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It's a Marketing Match: Direct Mail and Email
Direct Mail
April 23, 2024

It's a Marketing Match: Direct Mail and Email

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Combining direct mail with digital marketing lets you target customers offline and online, covering all bases. Direct mail and email, in particular, can be a match made in marketing heaven. This omnichannel approach increases awareness, moves potential customers through your pipelines, and drives sales. Learn more about integrated direct mail and email campaigns and read some best practices below.

Benefits of integrating direct mail and email

Creating a campaign incorporating direct mail and email helps you target customers through physical and digital marketing. Here's why these techniques make such a good pair:

Target consumers on their preferred channels

48% of respondents ages 18-34 agree receiving direct mail from a brand feels special, and 49% say it is important to me that brands interact with me beyond the digital space. Another neat finding from our 2023 State of Direct Mail Consumer Insights report? 64% of consumers say direct mail has inspired them to take action such as visiting a website or physical location! Direct mail works perfectly with digital marketing efforts - especially the digital format of mail: email.

So, how do you know which marketing methods to use? Monitoring emails and including trackable URLs in direct mail advertising reveals which channels customers respond to the most. Then, you can customize your future omnichannel marketing campaigns based on these insights.

Nurture prospects and reach new audiences

Email can be effective for nurturing potential customers over time. These communications encourage people to purchase a product or sign up for a service. Direct mail, on the other hand, is more effective for reaching brand-new audiences. Consumers often share mail pieces with friends and family, meaning more people will learn about your brand. Combine both email and direct mail marketing for the best results.

Increase conversions and response rates

If customers throw direct mail pieces away or unsubscribe from your email list, you'll find it more difficult to target those people. Using email and direct mail together provides another opportunity to reach them, potentially boosting your response and conversion rates. For example, a customer might respond to a direct mail piece after marking your emails as "spam."

Improve your brand's reputation

You might not get anywhere with email marketing, especially if customers continue to think your messages are spam. Sending well-executed direct mail pieces made from high-quality printed materials can improve your reputation and convince prospects you are a genuine brand.

Best practices for pairing direct mail with email

Creating a marketing campaign that combines direct mail and email requires planning. Follow these tips for more effective outcomes:

Use direct mail to introduce your brand

Consumers prefer direct mail from companies they don't know rather than emails, according to Lob's State of Direct Mail Consumer Insights report. So, consider sending direct mail pieces to increase awareness about your brand. Directing prospects to your website via direct mail pieces helps you capture their email addresses, which you can use for retargeting later.

Time your emails and direct mail properly

Email is great for sending urgent or time-based messages to consumers, such as inventory updates and short-time discounts. Save direct mail for product previews, early access to sales and promotions, and other announcements that don't require immediate attention.

You can also combine both methods to target customers online and offline. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Deliver a direct mail piece at the beginning of November to advertise your Black Friday sale and then send an email on the day itself.
  • Email customers who recently purchased a product and ask them to write a review. Then, send those same customers a postcard a few weeks later with a money-off coupon for their next purchase.

Use the same URL

Include a shortened URL with UTM parameters in your emails and direct mail campaign to track which channels customers respond to the most. You can also print a QR code with UTM parameters on your direct mail piece.

Check out Informed Delivery

Informed Delivery is a free email service from USPS that displays previews of upcoming physical mail. You can include an image and call to action underneath images of your direct mail, allowing you to drive customers to your website.

Recommended reading: USPS Informed Delivery: Your Direct Mail Marketing Guide

Test different formats

Experimenting with email and direct mail designs helps you find the correct formats for different audiences. For example, you might want to use a letter format for direct mail, which allows you to write more copy. You could pair this with a short email with a single CTA that gets straight to the point.

Don't stop the testing there!

Test messages, images, call-to-actions, and other elements on direct mail and email to see how prospects respond to them. Not only does this allow you to collect more data for your testing purposes, but also provides more insight into your customers' preferences.


Send personalized emails and direct mail pieces to segmented audiences based on their preferences, behaviors, and interests

Be consistent

Using the same graphics, colors, and fonts in your emails and direct mail pieces can improve brand recognition.

Let your customers tell you what they want

Speaking of preferences! Allow customers to choose whether they want to receive email, direct mail, or both from your brand—and how often .

Find the right match for direct mail marketing

Integrating direct mail with email helps you reach new audiences, increase brand awareness, and boost response and conversion rates. However, you can also mix direct mail with other digital marketing methods, such as social media and mobile marketing.

Learn what channels marketers pair direct mail with in Lob's 2024 State of Direct Mail report.

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