The Pieces of a Mail-Based Multi-Channel Campaign
February 22, 2023   Dave Lewis

As implied by the name, a multi-channel campaign has multiple components.  Creating, deploying, coordinating, and measuring all of those pieces is the essence of multi-channel marketing.  One party does not generally do all of them.

Of course, there are many flavors of multi-channel.  For our purposes here we are talking about campaigns built around direct mail.  We’ll leave TV and skywriting for their respective creators.  We’ll be talking about what is involved in each channel, and who the players are.

Channels and Links

In any campaign, there are marketing channels, and links between those channels that tie them together.  My goal here is to identify and define the roles played by the different actors in a campaign.

Marketing Channels

Direct Mail

Direct mail is the heart of most multi-channel campaigns.  Generally, the mail owner or agency will formulate the offer and create the art and theme for the campaign, as well as specifying the production requirements.  There are still many roles where the print or mail service provider can add value:

  • List acquisition
  • Data processing
  • Personalization
  • Adding mail tracking
  • Postal consulting and compliance

Email Marketing

This much maligned but still popular and powerful channel is a natural tie into direct mail.  Email designed as a part of a multi-channel campaign can be coordinated with the direct mail, timing emails to follow the arrival of the mail (known through mail tracking) and even to create subsequent touches at a very low cost, to keep the campaign alive.

Marketing email is generally handled by an Email Service Provider (ESP) with specialized skills for HTML coding artwork and maximizing deliverability in a complex and always-changing environment.   Mail Service Providers (MSP) can help to coordinate email with direct mail, enhancing the value of each, by employing mail tracking and automated feeds. 

Decent email lists are virtually nonexistent, so this channel works best with existing customers, donors and members.

Outbound Telemarketing

We all know ‘em and we all hate ‘em – robocalls, live calls – but they work.  For fundraising and some products telemarketing can be very effective.  Like email, it is most effective for house lists.  MSP’s can tie direct mail and telemarketing together through mail tracking and daily feeds, so the call is coordinated with a mailing – particularly effective with political mail.  Outbound telemarketing is managed by specialized companies.  Where they are part of a campaign, the MSP should offer to provide “trigger” files through mail tracking.

Web Landing Pages

A web landing page is often the true heart of a campaign.  This is where the offer lives, and where the customer can buy or give.   All other channels are intended to drive prospects to the landing page. 

In most cases, the MSP will have little or no role in the design of the page – that’s for the mail owner or agency.  Beyond the design, though there may be an opportunity to host a page or create the HTML that is the building block of web pages.  SnailWorks can help with that. 

A successful landing page includes a strategy for providing links from each of the other channels.  This ensures that when prospects go to the landing page the visit is recorded properly, both how many and who the visitors are as well as what channel drove the visit.  MSPs can work with SnailWorks to accommodate these linking tools.

Social Media

Viral marketing through Facebook, YouTube, and other social sites (there are a LOT of them), can effectively drive visitors to the landing page.  All but the smallest mail owners are unlikely to look to their MSP to create and manage this channel – it is most often a role for a specialized agency.

A role MSPs can provide to add value is to provide and track the links used in social ads along with the other channels.  SnailWorks can help you with this.

Informed Delivery

Informed Delivery is almost its own channel.  It is a product arising out of direct mail and email marketing.  Yes, it is an email message, but its high open rate is driven by its practical content – what’s in the mail today. 

Because it is a USPS product, mail owners will naturally look to their MSP for support and deployment.  It is a great additional service for MSPs to add.

Linking Tools

QR Codes

A QR code is as close as you can come to putting a “Buy Now” button on a mail piece.  Adoption rates are way up as consumers have become more familiar with QR codes, and the reader has become part of the camera on virtually all mobile devices. 

The QR code is really just a barcode font that most often contains a URL – a web address.   As an MSP, this is a great opportunity for you to provide static or dynamic URLs that can be printed as QR codes.  You can track them and provide detailed results.  SnailWorks has built in tools that make this very easy and cost efficient for you.  Your clients will love you!

Trigger Files

You can track mail delivery to a single-piece level with Informed Visibility.  A trigger file is a file of all delivered pieces that day that is automatically fed to an email or telemarketing vendor.  They can automatically send the file so the vendor can send coordinated messages. 

Personalized URLs and Email Links

PURLs are another way to link direct mail to online landing pages.  You can make them easy to read or use them behind the “Buy Now” button in the email.  Again, you can use SnailWorks to generate these unique URLs, and to track the results. 

Informed Delivery Data

In addition to delivering added impressions, Informed Delivery returns detailed data on how many subscribers were on your list, how they get their ID digest, and if they opened the ID email or clicked.  Best of all, SnailWorks matches the detailed data back to your list so you know who on your list did all of this. 

Many of our clients treat these motivated customers as multi-buyers.  They are engaged with their mail.  And you can download the detail data easily from SnailWorks to append these characteristics to your existing house files.

Sell What Makes Sense!

Print and mail service providers are always looking to expand the range of services they offer their clients as an extra source of revenue and a better service.  Just make sure that you are the right vendor that your clients will look to.  MSPs’ are the perfect vendor to coordinate and link all the pieces of a campaign, without having to provide the creative.   Your customers may not look to you to craft their offer, but to boost response by linking other channels – they will.  It’s a great opportunity for all.

Need help?  Contact us at SnailWorks – we’re pros at this stuff!