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How to Infuse Your Direct Mail with Omni‑Channel Tactics

Article - 12 Min. Read -

When digital and direct mail come together, you can drive action like never before. Discover the omni‑channel techniques transforming marketers’ campaigns.

Abstract illustration of intersecting green and blue lines, representing connected campaigns.

In today’s increasingly competitive landscape, marketers must get creative with their campaigns, coordinating messaging across various channels to drive customer action and set their brand apart.

Direct mail, in particular, has proven to be an effective marketing tactic when combined with other channels. In fact, in one survey of 75 selected marketing decision-makers, 63% said coordinating direct mail and digital campaigns increases response rates.[1] But only 27% said they “always” coordinate direct mail and digital.[2]

Popular marketing tactics including influencer marketing, paid ads, lead generation and content distribution can be particularly helpful in driving action at the early stages of the customer journey—awareness and desire.

To reach consumers dropping off after those initial stages, combining direct mail with digital marketing can be hugely effective, driving them into the later stages of evaluation, transaction and loyalty.

Through the USPS® Informed Delivery® feature, USPS Informed Visibility® notifications, retargeted direct mail and digitally enhanced mail, marketers can easily take their campaigns to the next level while pushing their target audience further along the customer journey.

Digital Innovations for Direct Mail

Read a brief overview of each innovation before we dive into their applications.

Informed Delivery

With the Informed Delivery feature, marketers have three distinct opportunities to drive customer action, all with a single mailpiece.

Once customers sign up for the Informed Delivery feature, they can use the Informed Delivery dashboard, app or email notification to see a preview of their mail before it arrives.[3] This is considered the first touchpoint.

They can also access complementary digital content, called “ride-along content”—the second touchpoint. This may be a newsletter sign-up, a link to your social media platform or an exclusive discount.

Finally, at the third touchpoint, they can open the physical mailpiece and respond to any included offers.

Informed Visibility

Through Informed Visibility notifications, you can see when customers receive your marketing mail, then follow up with timely, relevant digital campaigns—whether via paid search, paid social media or emails.

This allows you to create highly coordinated campaigns that help keep your brand top of mind, driving customers to act.

Retargeted Direct Mail

Retargeted direct mail allows you to automatically send out mail to users taking specific actions on your company’s digital channels, whether they’re interacting with your website, app or social media.

By setting triggers for specific online actions, complementary direct mail can arrive in customers’ mailboxes within a few days of the digital interaction.

Digitally Enhanced Mail

Digitally enhanced mail infuses sophisticated digital innovations—such as augmented reality (AR), QR Codes®, near field communication (NFC) and virtual reality (VR)—into direct mail.[4]

By offering customers highly immersive, interactive experiences, digitally enhanced mail can help set your brand apart.

Omni‑Channel Applications for Direct Mail Innovations

See how these innovations can be used in tandem with the latest marketing tactics to create campaigns that convert.

Influencer Marketing

A form of marketing especially popular on social media, influencer marketing involves using endorsements, product mentions or placements, or brand messaging from “influencers.”

Influencers have large social media followings and are considered experts in their field or niche. Influencer marketing may include sponsored blog posts, tagged companies on influencers’ social posts or social media “takeovers,” in which an influencer posts on a brand’s platform for a set period of time.

Micro-influencer marketing can be very effective as well. The term “micro-influencer” refers to an everyday person known in a specific region or niche. They have a smaller social media following than a traditional influencer, usually in the range of about 10,000 to 500,000, though definitions vary.

How to Integrate Influencer Marketing with Direct Mail Innovations

Informed Delivery

Try creating an Informed Delivery campaign to announce the opening of a new retail location, sending out direct mail to drive awareness and engagement.

Along with the mailpiece preview, ride-along content can lead to a video on your brand’s social media platform, where customers can get a sneak peek of the new location, led by a prominent influencer in your industry.

Informed Visibility

To raise awareness of a post-holiday special, try sending an eye-catching postcard detailing the promotion and offering customers a branded item that they can receive after signing up. The postcard could feature a well-known figure in your industry with a loyal following on social media.

Through Informed Visibility notifications, you’ll know when the card arrives in customers’ mailboxes. From there, coordinated paid search and social ads can be launched to remind people of the offer and lead them to sign up.

