Combining Direct Mail and Email for Better Response Rates

The combination of direct mail and email marketing channels is a lot like a winning shortstop-second baseman duo like Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano.

They both play an important role on the team individually, but when there’s a grounder and a double-play is on, they work together seamlessly to get results.

Direct mail and email is a natural pairing with jobs and strengths that are distinct, but come together when data and personalization comes into play.

Utilizing the Strengths of Direct Mail + Email

Direct mail’s competitive advantage comes through its storytelling. This tactile channel offers the room for marketers to craft longer stories, like through a letter, as well as the ability to drop in some visual assets to help the mail piece stick in the recipient’s mind. Having an asset, specifically a visual, tangible leave-behind like a sticker, bookmark, or postcard, is a lingering impression that recipients won’t quickly forget.

Emails have a strong visual component, too, but in another way – visual frequency. Emails are flexible and can be crafted in a number of ways, all at high frequency, including referencing direct mail assets in your campaigns.

So how can you parlay the strengths of email campaigns with your direct mail marketing channels?

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You’ll want to focus on connecting those aforementioned direct mail inserts to your email campaigns. You can use excerpts of your longer, direct mail copy in a shorter form email, telling and expanding that story across multiple touch points.

Email campaigns can also be leveraged as previews for letter packages or other direct mail pieces that are on their way; if recipients are on the lookout for that upcoming letter due to your emailers, they’ll likely be more inclined to open that direct mail, too.

Now that we have tremendous amounts of data about our campaigns at our fingertips, we can use that to enhance all correspondence, both physical and digital, with personalized elements. For example, you can now receive data on approximately when a recipient will receive their direct mailer, and send an email shortly after for an omni-channel strategy that should parlay into better open rates for both direct and email.

Why You Need Both Direct Mail and Email

While both direct mail and email are strong standalone marketing channels, you can get a much better ROI when you have them working in unison. Direct mail’s storytelling and tactile, leave-behind component is an excellent way to stay top of mind, while email’s consistent peppering and high frequency can ensure better open rates, and solidify brand recognition.

And considering the need for personalization – which both channels allow for extremely well – in all of today’s successful omni-channel marketing campaigns, you’ll want this winning duo in your lineup ASAP.


If your current marketing strategy doesn’t include a direct mail or email channels, get in touch with the print marketing team at Print Three. We’ll help you design, craft, and fulfill a better approach that’ll ensure more opens, clicks, and sales.