How can direct mail, which is outbound by nature, enhance inbound marketing? Surely this method doesn’t fit into the inbound world as they are completely different?
Whilst we would agree that they are different, we would argue that if executed correctly direct mail can actually enhance inbound marketing; you just have to follow these three golden rules:
1. Make sure that you respect the principles of inbound marketing.
2. Generate direct mail that has a strong inbound feel to it to ensure that you’re reaching out to those who are genuinely interested in what you are saying.
3. Be crystal clear of who your audience is, and what information they are after.
By the time you have come to the end of this blog we hope that you will agree with us and see that direct mail definitely does have a place in the inbound world.
Inbound marketing definition
Before we get into the nitty gritty, for those of you who are unsure, here is the definition of what inbound marketing actually is:
Inbound marketing focuses on attracting and engaging with customers by creating content that is relevant, helpful and adds value, during each and every stage of the customer’s buying journey. With inbound marketing customers find you through multiple, different channels.
Outbound marketing definition
And here is the definition of what outbound marketing is:
With outbound marketing brands and companies initiate conversations by sending out messages to their target audience. Unlike inbound marketing, outbound marketing tactics proactively find customers before they have shown an interest. Examples of outbound marketing are TV adverts, print advertisements, trade shows, outbound sales calls etc.
So much has changed in the last 10 years
In the last 10 years marketing has changed dramatically, and this is mainly down to the evolution of the Internet. We’re not just talking about how customers purchase products or services e.g. with a click of a button rather than digging into their purse or wallet, but the whole customer journey.
Today, customers have the ability to choose what information they want, how they can access it, and when. They know the information is out there and they have control over whether they access it or not. In addition to this they then can decide the amount of information they want to consume about a particular product or service.
This is very, very different from how it used to be, when companies would have control.
How does direct mail fit in with this change?
Inbound marketing is all about customers inviting brands in to share their message, but still having control over the amount of information they receive. However, direct mail is the opposite, and some would argue, more invasive approach. Messages are pushed out to people who didn’t ask for it. So, with this in mind, how can direct mail work in an environment where people are so used to having control?
This brings us back to an earlier point addressed at the beginning of this blog about following the three golden rules:
1. Resecting the essence of inbound marketing.
2. Reaching out to those who are genuinely interested.
3. Knowing who your audience is.
As long as you follow these rules you will not run the risk of being invasive and you are still giving the customer control.
In addition to this, brands also need to be careful of overwhelming customers by giving them too much information, or giving them information they are just not interested in.
It’s all about finding that balance; giving them enough information to let them know that you understand their situation and you have a solution. It is then up to them to invite you in e.g. they could visit your website searching for something in particular.
Examples of using direct mail for inbound marketing
Example #1 – capturing leads: direct mail is usually better at generating a response when compared with email. Therefore, we would recommend placing direct mail at the top of the sales funnel, instead of using the common method of email. Keep it simple.
Send out a postcard to introduce yourself and offer either a free download, or discount, that people can receive by visiting a dedicated landing page on your website. All they have to do is fill in their details and then you have the ability to start your sales process.
Example #2 – targeting demographics: direct mail is great if you want to target people based on geolocation, or other demographics such as age, marital status, income etc.
With direct mail you can achieve a much higher level of demographic specificity compared with online where anyone can discover your content, whether they fit your target demographic persona or not. Attract them offline and then move then online, nurturing them with great content.
Example #3 – driving people to your content: yes, the internet has a wealth of information, but sometimes finding the relevant information is similar to finding a needle in a haystack, simply because of how much information there is out there.
Make it easier for people and use direct mail to tell them exactly where they can find the information they want.
Example #4 – complimenting digital efforts: direct mail is a great tool to use for complimenting digital marketing efforts. Let’s say you have created an eBook and you are using digital methods to drive people to the download page.
Use direct mail as an additional channel to attract relevant people that fit your target persona. Direct mail can be an additional entry point for people into your inbound marketing funnel.
Phew! We seem to have covered quite a lot in this blog!
We hope you are now seeing direct mail in a different light, and that you see how it can be used to enhance inbound marketing.
Just keep in mind our three golden rules and we are sure that you’ll see positive results! Why not give one of our examples a go, and see how it works for you?
If you have any questions, or would like to talk through an idea that you have, we are all ears!Back to case studies