paperplanes, LoveYourself, one of the leading food subscription businesses, managed to achieve a £18 to £1 ROI for the abandoned basket campaign and returns as high as ten times the marketing spend for the reactivation campaign.

Mail is considered to be the optimal channel to utilise when trying to communicate something important. For example, during the pandemic 72% of people felt that mail was the right choice for the Government to communicate with citizens. And 63% thought it showed they were taking Covid-19 seriously.*(2)
Further research tells us that, when received, a piece of mail is difficult to forget, indeed, 80% remember receiving a government mailing and 58% recall the “Boris Letter”.*(2)

Final Thoughts

We have seen the impact that Direct Mail can have on increasing conversion rates and customer engagement as well as website traffic which became even more important during a pandemic. However for a campaign to be truly successful it needs to be integrated with the rest of the marketing strategy. Moreover, the real strength of this channel is in the way it allows you personalise and reach your customers directly into their homes. And in order to get the best results, you need to be able to target the right customers and appeal to them at the right time. Want to know how to do this in the right way? Contact us for a for a free demo or just to chat here 

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