We all know of tweets and memes that have “gone viral.” But did you know that direct mail can go viral, too? Large companies like Stein Mart and Chick-Fil-A have experimented with new ways of connecting social media with old-fashioned mail, and watched postcards explode into online shares. From improving your analytics to increasing sales, read on for how creatively connecting direct mail and social media can work for you, no matter the size of your business.

What Are Your Goals?

Direct mail and social media sounds cool. But first know exactly what you want to accomplish. This will help you know what to include in your campaign. Here are two examples of goals you might want to meet.

Improve Your Database

The goal is to get key information about your prospects and customers. This may be numbers and demographics, it may be social media handles — whatever would be helpful to improve future targeting. This information can be effectively captured on the online landing platforms where you send your customers and prospects. You may want to look into software to help you efficiently organize and analyze the information you need.

Improve Social Media Integration

You want to see your social media presence play a more effective role in marketing, relationship building, and sales, and to hear your company accountant say, “Hey! We’ve improved our ROI! Thanks, marketing team!” This is a tough, sometimes mysterious enterprise, as social media and digital marketing are always changing. But crossing tangible experiences with digital ones seems to be the most consistently successful method. And why not? People make their broadest connections online, and their most meaningful ones through the tangible. As you cross direct mail with social media involvement, you are capturing this winning formula for your business.

Who’s Your Market?

You likely already know the importance of knowing your readers. But we’ll say it again, just for kicks: know exactly who you’re targeting before you send your campaign. The entire craft of your campaign depends on who you want to appeal to and why. Specific appeal is far more effective than a general appeal. When Chick-Fil-A sent their “viral” postcard, they only mailed 5,000. They received over 14,000 responses because they sent to people they knew would be interested in sharing that particular promo. They targeted effectively.

Direct Mail, Meet Social Media

There are many ways to boost social media presence using direct mail. Here’s a review of some of the current trends:

Social Sharing

Offer a promo or coupon your target market will be interested in, and encourage them to share it on social media using the corresponding handle. Just be sure your online and offline campaigns are 100% aligned in messaging and design.

Incentives For Those Who Share or Invite

I keep a card in my wallet that says, “$25 toward your next vet visit when you refer a friend online!” I’m a frequent enough customer that this appeal was right up my alley. They got me. And I can’t wait to redeem it. Similar incentives can work for social media shares.

Website and QR Codes

Direct readers to your website where you have social media icons clearly displayed, or to social platforms via QR codes.

Social Proof, a.k.a. Street Cred

Simply including social media handles on your direct mail increases your credibility. And when it comes to hiring your services, prospects are more likely to trust peer feedback on social media before they trust your advertisements.

Social Media, Meet Direct Mail

There are also ways of boosting direct mail through social media. Anything you release through direct mail, for example, you want to also consider releasing through social media. The more multimedia crossover your client base sees, the better. You can also use social media to give customers a heads-up about a coupon, catalogue, special insider offer, or other mail you’re about to send their way, and provide a link to sign up for direct mail.

However you integrate social media into your direct mail plan, you’ll need to efficiently keep track of the information you gather, and continue to decide how you can best use it. And your landing pages need to look good — and we mean really good. So, it’s best to keep this whole process under supervision by your fabulous communications team, or by an insourced marketing and analytics service if necessary.

Color and Texture Kick It Off

Finally, since the growth of your social media presence depends in part on your direct mail success, you really need to stand out. Envelope color and texture, and getting the messaging practically glowing in the mailbox, are ways to accomplish this quickly and easily. Without getting off-brand, you want to gain attention so you can immediately move a reader to a more sustained interaction through social media.

With a focused, targeted, and strategic direct mail campaign, integrated with social media, the humble piece of paper gets the full attention it deserves. Being in the envelope business, we’re pretty happy about that, and we can help you. Fix your next envelope job with Letter Jacket, and feel the power of paper.

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