Retargeted Direct Mail

To raise awareness of a new product line, use your company’s social media platform to post daily product tutorials led by an influencer. Use retargeted direct mail to set a trigger for any users who watch the tutorials and add a featured item to their online cart via the platform’s proprietary checkout but don’t end up making a purchase.

These customers can then be automatically sent a personalized mailpiece reminding them of the abandoned item. To push them toward conversion, a special discount can be included, as well as an exclusive message from the influencer.

Digitally Enhanced Mail

Consider sending out direct mail highlighting a new product line, with an NFC chip embedded into the mailpiece.

When customers hold their mobile device near the chip, a short video can be launched, with a famous social media influencer explaining how they played a part in the making of the new line or why they use your brand.

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Paid Ads

Paid ads allow companies to purchase ad space from the owners of a particular digital channel. There are different types of paid ads, including display ads (also called banner ads), pay-per-click (PPC) ads and pay-per-impression (PPI) ads.

Display ads typically include an image, animation or photograph with corresponding copy, as well as a call-to-action button that users can click to be led to a website, sign-up page or landing page.

Pay-per-click ads appear when users conduct an online search; these ads relate to the specific search terms used. As the name implies, companies only pay when a user actually clicks on the ad.

By analyzing who clicks on the ads, companies can home in on their target audience. For example, if a brand notices that many users in a specific location are clicking on their ads, they may ramp up marketing in that region.

Ad sequencing can also serve as a powerful marketing tactic. Also referred to as sequential messaging or sequential retargeting, ad sequencing uses a sequence of paid ads to tell a cohesive story or relay bits of information in a certain order. Not only can this help raise awareness of your brand, it can also help you stand out from the crowd by presenting a highly engaging, cohesive narrative.

As of 2019, 84% of marketers were using location data in their marketing and ad campaigns.[5] 94% of marketers said they plan to use it in the future.[6]

84% Use location data
94% Plan to use location data

Finally, with pay-per-impression ads, companies pay only when a user lands on the specific site or platform displaying the ad.

How to Integrate Paid Ads with Direct Mail Innovations

Informed Delivery

Consider sending a mailpiece with the season’s latest trends and encouraging your customers to visit your seasonal landing page. Along with a preview of the mailpiece, recipients signed up for Informed Delivery can access ride-along content leading to a promotion for a free sample of a new product.

To complement the Informed Delivery campaign, potential customers can later be targeted with display ads advertising your brand’s trending products.

Informed Visibility

Send out postcards advertising an upcoming sale at your brick-and-mortar locations, using Informed Visibility notifications to see when the mailpiece arrives in recipients’ mailboxes.

Once you see they have received the card, you can heighten the efficacy of the message and help keep your business top of mind through paid ad sequencing. You may wish to release new information about the sale at set intervals, advertise different promotions as certain items become discounted or create a compelling narrative about how the sale products can be used.

Retargeted Direct Mail

To reach an online audience searching for services in a specific area, release PPC ads offering free consultations. Anyone who clicks on the ads can be led to your company’s site, where they can view your past work and read glowing testimonials.

Through retargeted direct mail, users who click the ads but don’t contact you for a consultation within three weeks can be automatically sent a mailpiece that reminds them of the offer and highlights the benefits of your service.

Digitally Enhanced Mail

To win back past customers, try sending a mailpiece highlighting the cutting-edge services your brand now offers. The mailpiece can include AR capabilities; when customers scan it with their mobile device, an immersive experience can be launched, showcasing the new services and explaining their benefits.

To complement the direct mail campaign, target customers on social media with PPC ads for a one-time discount on any of the new offerings.

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Lead Generation

Lead generation refers to any marketing tactic designed to capture prospects’ interest, drawing them into your sales funnel by encouraging some kind of action that will provide you with their contact information. The ultimate goal, of course, is to convert them into customers.

Emails, e-books, social media posts and pop-up events can all be used to generate leads. Some social media platforms make it especially easy for users to provide their contact information—and garner you more leads.

Whether users are signing up for a promotion, entering a contest or joining your newsletter list, being presented with a prefilled form makes for a smoother, more seamless experience. This can also help prevent users from being deterred by a lengthy, time-consuming form.

