No Email? No Problem. Physical Addresses Are Re-Opening the Door to Engagement.

  • May 28, 2019
  • @ 10:33 AM

Unsubscribe imageDuring the eTail West conference earlier this year, I had the chance to speak with marketers about the challenges that keep them up at night. One of the most common responses: The growing number of lapsed and lost email subscribers, and subsequently, what this meant for effectively reaching and retaining customers moving forward.  

The answer may not be to ramp up your digital marketing activity, as 82 percent of marketers indicated they were going to do in 2019, but to look at leveraging another channel altogether — direct mail.  

Let’s Get Physical

A distinct advantage of direct mail is the accessibility of physical addresses. This accessibility stems from the U.S. Postal Service® whose service obligation ensures delivery to the 159 million household and business addresses in the U.S.

Leveraging a readily available and already well-regulated distribution system, direct mail enables marketers to put a real, personalized message directly into the hands of their customers without fear of going unseen, or worse yet, being blocked. And with an average 2.63 people per household, not only are you getting in front of your intended individual, but frequently you earn additional attention from other household residents, thus increasing your reach and opportunity. 

Beyond just creating access, direct mail is capturing attention as seen in its 66 percent open rate and a read rate of one minute or more at 82 percent.  

Informed Delivery Example
Informed Delivery email example. Here, Hayneedle uses the custom ride-along image and URL, shown as the second image from the top. 

Filling the Gap

Of course the key to leveraging direct mail is having your audience's physical address.

What was previously a barrier is no longer an issue. Our connected world has created the ability to identify and append physical addresses to an email address, creating the opportunity to re-open that door of communication. 

With the physical address in hand, create personalized pieces using the same level of targeting and ease that has made email and display ad marketing so popular.

Variable data printing enables the individualization of each piece with copy and images at scale. Reference previous purchases or website activity and even provide an incentive to purchase through a unique offer code.

Take Your Direct Mail Back to the Inbox

What if there was a way, even though you’re dealing with opted-out individuals, you could regain access to the inbox? With Informed Delivery® you can.

Through the USPS®’ Informed Delivery program registrants receive a daily email that provides a digital preview of the mail a household will receive that day. The email features scanned images of the exterior of incoming mail pieces, thus providing an immediate additional digital impression for your direct mail campaign.

What's more, brands can take engagement one step further by including an interactive campaign with a custom ride-along image and target URL. The best part — the USPS charges no fees to participate in these interactive campaigns.

This means that even though you may not have the ability to use an individual's email address, by using Informed Delivery, you regain access to the recipient's email box via the Informed Delivery email.

Doing so, you create a holistic omnichannel effort with two touch points one physical with direct mail and one digital with email for limited additional effort and no additional cost.

While many brands see their engagement rates stagnating, the Informed Delivery program continues to grow in popularity as evidenced by its 65 percent email open rate. Pretty compelling.

So, while you may have though that a lost email subscriber means a door has all but shut, direct mail is providing new ways to re-open that door, providing a distinct opportunity for engagement that compensates for the challenges facing email marketing. 

Want to learn how direct mail can help with your email subscriber challenges?
Contact us today. We're happy to brainstorm with you and share how we've helped other marketers re-engage their contacts. 



Written by Jeana Garms

Vice President, Marketing at SG360°. A seasoned marketer experienced in designing and executing omnichannel marketing campaigns that combine the spectrum of marketing channels to drive desired actions and achieve results.