Paper mail marketing: innovative strategies in the digital era

4 min read
Jun 27, 2023 3:54:51 PM

The world in which we live is becoming increasingly digital. But does this mean that personally addressed, paper letters are a thing of the past? The answer to this is as short as it is powerful: No! Despite the unremitting digitalization we see every day, this form of direct marketing is a highly effective and even creative way for brands and retailers to reach out to their clients. 
This blog post by HighCo DATA shows why paper mail marketing has maintained its relevance. It also includes a number of fresh ideas for you to use in your marketing strategy. 

The power of a physical letter in your letter box

Paper post remains a powerful marketing instrument. The figures prove this beyond any doubt. A Profacts survey - commissioned by BPost - shows that of all people who receive a letter, 76.2% actually read the letter.

Net reach for paper mail - english


For 58% of mail received, there is also talk of a clearly noticeable, positive emotion on the face of the recipient. This isn’t particularly surprising, because in a world of digital stimulation, a tangible, personalized, and nicely designed piece of mail is a welcome change.

Emotions generated through direct mailings


Breaking news: Generations Y and Z also appreciate receiving direct mail

It’s not necessarily what you would expect, but recent research shows that the younger generations are anything but averse to receiving direct mail.
A combined study by WARC and Royal Mail Marketreach established that at least 42% of 15- to 24-year-olds actively search for a brand online after receiving direct mail from the brand. When it comes to scanning a printed QR code leading to online interaction with the brand, this percentage climbs up to 84%. The cherry on top? Direct mail effectively ensures that 20% of the Gen-Z target group makes a purchase.    
Research by the globally renowned marketing and communication company RR Donnelley & Sons Co confirms these insights. Their report also talks about ‘the largely unused power of traditional marketing channels’. And those channels, of course, include direct mail. These are the percentages that show whether consumers from the respective generations respond enthusiastically to receiving direct mail: 

•    Generation X (Born in the 1960s or 1970s):                  Slightly more than 50%
•    Generation Y (The ‘Millennials’, born between 1980 and 1996):     57%
•    Generation Z (Born between 1997 and 2012):                 65%


RR Donnelley & Sons Co - Gen Y is most excited to receive direct mailing

It immediately makes it clear that direct mail is an effective way to involve the younger generations with your brand. By playing on their preferences and interests, such as the use of QR codes or online interactions, you can also reach these target groups and inspire them to action.

Innovative strategies

When you hear the term paper mail marketing, you probably started thinking about the relatively classic catalog or discount coupons. Good thinking! Discount coupons are still used very often with direct mailing. Download everything you ever wanted to know about discount coupons here. But discount coupons are not the only solution. The possibilities are actually endless. Here are a few of the wonderful, innovative ideas to consider when using direct mail to raise interest in your store or brand:

Send a surprise package

Who doesn’t love surprises? Post out a nicely designed little box, with a gift inside, or perhaps an exclusive discount coupon. Add a personal message too, then you’ll create an extra-strong connection with your client.

Make use of augmented reality

Combine the best of two worlds by integrating an augmented-reality experience in your paper post. Consumers just have to aim their smartphones at the piece of mail, and via a special app, they’ll experience an interactive digital experience.

Organize a scavenger hunt

Send your customers on an adventure. Hide codes or hints in your letter, leading them to exclusive offers, new product launches, or a unique shopping experience.

Create a personalized experience

Make use of your customer data to put together a customized piece of mail. This way, the recipient will feel as though they’re being directly spoken to. The message is extra relevant.

Send a birthday card

Everyone feels special at least one day a year. Make the most of this opportunity by sending your customers a personalized birthday card. Include a nice message and a special discount or offer. The customer will feel appreciative and is likely to visit your website or store more quickly.

Use a design that stands out

Don’t be a grey mouse! Make sure your paper mail demands attention, even when it’s among all the rest of the mail. Choose a unique format, a colorful design, or special paper to attract the recipient.

Integrate social media

Encourage your clients to share their experiences with your store or brand on social media. This may be, for example, by adding a hashtag to your paper post. Make sure you reward the customers who do this with a special offer or giveaway.

Make a limited edition

Exclusivity feels special—how could it not? Make the most of this feeling by sending a limited-edition item by post. A special edition of a magazine for example, or a one-off collaboration with a renowned influencer or designer. 

Does it feel like your fantasy and inspiration have been fed? And would you like to start working on the paper mail marketing for your store or brand? HighCo DATA is by your side. We approach things from your perspective and help you on the way to setting up an innovative and successful direct-mailing campaign or marketing strategy. 

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