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The message of this year’s National Postal Forum (NPF) was clear: build a bridge between digital and direct mail marketing.

When the statistics tell you that the two together can lead to a 9x better chance of making a sale1, it’s hard to argue. This year’s messaging stressed linking physical and digital. Email, social media, website – all ultimately get a boost from physical mail like postcards, envelopes and catalogs.

The National Postal Form has become a hub of information for marketers involved in direct mail. Sponsored by the USPS®, it brings together all sides of the mailing community. Direct Mail is its unique track, where experts from around the country speak on relevant mailing topics.

Making the Connection Between Physical Mail to Digital Mail

From the start of the conference, linking the mailpiece to an online activity took center stage with Postmaster General Megan Brennan highlighting it in her opening remarks.

What does this link look like? My favorite example was shared by Jakki Strako, the USPS CMO, at the opening session of NPF. A printer helped Simplay3, a children’s toy company, print and deliver a catalog. Using Informed Visibility, they knew when the catalogs had been delivered. That event then triggered a series of follow up emails. So using available technology, Simplay3 leveraged both digital and physical mail to reinforce the marketing message it was delivering.

Informed Delivery, the USPS’s big push into making its digital footprint, is perhaps one of the most straightforward opportunities. Informed Delivery customers receive an email each day of the mail they are receiving. It includes images of the mailpiece. Mailers have the opportunity to upload a secondary color marketing image, as well as a link from the email directly to the sender’s website.

As in Cyberspace, So Below

There are other examples using what’s called “programmable” direct mail. In short, a customer action automatically triggers the direct mail. With the right print and mail partner, a personalized piece can be created within a couple of days and mailed to the customer.

Triggers can include an abandoned cart or spending significant time on the website without action. The shopper’s address can be pulled using the login information, which can then be provided to the mailer.

But Does It Work?

Some stats to consider as taken from the “Future of Direct Mail” whitepaper:

  • Marketers have seen a 300-400% lift by retargeting cart abandoners with direct mail.
  • Informed Delivery has led to a 39% increase in website traffic and a 36% increase in ROI.
  • Informed Visibility, the end-to-end mail tracking for eligible mail, has led to a 48% increase in website traffic with specific monitoring activities.

Mail is a consistent performer that drives action. It amplifies messages, provides personalized engagement, and prompts consumers to act. Combined with digital, it is a perfect pair.

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1 – DMA 2018 Response Rate Report