Boost Direct Mail ROI by Integrating Social Media

Boost Direct Mail ROI by Integrating Social Media

Peanut Butter & Jelly. Brad & Carrie. Direct Mail & Social Media.

Some duos are just perfect together. They make your tastebuds tingle, or maybe transport you to a different place and time.

Some can even make your cash register jingle.

Yes, we are referring to using direct mail and social media advertising as part of an integrated strategy to build your brand and land new customers. And why not? Direct mail has come a long way in the past decade. Now, using your customer and prospect database, the opportunities for personalization have exploded. Any information (including images and designs) can be inserted into a variable field on your postcard, letter or envelope. This makes each uniquely targeted to your recipients. Statistics show the more personal the message, the more likely your desired action will be taken. In fact, according to, personalized emails delivered transaction rates six times greater than those without. Consumers also report that even non-personalized mail feels more “personal” than any electronic communication.


No Forklift Needed

However, marketers know they can’t keep burying their customers and prospects with direct mail pieces. Let’s say you have several thousand names in your customer/prospect database. That’s great, but it’s still a fairly small pool of potential new business. Also, you can’t bonk them over the head with a new pitch every week or you’ll likely lose them forever. What you want to do is maximize the effectiveness of direct mail to your current audience while increasing the size of the pool for future initiatives. Using social media will do both simultaneously. Any given small to medium-sized business may have data on thousands of people. However, Bloomberg reports that Twitter has about 135 million active users every day, and Snapchat has 150 million. Instagram claims over 300 million daily users. The big kahuna, Facebook, boasts over one billion daily active users.

The USPS would probably have “concerns” if you arrived with even 100 million postcards. Fortunately, you won’t need a forklift to integrate direct mail and social media.

Specifics, Please

Let’s say you and your marketing agency decided that Facebook was the ideal social media channel to support your direct mail efforts. Personalized postcards and mailers are great introductions for your business, and also have a longer shelf life since they are often used as reference and passed around. But sometimes life gets in the way. Maybe you’re reading about a new service and are reviewing the landing page information when the phone rings. For the advertiser, there’s a chance that the lead window has just closed. Social media can extend and reopen it – here’s one way how.


Track and Retarget Your Landing Page Visitors      

Facebook can help you track the ones that (temporarily) get away. Let’s say you have created your ad and paid for placement. Now you want to show your ad to those prospects most likely to take the action you want (complete a form, download a whitepaper, use a coupon, etc.) A great place to start is with your landing page visitors that bounced. There are numerous reasons for bounces besides a lack of interest. Using Facebook code, you can establish website tracking of people who visited a certain page(s). Then, the next time they sign in to Facebook, they see your ad in their news feed. Often, this is enough to get them to complete the action they began earlier in the day.

Upload Your Existing Contacts

You can also take your current direct mail list and upload it to Facebook. They will match your list to their actual members, allowing you to run ads to the same people receiving your mailing. And the cost is very reasonable – Facebook reports that the $1 spent on direct mail can buy 100 news feed ads that will appear when your prospects are online and engaged. Ads are purchased via auction so the price can vary, but you get the idea.


Build Awareness at the Target Company

So let’s take the two previous examples one step further. Maybe you have done business with one or two people at a given company, but want to spread the word of your service beyond the people you currently know. This is what you do first. Target both with a direct mail piece, complete with a personalized URL and a coupon to redeem. Now, to make your business more familiar at the target company, use Facebook to place ads to everyone employed there. This assures your ad is seen by dozens more company employees, raising awareness and (hopefully) sales.

One More Trick

Facebook has so many members that they can do something most companies can only dream about – create potential customers out of thin air. This is how – let’s assume you already uploaded your direct mail list as described above. Facebook has a tool called “Lookalike Audience” that will compare the data points, demographics, and other information from your list to their 1.5 billion members. It generally takes a day or more to compile, but once complete it will spit out a list of the 1% of people (in the country you specified) most like your existing audience. In the U.S., this list will exceed two million. If you want a bigger list, you can specify that as well.

Working Together Works

Direct mail has come a long way since the old days. Now, dramatically increase its effectiveness by supporting it through advertising on the appropriate social media channels. This integrated approach builds familiarity, engagement, and ultimately drives sales.



Michael Ciota