I’m feeling optimistic!
The accelerating distribution of several highly effective Covid-19 vaccines has given us all a reason to breathe a collective sigh of relief. A little over a year after businesses first shut down and governments implemented lockdowns and travel restrictions due to the pandemic, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t an oncoming train. Americans are feeling increasingly hopeful that life will soon regain some semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy and the prospects for strong business growth are better than they have been over the past 12 months.
What this means for business owners and executives, is that now is the time to boost marketing in advance of their business re-opening, and to explore ways to be proactive with customer engagement. In this article, I’ll discuss the upside that direct mail will continue to offer post-pandemic and explore ways that businesses can use it to boost re-opening efforts to drive long-term growth.
1. Reliably reach customers nation-wide with direct mail
Over the past year, the pandemic has highlighted the major challenges that many Americans face when it comes to accessing reliable high-speed internet. While the FCC reports that just a little over 21 million Americans lack a speedy internet connection, BroadbandNow Research estimates it to be closer to 42 million—and that’s nothing compared to conclusions that Microsoft drew from their data in 2019, which suggested the number might top out at 162 million Americans!
Think about that: up to nearly 50% of America’s 328 million residents might not have access to fast, reliable internet! For businesses relying heavily or exclusively on digital marketing tactics, this creates the potential for untold missed sales opportunities. And at a time when the digital environment is already saturated, the implication of not being able to reliably get your marketing message in front of a large portion of the population is, frankly, profound. Put it this way, how would your business growth be positively affected by reaching even 10% more potential customers?
Anyone who doubts the importance and utility of physical mail or tactile marketing likely doesn’t understand its strengths and the incredible marketing upside it can bring. In reality, a mailed piece can serve as a flexible, cost-effective tool in almost any multi- or omni-channel marketing strategy.
2. Get back on customer radar with near-100% open rates of direct mail
In 2020, virtually every business took a hit as uncertainty was high, consumer spending was down, and lockdowns increasingly pushed customers online. However, while everyone was impacted, businesses that rely on in-person customer engagement “touches” were especially impacted by social distancing measures aimed at curbing the pandemic. Now, even as more Americans become vaccinated and we move toward the recovery phase of the pandemic, the same especially hard-hit businesses face another challenge: re-energizing customer engagement.
For businesses that were closed for part or all of the past year, it’s very possible that customers simply haven’t heard from them or thought about them - after all, out of sight, out of mind. Some may have even read the worst into this and assumed that no communication meant the business had folded. This makes it even more important to pick a medium for outreach that you know customers will respond to positively. That’s one area in which direct mail shines.
In my previous post, 4 Reasons to Embrace Direct Mail in 2021, I reflected on the fact that surveys show that Americans are more likely to spend time reviewing the contents of a piece of physical mail than they are with email marketing, in part due to the overwhelming amount of email the average American receives weekly as well as an aforementioned affinity for physical mail. If you’re working with limited time or resources, rather than competing for customers’ attention in over-saturated digital spaces, consider investing in implementing a direct mail marketing strategy instead.
Whether you’re announcing plans to re-open, making a limited-time offer, or sharing an invitation for an in-person event, a mail piece offers strong ROI and a high degree of confidence that your customer will receive your message. When the recipient opens the envelope and the contents delight, impress, and surprise them, your message is more “sticky” and so it stays top-of-mind.
3. Direct mail boosts customer trust and brand awareness
When the pandemic began, it rocked markets as consumer anxiety and fear of long-term economic fallout ran rampant. While full recovery won’t be immediate, ongoing economic stimulus and increased vaccinations are already spurring renewed growth as Americans slowly return to something that looks much more like pre-pandemic life. However, even once vaccinated, consumers will likely feel some anxiety around returning to in-person events, meetings, and services, which makes it essential for businesses to do everything they can to encourage and welcome back customers.
Over the past year, consumer behavior has changed drastically and it will take time to readjust. Even though we have great reason to feel hopeful, it would be unwise to think customers will come flocking back unprompted. Instead, it would be wise for businesses to devise strategies for raising brand awareness, encouraging customers, and making them feel comfortable to walk through their doors again. Inspiring customer trust just happens to be a strength of a card or letter received through the mail.
To learn more about how physical mail can be used to build consumer customer trust, visit 3 Ways to Use Direct Mail to Build Trust-Based Relationships.
Today’s technology options allow marketers to bring customers online without having to sacrifice the personal touch of a hand-signed letter.
4. Use direct mail to connect customers to digital spaces
In years past, it seemed that digital marketing advocates were constantly at war with proponents of more traditional media and vice versa. However, the truth is that there simply isn’t one perfect marketing strategy or tool that is universally, objectively best. Rather, digital tactics and more traditional tools like direct mail simply offer different advantages for different situations. The reality is that a great marketing strategy involves a multi-channel approach to meet your audience where they are and then lead them to your business and what it offers.
Marketers today are lucky to enjoy greater flexibility than ever before when it comes to effectively integrating marketing channels, and savvy marketers are implementing digital tools, such as Quick-Reference (QR) codes or Near-Field Communication (NFC) stickers that allow customers to scan or “bump” the physical product to seamlessly transition from a physical product or mailer to an online property without sacrificing the benefits of physical mail. Even something as simple as including a landing page URL in the mailer can easily enable the transition from offline to online.
Today’s technology options allow marketers to bring customers online without having to sacrifice the personal touch of a hand-signed letter. In other words, no more having to choose between taking customers digital and implementing elements of tactile marketing.
Plan now to maximize business re-opening results
While it might still seem early to be talking full-blown re-opening, now is the time to get ready. Considering the promising signs of life from the economy, the availability of multiple effective vaccines, and ongoing economic stimulus, every business should be doing everything they can to best position themselves to hit the ground running as pent-up demand swings into “buy mode”..
Are you looking for more ways to build relationships with customers to achieve sustained growth through the development of lasting trust-based B2B relationships? You have two choices: 1) keep “window shopping” on our site to learn more and get inspired, or 2) schedule a complimentary consultation today. Awesome 3D Cards can act as a force multiplier to help spread your message further and with better ROI than many alternatives.