You never meant for your eye to wander. But now, looking back, was there really any way you could have avoided noticing when this sexy newcomer batted an eye? Suddenly, the one who’d been faithful to you for all those years began to look old. You found yourself thinking about moving on …
Don’t do anything rash. Jilting direct mail for the Internet is both unnecessary and unwise. A solid interactive marketing strategy has plenty of room — and plenty of need — for both.
Combined, direct mail and the Internet make for unbeatable impact. Go with either one alone, and you risk missing out.
Despite what some marketers may think, the Internet doesn’t reach everyone. Not every household has a computer. Not everyone who owns a cell phone uses it for Internet access. And not everyone with Internet access conducts transactions online.
How consumers perceive their mail
Moreover, reaching people who are online is getting harder. Spam filters consign e-mails to oblivion unseen and unopened. Banners work, but only to a point.
Enter direct mail. Just about everyone has a mailbox, and surveys show that, even in today’s online world, people rate "getting the mail” as a favorite on their list of daily activities.
Many people who are leery of responding online are quite comfortable using the mail. And those who choose to respond in person or by phone needn’t go to the trouble of printing a coupon, because your mail piece is already in hand.
Since mailboxes don’t have spam filters, every person on your mailing list must at least look at your mail. That means that, if you’re good at writing headlines, your direct mail will always convey a message.
People collect their mail on purpose and at a time of their own choosing. So unlike online messages, direct mail doesn’t get in the way of other things they were intent on doing. Moreover, when direct mail is well targeted and well executed, recipients willingly set distractions aside to read. Since that’s not something they can do while texting or playing a guitar, direct mail gives you their full attention.
How Internet and the mail work together
But earlier we said that you needn’t choose between direct mail and the Internet, and we meant it. So let’s talk about how well the Internet and direct mail work together.
Combining direct mail with the Internet improves your reach. People you may miss with one you may pick up with the other. But on a deeper level, many marketers have dramatically increased direct mail results by sending an advance e-mail advising people to watch their mail for a special offer. The opposite works, too. Direct mail is a powerful way to direct people to a website they might otherwise never have found.
When direct mail sends people to the Internet, or the Internet turns their attention to their direct mail, you create involvement.
Torn between the Internet and direct mail? Don’t be. This is that rare instance in which you can have your cake and eat it, too.