How to Enhance an Optichannel Experience With Print Marketing

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For years now, we’ve heard we need to be where our customers are — and right now, that’s online. However, in our rush to move online, we left out a key response driver: print. From direct mail to billboards, print should be a significant component in your optichannel experience strategy. But if you’re now in the position of having to add print back into the marketing mix from zero, it can be hard to know where exactly it fits. (Let alone how to make it work its best.)

Optimizing marketing channels can be hard, even if you’re not starting over. Let’s explore your options for creating an optichannel experience.

Creating an Optichannel Experience Using Direct Mail

Your marketing tactics are categorized into upper funnel and lower funnel. Upper funnel tactics build awareness and interest in your product or service, and lower funnel tactics capture interest with offers and drive sales.
When you decide to add print back into your marketing mix or optimize its use, know that direct mail can do both upper and lower funnel work, with different mail pieces for each tactic.

Direct mail continues to be more effective at driving response, converting leads, and creating customer interaction than email or digital ads by themselves. So, you can start with direct mail as your first touchpoint and then lead customers to a designated landing page. Then include your digital and email touches. Direct mail has been found to be most effective at the beginning and the end of campaigns, so consider adding it to both ends.

There are a few ways to best use direct mail as part of an optichannel strategy:

  • Build brand awareness and create interest in your product or service;
  • Personalize direct mail postcards as a follow-up to shopping cart abandonment to dramatically increase sales;
  • Message customers or prospects who aren’t responding to your emails with special offers;
  • Send welcome kits to new customers;
  • Create personalized catalogs based on previous purchases with similar items and a special coupon; and
  • Create a loyalty program to keep customers engaged and provide special offers.

Start With a Plan

Adding direct mail to your optichannel experience provides an offline touch with high impact. Your optichannel marketing campaign should continually engage, nurture, and retarget customers in order to get them to purchase. So, in order to reap the rewards of an optichannel campaign you need a plan.

An optichannel marketing plan includes:

  • Customer profiles: Who are your customers? These should consist of who they are, what they buy, and when they buy it.
  • Relevant channels: Which channels are you working with now, who is using them, and which channels are you adding?
  • Objectives: What are you trying to do? Acquire or retain customers? A single campaign can’t do both at the same time. You need different campaigns for different objectives.
  • Tactics: What channels can you use to meet these objectives and how?
  • Measurement: How will your results be measured?

Test, Analyze, and Wash, Rinse, Repeat

No matter what channel mix you are using, the key to the best response is integration between channels. This also gives you a chance to collect more data. That data helps you gain a better understanding of where your promotions work best and where you can improve. It can be a challenge to successfully integrate your marketing across all channels.

It will take time and accurate measurement to help you get the best results. Start off by creating a test group to measure the effectiveness of your messaging. This group will not receive the new optichannel promotion — just the same channel marketing they have received before. You are looking to see if your control group underperforms, in comparison with the optichannel group.

Making Your Case for Change: Print Is Tangible

On the front end, print is more expensive than digital marketing, but the expense is worth it when print is
executed successfully. When you make your case to add in this ROI machine, keep in mind that print as part of an optichannel campaign is more than just direct mail. Although it can be a key component, you also should consider
using printed promotional products, brochures, and signage, when appropriate. Print impacts your prospective customers in a way that digital marketing can’t.

Research shows consumers engage more with physical materials than they do with online content. For instance, consumers often think of promotional products as gifts, and hold onto the marketing longer than they will keep a browser tab open. As such, printed materials stick around with them and consumers remember the marketing longer. Likewise, when you create something that is unique or useful, it has more value for your prospects and customers.

According to PFL’s “2019 Multichannel Marketing Report,” when direct mail is personalized and tightly integrated into an optichannel campaign, companies see their average response rates improve significantly, with a 62% increase in those reporting “good” or “very good” response rates. PFL’s study also stated that the ROI of optichannel campaigns rises significantly, with an 83% spike among those reporting good or very good ROI with the addition of direct mail. Make sure as you add print into the channel mix that you are effectively personalizing it.

Congratulations on Creating Optichannel Success

Knowing which campaigns on which channels have the best results enables you to calculate the ROI of each channel. Because customers travel through your channels very quickly, you need your strategy and analytics in place to capture the correct data before you roll out your next campaign.

The best way to attribute leads from direct mail is with special phone numbers, landing pages, business reply envelopes, and coupon codes. Many times, it is a combination of multiple channels that drives the sale, and empowering your marketing with both online and offline channels can help maximize your results.

According to the PFL study, including more channels produces higher response rates. Respondents using seven or more channels in their mix are 26% more likely to indicate their multichannel programs produce good or very good response. The collaboration between your channels causes an exponential growth, so removal of any channel can have a large adverse effect.

For your next optichannel marketing campaign, consider how direct mail and various other print components could enhance its performance, then put your plan into action for increased response and ROI.


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