Personalised inserts can beat SEO and PPC all day long

swabeyWith more shoppers having turned to online purchasing as a result of the pandemic, consumers’ screens, email in-boxes and social media feeds are becoming increasingly cluttered with sales messages from companies fighting to get a piece of the action.

Competition is becoming intense as more and more brands bid to exploit advertising channels such as pay per click (PPC), email marketing, and sponsored links via search engines and social media. But it’s getting harder for businesses to achieve significant sales results without a substantial increase in their digital marketing spend.
The cost of PPC via Google ads, for example, has reportedly doubled since 2019. And Statista Research, a market and consumer data specialist, estimates that some 306.4 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2020. This figure is expected to rise to over 376.4 billion daily emails by 2025. At the same time, more than 65 billion WhatsApp messages and over 23 billion texts are now sent every day.

With consumers feeling increasingly overwhelmed by the constant barrage of sponsored social media posts, programmatic online ads, and email blitzes, it’s not surprising to find that many people are simply choosing to ignore digital marketing messages. The average open rate for marketing emails is now said to have fallen to between 20% and 40%, suggesting that up to 80% of potential customers may not even see brands’ promotions and special offers.

In the midst of all this growing digital marketing noise, how can your brand stand out from the crowd and drive more people to your website or online store?

Many brands have found that sending advertising messages in the form of compelling physical inserts via personalised mailings can play an important role in influencing online purchasing behaviour. For example, using Mail Train Media’s MatchBack, one garden retail brand saw an 86% spike in online sales after sending printed product information direct to consumers via personally addressed mail.

This offline marketing approach not only helps brands to avoid all of the on-screen turmoil, it also enables them to go beyond the screen and engage directly with consumers in their own homes.

Jicmail—the independent audience measurement body for advertising mail—has reported that personally addressed mail’s ability to engage with people and drive behaviour has increased noticeably since the start of the pandemic. Its figures also show that 56% of mail items are often still in people’s homes 28 days after delivery, thus helping to embed a brand in the home environment and deliver long-term engagement.

In a 2020 survey by IPA TouchPoints, some 46% of consumers said they felt that physical mail is a good way to receive information about companies, products or services. Other research has revealed that mail is 33% more engaging than email and 35% more engaging than social media.

A well-designed advertising insert, delivered via personally addressed mail, can make the product or service being promoted even more compelling and memorable by using senses such as touch, sight, taste and smell to influence the response. As a tactile, physical piece, it has a much greater chance of lingering in consumers’ homes long after rival brands’ promotional emails have been deleted.

As a result, a physical insert can not only literally get your product information or promotional offer into consumers’ hands, it also has a unique ability to raise brand awareness, drive engagement, and steer potential customers to your brand’s website or online store.

The surprisingly high level of symbiosis between physical mailings and online activity was recently confirmed by research from the DMA, which reported that, as a direct result of receiving mail, 92% of consumers have been driven to online or digital activity; 87% have been influenced to make online purchases; and 86% have connected with a business online.

Smart use of data enables brands to deliver targeted inserts that convey a personalised, timely and relevant message. And inserts with built-in QR codes give consumers the ability to go from an attention-grabbing physical leaflet to a brand’s website or online store with the click of a button, making the transition between offline and online even more seamless.

Data shows that offline marketing using inserts and personalised mailings can deliver more measurable and cost-efficient customer recruitment and online sales than SEO or PPC strategies.

So don’t let your web team get all the credit for your online sales…

Nigel Swabey is CEO of Scotts & Co and Mail Train Media

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