3 Ways To Use Direct Mail Marketing With Email Marketing

Think there’s one eCommerce marketing channel that’s better than others?

Wrong. 

They all have their strengths and weaknesses, from cost to trackability and hassle to effectiveness. 

Sometimes, using channels in tandem doesn’t just balance out those strengths and weaknesses—they’re even more potent used together than separately. 

Case in point?

Direct mail marketing with email marketing.

1+1 = 3: Why Direct Mail and Email Marketing Work Better Together

Unlike paid ads, direct mail marketing and email marketing are owned media channels, which means you can directly reach your target audience. Using both channels together unlocks new opportunities for growth by nurturing, converting and retaining more customers.

Email marketing is a go-to channel for eCommerce brands, allowing you to reach customers directly in their inboxes to share promotions, new product launches, product education and more. Direct mail marketing—sending physical mail to mailboxes—lets you reach more customers, but also comes at a higher price. 

By combining the strengths of both channels, you can extend your reach, drive awareness, reengage subscribers, win back lost customers and build an integrated customer journey with higher conversion rates.

In this guide, we’ll share three strategies for pairing direct mail with email to achieve your business goals.

The Email and Direct Mail Marketing Tools You Need

To implement these strategies, you'll need an email service platform to send your emails. We recommend Klaviyo because it integrates seamlessly with PostPilot, making it easy to build an integrated customer journey. 

Having an email strategy automation tool like Backbone is also helpful for planning marketing campaigns, recommending flows and generating custom templates.

Strategy 1: Convert More Leads

The Combination Welcome Flow

Start with Email: One of the most important email marketing flows for DTC brands is the Welcome Flow. The goal is to start building a relationship with new email subscribers, introducing them to your brand and products, and driving them of this flow is to welcome new email subscribers, introduce to the brand and products, and drive them towards a first purchase.

Welcome Flows typically consist of three to five emails and include a discount for 10-15% off the first purchase. Here’s a framework:

  • Email #1: Welcome To [Brand]: Welcoming new email subscribers, sharing your brand story and introducing them to key products/collections
  • Email #2: Meet Our Products: Introducing more of your product catalog and guiding customers to choose the first products they want to try
  • Email #3: Testimonials: Sharing customer testimonials, UGC, and social proof to build trust
  • Email #4: Product Education: Educating customers on what makes your products different, higher quality, how to use products, and what they can expect
  • Email #5: Brand Education: Educating customers on why they should buy from you by sharing more about your brand mission, story and values

Follow with Direct Mail: Most of your subscribers won’t make a purchase even after receiving multiple welcome emails. Some of them may not even open your messages. But you don’t have to write them off as lost leads. 

To reengage these prospects, build a post-welcome direct mail marketing campaign.

If someone hasn’t made a purchase after receiving the last email in your welcome sequence, three to five days later they should receive a postcard that reinforces your brand's value proposition and offers a limited-time discount. Postcard marketing is immune to spam filters and an estimated 90% of direct mail gets read, so your message is practically guaranteed to get through. And sometimes, a physical reminder is the nudge someone needs to follow through on a purchase. 

PostPilot’s direct mail platform includes powerful segmentation features, so you can personalize your campaigns based on factors like:

  • How much they engaged with your welcome emails: Customers who opened your messages may need less brand education than those who didn't. Consider sending different direct mail marketing campaigns for each audience with more and less brand information.
  • Products they might like. If you have data on their browsing behavior or demographic traits, try recommending specific products just for them.

This tactic can provide the extra nudge needed to get subscribers comfortable with your brand and turn them into customers. 

The "Buyer Intent" Email/Direct Mail Flow

This approach targets high-intent prospects: Shoppers who have browsed your site, or even added products to their cart without following through on their purchase. In some cases, these potential customers got distracted and just need a simple reminder to bring them back. Other prospects might need a little more wooing. 

Start with Email: There are three key email flows that every eCommerce brand should have to convert shoppers into customers:

  1. Browse Abandonment: Typically 1-2 emails targeting customers who viewed products on site but didn’t add anything to their cart. 
  2. Add to Cart: Typically 1-2 emails targeting customers who added products to their cart but never started checkout.
  3. Abandoned Cart: Typically 3-4 abandoned cart emails targeting customers who started checkout but never completed their purchase.

Follow with Direct Mail: Just as with all email campaigns, some customers will respond, but many others will never even read your messages. Direct mail lets you connect with those hard-to-reach prospects. 

Send direct mail to these interested shoppers by reminding them of the products they were interested in and offering incentives like free shipping or a limited-time discount.

