How to Integrate Your Direct Mail and Digital Marketing Efforts for More Sales and Conversions

First there was direct mail. Then the internet came along, which turned direct response marketing upside down. It’s no secret that direct mail and catalog numbers are down – 2016 saw only half as many paper catalogs mailed as in 2007.

You may have heard the assertion that digital marketing has eclipsed physical direct mail marketing. While digital marketing has certainly blossomed over the past decade and a half, it has not made physical mail obsolete. People still appreciate and pay attention to direct mail, which means using both may be the best strategy for most businesses.

For example, only 15% of millennials say that they ignore direct mail, in contrast to the 50% who say that they ignore digital ads. A real catalog that you can touch, flip through, mark, cut up, and browse without having to wait for a page to load is appealing to many people who spend most of their day staring at screens at work and home.

The two approaches don’t have to be at odds. For smart businesses, it’s about finding the right balance of both digital and print to engage with your customers.

Here’s a look at how integrating your digital and physical marketing efforts can make your campaigns more effective, help you cut through the jungle of competing ads to your target audience, and increase your profits.


Email is still the king of digital marketing and should be one of the things you focus on when integrating digital and direct mail campaigns. If you have the email addresses of the recipients of your mailers or catalogs, you can use that to your advantage and to elicit a better response.

Things often get in the way, and a catalog that might have seemed interesting or attractive when first opened might have been put aside and forgotten. A simple email with a subject line such as “Remember to look in that catalog you received from [X] to save big on fall fashion!” can remind your prospects of the offers they’re missing out on, offers which can only be found in the catalog that they received and forgot about.

Better yet, you can set up a multi-part email series to remind them one, two, four and six weeks out (for example) about your offers.

Social Media and PPC Remarketing

The beauty of digital marketing is the amount of specific, granular data it can give you. If your catalog or mailer has a unique URL that leads the recipients to a specific, specially-made landing page on your website, you can add what’s known as a “tracking pixel” to that page. Then, you know that they’ve shown interest in your offer – at the very least, they visited the unique webpage you created.

The tracking pixel, however, will allow you to target only the people who visited that page with image and text ads as they browse the internet. These ads can be customized in many ways, and can be a good way to both remind them of your existence and generate incremental sales that you might not have made through the physical catalog alone.

To engage people on social media sites, such as Facebook, include a prop or something else that you can use as part of a competition in your mailer. You can get creative here – it can be a card, object, or something else. You can ask them – in your mailer – to snap a picture of that object and make a public post on Facebook or other social sites in which they tag your brand.

The prize should be appealing enough for people to want to do so, of course, and the competition should be exclusive enough that not just anyone can get in on the action – only the people who are signed up to receive your catalogs or other direct mail. The sky is the limit here, but it’s a great way to engage your potential or existing customers and build brand awareness on the biggest social networks out there.

Web Site Browsers

Using tracking pixels, you can mail catalogs or postcards to inactive customers who are browsing your website but haven’t yet made a purchase.  Mailing them a print catalog or other direct mail piece might be the extra touch needed to reactivate them.  Tracking browser activity online can also be used to determine which product categories are being viewed and the level of engagement.  The length of time spent onsite and number of pages viewed can be used to score and segment browsers for an inexpensive direct mail piece such as a postcard.  Customizing your postcard based on products viewed can improve your direct mail response rates.


These are just a few examples of what you can do to integrate your physical direct mail and digital marketing efforts. You shouldn’t take a one or the other approach – the two complement each other nicely and, if you can learn to harness them and make them work together, you can take your marketing successes to new heights.


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