In a digitally overloaded Software as a Service (SaaS) world, direct mail letters, postcards and self-mailers stand out. Some of the biggest names in technology serve as reminders that direct mail for SaaS can be a powerful addition to tech driven marketing efforts.
Yet, nearly midway through 2023, the print/postal medium still has a low-tech reputation among some mid-size and smaller businesses. Perhaps more marketers should heed the B2B and B2C experiences of techies at Adobe Inc., Amazon.com, Booking.com, DoorDash Inc., Google LLC, Intuit Inc., LinkedIn Corp., PayPal Holdings, RingCentral Inc., Square Capital, and Uber Technologies.
All these companies employ direct mail as part of their account-based multichannel marketing strategies. That’s some good company, and they’re not alone. Dunkin’ Donuts, like most fast-food franchises, does heaps of digital marketing and pushes its smartphone app hard. Nonetheless, consumer households in suburban Chicago last month received a glossy, 11×17-inch sheet of coupons—printed and distributed in their mailboxes.
If you’re among those who think print is “dead,” consider the trade shop in Georgia that produces up to 10 million postcards each month. That’s only one example from a single manufacturing plant. Online retailers, such as Hayneedle, HelloFresh, and Wayfair, use printed mailings to attract and acquire new customers for their e-commerce operations. “Direct mail may be a traditional, old-school way to market, but it can also be extremely effective,” Practical Ecommerce has reported.
The Digital-Print Tandem
The downside of marketing via email or SMS text messaging is running afoul of spam filters and ad blockers. Or consumers simply ignore these messages due to the high volume of ads that people receive. With multiple digital devices giving constant notifications and more people working at home post-pandemic, many increasingly feel overwhelmed and fatigued by the digital deluge.
“That sense of fatigue may be compounded because email saturation continues to increase year over year,” American Express reported last year. Some 320 billion emails are sent and received daily, reveals research from Statista. By 2025, that volume is expected to grow by 25 billion more per diem. Meanwhile, open rates continue to decrease—hovering around 20% for business e-marketing correspondence, according to Marigold’s Campaign Monitor.
That’s not to suggest emailing, online search, and Facebook ads are not effective. But direct mail can rise above the clutter of “digital noise,” which includes online reviews and re-targeted ads. DM marketing should play a role in your omnichannel marketing strategy.
So-called “snail mail” can rescue digital campaigns from tech uncertainty. “An effective direct mail campaign can be integrated into a broader digital sales funnel,” asserts a recent Business.com article. Some marketers ignore direct mail, viewing it as expensive and imprecise. “In reality, direct mail can serve as a cost-effective and highly targeted lead-generation source that you can easily integrate with broader digital marketing campaigns,” writes Mark Fairlie.
“When used correctly, printing can even take a large portion of the sales-funnel load off of platforms such as Facebook and Google, thereby reducing marketers’ reliance on these digital behemoths,” he concludes.
Why Direct Mail for SaaS Works
- Postal mail is a physical object, so it’s not as easy to dispose of as emails. With email marketing, a simple click deletes your ad permanently.
- Because direct mail is tangible, it is more likely to elicit a response.
- Direct mail offers target segmenting opportunities: Choose the exact locations of ad recipients. (This is an effective strategy for real estate and other industries that depend on direct mail campaigns to reach geographically targeted audiences.)
Oh, and if you think younger people aren’t amenable to receiving mail in print, think again! Demographic research suggests that, despite being the first generation born after the widespread adoption of the Internet, “Gen Z” responds well to print media and offline marketing, according to Business.com. This newest generation of consumers already represents an estimated $300 billion in buying power.