Along with higher response rates, prefilled forms can help flesh out your mailing list, as you can easily obtain users’ physical addresses.

How to Integrate Lead Generation with Direct Mail Innovations

Informed Delivery

To gain new customers, try sending out mailpieces to nearby prospects announcing an advanced new service you’re offering.

Through the Informed Delivery feature, recipients can view a preview of the mailpiece, along with ride-along content leading to an email newsletter sign-up, where prospects can claim a discount for subscribing.

Informed Visibility

To expand your e-commerce reach, consider sending out a postcard to customers on your mailing list in honor of a national holiday or novelty day, such as National Pet Day.

Through Informed Visibility notifications, you can see when customers receive the mailpiece, then follow up with a complementary email offering a gift card to anyone who refers a new customer to your online store.

Retargeted Direct Mail

To push prospects toward conversion, try setting up a retargeted direct mail trigger for anyone who created an account on your website and began to schedule a VIP service but abandoned it before sending.

Then, send these prospects a customized direct mailpiece a few days later that references the details they provided on your site and lists some of the special offerings available.

Digitally Enhanced Mail

To attract new customers, consider sending out a postcard encouraging recipients to explore your latest campaign.

A QR Code on the mailpiece can lead recipients to your website, where they will also be prompted to sign up for a monthly newsletter highlighting expert tips and product suggestions.

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Content Distribution

Content distribution refers to the dissemination of content designed to provide value to the customer. Newsletters, podcasts, blog posts, videos, tutorials, white papers and interviews can all be used to engage customers and drive action. This content may be shared, published and promoted through websites, emails, social media posts, podcast players, apps and more.

By helping to solve a customer’s problem or answer a question, companies can increase their credibility, heighten their reputation and boost overall brand awareness.

How to Integrate Content Distribution with Direct Mail Innovations

Informed Delivery

To get the word out about a new product being offered, try creating an Informed Delivery campaign advertising its debut.

Recipients with the Informed Delivery feature can see the preview of the mailpiece, as well as ride-along content leading to a social media video showcasing the new item, with entertaining, informative narration.

Informed Visibility

If you’re in the hospitality industry, encourage previous guests to book another visit by sending out a mailpiece offering a limited-time discount for advance reservations.

With Informed Visibility notifications, you can see when customers receive the mail, then follow up with an email reminder. The email may include a link to your website, where customers can explore helpful blog posts and photos detailing the latest updates.

Retargeted Direct Mail

To entice your newsletter subscribers to start attending your events, send out a special email update, listing upcoming discussions and get-togethers, and encouraging them to digitally RSVP.

Then, set a digital trigger: Anyone who opens the email but doesn’t RSVP can be sent a direct mail reminder that showcases your organization’s upcoming events.

Digitally Enhanced Mail

To encourage customers to browse your new subscription-based product offerings, try sending mail that includes a cardboard VR headset. By inserting a smartphone into the headset, customers can embark on an exciting virtual journey.

Throughout the experience, customers can explore each product by focusing the headset on various “hotspots” which display item details and launch brief interviews with the skilled employees working behind the scenes at your company.

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Key Takeaway

By combining direct mail innovations, such as the Informed Delivery feature, Informed Visibility notifications, retargeted direct mail and digitally enhanced mail, with the sophisticated marketing tactics mentioned above, companies can bring their campaigns to life.

Not only does this help spur customer action and keep their brands top of mind, it also sets their companies apart from the crowd, establishing them as modern, cutting-edge businesses that know what consumers want—and know how to deliver.

As you begin creating your own omni‑channel campaigns, look back on these examples for inspiration and guidance.

  1. [1]“Direct Mail Conversion Research,” USPS, Feb. 2019.
  2. [2]Ibid.
  3. [3]Exterior images are only provided for letter-size mailpieces that are processed through USPS’ automated equipment. Package tracking information on Priority Mail®, Priority Mail Express® and other trackable parcels is also provided.
  4. [4]QR Code is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED.
  5. [5]“2019 Location-Based Marketing Report: Insights into Location Data Use, Benefits and Opportunities,” sponsored by Factual, independently conducted by Lawless Research, 2019.
  6. [6]Ibid.

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