Direct Mail and Content Marketing: Unlikely Friends in Your Marketing Mix
In this world, sometimes the things that look to have no way to co-exist can. It’s almost in the design of life. On a much smaller scale, the discipline of marketing has many different segments. Some work together more easily than others, while others seem to have nothing in common. They are too far apart.
Such is the story of traditional marketing schemes and newer digital methods — because marketing is always changing. As it has evolved, the shift from traditional to digital continues. This shift has been a bit slower in some B2B industries. The truth is B2B is still marketing and selling to people. That doesn’t mean all traditional methods should be scrapped. Nor does it mean you should ignore digital. Rather, there is room for both in a healthy marketing strategy.
The key is these channels and tactics can’t live in silos. They need to be integrated to work together. Such is the case with direct mail and content marketing. While these two areas seem to exist on opposite ends of the spectrum, there are opportunities to leverage each together. Let’s look at how content marketing can act as a support and supplement to direct mail.
Direct Mail – the Message to Go Online
Use your direct mail pieces, including catalogs, to encourage buyers to go online. Tease what’s new in your collection. Launching a new product is something you should be shouting in every channel. But put the brakes on “buy it now” language. Instead, use content marketing to educate and inform.
Ask readers to visit your site and read an ebook, white paper, or blog post about why this product came to be and its benefits. Write a story about how this new thing will make a difference in their workflow. Does it offer them more efficiency? Help them be compliant? Reduce costs? These are the key drivers for B2B buyers. And these buyers are doing more research online with 74% conducting at least half of their research online according to a Forrester study. So, it makes sense to point them there.
Direct mail doesn’t have to be a commercial. To think of it as just a promotional channel is to limit its possibilities. It should be the beginning of the conversation with your customer that continues online.
Offer Exclusive Content for Mail Recipients
Not only can you send the message that customers should view your site, but you also need to let them know that they are getting exclusive content. Exclusivity has its allure for B2B buyers, too. You should stress this in your direct mail message. Also remember that buyers consume lots of video, and video gets people interested. According to Google, 28% of people make a purchase after viewing a brand’s video.
Thus, video is a viable option. Video is influential. Pair this with the buzz of ephemeral content, and you’ve got a solid way to integrate direct mail and content marketing.
For the content of the videos, go back to benefits for your customer. You could use short videos to demonstrate how a product or service works. Focus on specific things that happen because of it. Keep the videos short and snappy.
Weave in the ephemeral marketing with Snapchat. Yes, I know it skews young but give it a try. The workforce is getting younger and this is an opportunity to start engaging with future customers. Put one of your junior marketing employees in charge of the Snapchat account. Have them share stores about how your product is built or used. Have fun with it. Remember, your content should not be identical in each channel. Target the content to the channel’s demographics.
Snapchat offers Snapcodes, or QR codes. Print them right on your direct mail pieces. Snapcodes deliver engagement results. Try it in your next piece then measure its impact. Because the content is exclusive, you’ll be able to connect it directly to the campaign. See what your views are and if those lead to other conversions around purchases or another contact.
In this situation, your content needs to reinforce a new behavior. Say, you mail a large annual catalog with all your parts. The catalog is something many of your customers expect. They use it to order and to plan. It’s their current behavior. However, it would actually take less time if they used your e-commerce platform. In many cases, it may be a case of adoption. So, you have to produce content that supports this behavior change. When they realize that this new way to order takes less time, that may be a motivator.
Consider how your buyer would make the move from catalog to online. Facilitate it better with content marketing. Host a webinar on why customers should migrate online. Deliver demos on how online ordering works. Then be sure to include where customers can find these resources. The catalog doesn’t have to go away in this situation; it becomes the supplement to the online ordering process.
Deliver a CTA That’s Response Worthy
Your CTA (call to action) needs to foster a response. In the instance of delivering the right CTA in direct mail, that’s, as discussed above, about getting your customers online. Go back to the big tease. How do you build anticipation in the modern world? It’s not easy in a world of grand gestures. Stay true to your brand’s tone. Be authentic in your ask. Give them a reason to do something that makes sense and doesn’t take too long. There should also be just one CTA. Even in a catalog, it should be one throughout the pages. Be clear and concise. Tell them what you have to say and why it matters.
Consider all these strategies when developing your plan to integrate direct mail and content marketing. Just as many unlikely friendships have formed, the bond between direct mail and content marketing can be one of mutual benefit. Give these four ideas a chance in your B2B marketing mix.