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How to Approach Direct Mail Marketing Like Netflix
Direct Mail
April 4, 2023

How to Approach Direct Mail Marketing Like Netflix

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Stephanie Donelson

Netflix is great at making content people love to binge watch and keep them coming back to the streaming service for new episodes. Is there a way to think like Netflix when it comes to your direct mail marketing strategy?

Episodic marketing content isn’t anything new, but beyond magazines, most episodic content lives online. It might be time to change the channel in you organization and expand the reach of your episodic content beyond digital mediums.

If you have developed episodic content that people can't get enough of, it's time to kick your omnichannel strategy into high gear, focusing on the effectiveness of direct mail automation. Here's why it's time to reach your audience in a physical mailbox — not just online.

How the Netflix Effect relates to direct mail marketing

Netflix is a force with nearly 231 million global subscribers as of Q4 2022. The level of engagement it achieves makes it influential in direct mail marketing. The streaming service can influence consumer behavior based on the content it offers.

The Netflix Effect has several definitions, depending on the source. However, most agree it involves a surge in popularity surrounding brands, themes, products, or celebrities. This phenomenon shows how influential Netflix is, as it can shape trends and drive sales.

To take advantage of this effect, marketing teams often tap into Netflix and other streaming services to better understand their target audience. What is trending, and how do those trends relate to your brand? You can leverage that information to create data-driven campaigns.

You can also take this concept and tweak it to help you optimize your current campaigns, including those involving direct mail automation. The key is to focus on the most "binge-able" content across your marketing channels to see how direct mail can help drive higher conversion rates. Whether you have a successful podcast, video series, or blog, direct mail has a place in your omnichannel strategy.

We have to think like publishers and keep customers and prospects coming back for new “episodes.” But, those episodes generally have to relate to each other to keep the viewer’s interest. Let’s group episodic content types into four main buckets.

Webinar save the date postcard
Source: Who's Mailing What!

Produced series

A produced series could be a podcast, vlogs with the same host, a series of scheduled social media live streams, webinars, or AMAs (Ask Me Anything). These episodes are connected by an overarching theme and are unique, original content.

How to use direct mail to promote a produced series

You could opt to use direct mail to send out save the date cards for webinars, podcasts, or social media live streams, or follow-ups in case anyone missed the event - with a link or QR code to watch a replay. You could also send out a postcard that sends people to a landing page with related content or a guide to everything they need to know about the topics presented in your produced series.

Depending on the production schedule, you could also drop teaser trailers and use direct mail to let people know about them - and include a schedule of upcoming episodes.

Nurture series

Many email marketers spend weeks building, editing, and refining their email nurture streams. These emails can be seen as episodes as they share various educational resources along the buyer’s journey.

How to use direct mail to enhance a nurture series

Add a direct mail component to your email marketing nurture streams. Progressive profiling can be a great way to collect prospects’ mailing addresses or you could even offer them the option in a preference center to receive both emails and physical mail to spread out messaging and not clog an inbox. Integrate both channels to guide the prospect on their path to purchase.

This can be especially effective in the B2B space as prospects make it to the bottom-of-funnel stages by having the mail come from their regional sales rep. Maybe they get a postcard with their sales rep’s image, contact information, and a few select answers to questions they’re most often asked during a first meeting. Then they get a letter from the sales rep with a checklist or list of things the prospect should consider as they shop around for a product or service. It adds an additional touchpoint with a personal touch in an unexpected channel.

Related content

Both Netflix and Amazon understand the power of related content and provide recommendations based on what customers have watched or bought in the past. It’s an easy way to get the customer to consume more content or buy more, but it’s still seen as relevant and valuable to the customer.

How to use direct mail with related content

Send out a direct mail campaign that features personalized recommendations of things the customer might be interested in. Or, say a prospect attended a webinar, you could then send them a postcard that features a related eBook with a quick link or QR code for them to download it.

Harrah's postcard
Source: Who's Mailing What!

Nostalgia-based content

One other thing the executives at Netflix know about their customers is their propensity towards the past, such as the explosion in popularity of “Stranger Things” and its nod to the 1980s. A way you can tap into this is to revive older campaigns or re-run specific promotions that are phased out in an episodic-format, do a throwback campaign, or create a video or podcast series like it was done in a different era, such as showing what life was like back in 1975 and here’s your brand, product, or service has changed our lives.

How to use direct mail with nostalgia-based content

Use design elements from other decades or former company branding on direct mail campaigns to quickly evoke feelings of nostalgia. Even the simple act of sending physical mail can stand out from the competition in digital marketing channels.

The power of direct mail automation

Direct mail automation has been a game-changer. You can now send relevant, targeted, and timely messages based on customer behavior via trigger-based direct mail marketing. The goal is to implement automation to maximize opportunities throughout the customer journey.

If you're creating episodic content that people love, you can take advantage of the Netflix Effect concept to keep people engaged. For example, after the fourth episode in your video series, you could send out a direct mail campaign based on where people are in their customer journey. You may want to focus on retention for viewers actively engaged in your series. However, a reactivation campaign may be more appropriate for disengaged viewers.

This process becomes easier and more efficient than ever when sending personalized, measurable direct mail through an automation platform. With Lob's direct mail automation features, you can optimize campaigns using unique QR codes and URLs to track conversions. For example, if you notice a subscriber canceled, you could send out a postcard with a personalized message. If you have data concerning a viewer's purchase history — perhaps your video series supports the growth of your online store — you can send a specific message or offer, along with a URL to redeem it.

ThirdLove is an excellent example of attracting and bringing disengaged and unsubscribed consumers back with direct mail. The entire reactivation campaign was automated, helping the company supercharge its ROI via direct mail best practices.

Reach consumers in their physical mailboxes

For many, marketing automation means sending a series of emails. However, research shows that direct mail marketing can profoundly affect critical metrics. Consumers often prefer paper-based communication, typically because of the volume of content they are exposed to online. The average consumer receives 88 emails a day, yet only 2.5 pieces of physical mail. The opportunity to stand out in consumers' mailboxes is immense, especially when you prioritize personalization.

The following stats showcase the potential of direct mail marketing:

  • 67% of consumers feel that mail is more personal than online content
  • Direct mail has a 130% higher response rate than email
  • Over 67% of marketing leaders say direct mail provides the highest ROI of any channel

Lob will help you maximize your most loved content

Direct mail has a place in every strategic omnichannel strategy. When you find content people love, take advantage of the opportunities your following brings. Leverage the data you collect and use direct mail best practices to create and send high-converting campaigns based on the triggers you set.

Want to learn more? Contact the Lob team or request a demo today!

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