These campaigns should go out a few days after shoppers have received the email marketing flows since direct mail costs more than email marketing. This allows you to maximize your ROI while converting the most shoppers into customers.

Strategy 2: Energize Your VIPs 

VIP Enhancement Campaigns

Every business has customers who are more engaged and loyal—and as a result have a higher lifetime value (LTV). Smart businesses invest in taking those relationships even farther, encouraging additional purchases. 

Promotions and product launches are prime opportunities to connect with your VIP customers with email and direct mail. Build loyalty, get more repeat purchases and increase LTV of your most engaged customers during promotions and new product launches.

The Email Strategy: There are several different ways to give your VIPs special treatment, offering perks that show your appreciation and encourage them to take advantage of deals:

  1. Early Notice: Send an announcement about upcoming promotions or product launches a few days (or even weeks) before the general public gets the news.
  2. Early Access: Give your VIPs a few days’ head start to purchase a new product or access a promotion. Bonus points if it's a limited edition product. 
  3. Extended Sales: Let your VIP customers enjoy the promotion for longer than the general public. 
  4. Extra Discounts: Give your VIPs additional discounts or exclusive offers not available to other customers. This can include offering a higher percentage off during a sale or bundling products together for a special price. 

The Direct Mail Strategy: Use direct mail to follow up with unengaged customers. For VIP customers, you may even want to start with direct mail for a premium, tactile experience. 

  1. Handwritten Notes: Use PostPilot to send handwritten cards to add a personal touch for your VIPs. Handwritten thank you notes for eCommerce work extremely well: Use a handwritten note to thank them for a substantial order, offer a holiday greeting, or let them know about an upcoming promotion or a product launch.
  2. Early Access: Along with the email announcing early access, send a physical postcard to your VIP customers, highlighting the exclusivity of the offer. 
  3. Extended Sales: To further emphasize the extended sale period for your VIPs in case they miss the email, send a direct mail piece outlining the details, maybe even with a few recommended products.
  4. Extra Discounts: In addition to sending an email, consider sending a beautifully designed postcard or mailer featuring the VIP discount offer. A built-in QR code can make it easy for your customers to redeem their offer.

"Last Chance" Campaigns

Creating a sense of urgency to a transaction leverages human psychology to encourage people to act. It can be especially effective for VIP customers, who already know and trust your brand. 

Start with Email: Send an email to your audience 24 hours, 12 hours and 4 hours before a sale ends. Including a countdown timer often helps click and conversion rates.

For product launches, sending emails a few days and weeks after the initial launch, letting customers know that the product is selling quickly. Include customer testimonials to help generate FOMO. 

Follow with Direct Mail: A few days before the sale is scheduled to end, send a postcard to remind customers of the promotion and reiterate the limited-time offer. This added touchpoint can help capture customers who may have missed or ignored your emails, boosting the overall success of your promotion.

Strategy 3: Cross-Sell + Upsell to Subscriptions

Subscribers can be incredibly valuable to eCommerce brands. The revenue from these customers is more predictable than with one-off purchases, which makes supply chain planning easier and can lower your ongoing marketing costs. 

Also crucial: subscribers buy a lot. According to a Wharton School study, customers who become members purchase more, even on top of their subscriptions.

Cross-selling—encouraging customers to purchase complementary products—is a powerful way to increase average order values and build customer loyalty. Cross-sales can be a customer gateway to subscriptions. 

Start with Email: Create flows that focus on introducing customers to additional products they might like as well as introducing them to the idea of a recurring subscription for products they've already tried:

  • Product Recommendations: Use purchase history and browsing behavior to recommend complementary products or new releases that align with the customer's interests.
  • Bundle Offers: Showcase product bundles or a free gift with subscription to make it easy for customers to explore more of your product range or incentivize them to sign up for a subscription.
  • Subscription Perks: Share the benefits customers can get by upgrading to a subscription, such as free shipping, discounts, early access to new products, and more.

Follow with Direct Mail: Enhance your email marketing efforts by incorporating direct mail to further promote cross-selling and subscription upselling. Here are a few direct mail strategies to consider:

  • Personalized Cardalogs: Send a customized trifold card to customers, showcasing products, collection or bundle that you recommend for them based on their previous purchases.
  • Limited-Time Promotions: Create a sense of urgency with time-sensitive offers, such as a free gift if they start a subscription or a limited-time discount on new products.

How to Get Started with Direct Mail

Ready to add direct mail to your marketing mix (or interested in learning more?) PostPilot can help.

Places to start:

Or, if you're just ready to get moving and chat with us, head over here. We'll get back to you in a jiffy.

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