5 Interactive Direct Mail Marketing Ideas

Most marketing teams know that even in our digital age, direct mail is still one of the most efficient and effective methods of reaching your consumer base. However, it’s the simplicity and popularity of direct mail marketing that also make it vulnerable to being tossed in the garbage along with credit card applications and cable bills. 

Direct mail that stands out and separates itself from the myriad letters and bills that stuff our mailboxes is the optimal way to ensure your message is read and received. And one of the best ways to do this is to get creative and allow your reader to interact with the message.

Below are 5 ways to enhance your direct mail campaign and bring some interactivity into an otherwise ordinary marketing scheme.     

 

  • Augmented Reality 

 

Right off the bat we’re suggesting something that may seem foreign to most marketers that have stuck to traditional direct mail campaigns. Augmented reality (AR) provides an amazing interactive experience for readers and can be a great way to showcase not only your product, but also the creative and edgy side of your business. 

Check out or HP Reveal or Layar and see just how cool AR can be when used in direct mail.

 

  • 3D Images 

 

Similar to AR, 3D images are a great with to make your message launch out (in a good way) at consumers. By throwing in a pair of 3D glasses, you really spark the interest of your audience and allow them to interact with your mail in a way they may have never done before. 

 

  • Embedded Codes and URLs

 

Adding coupons and the like is an age-old tactic in the world of direct mail marketing. However, you can bring the digital world into this space by embedding QR codes that allow consumers to download coupons, or personalized URLs that allow you to send maps of events or other personalized messages. 

Keep in mind that while URLs can be lengthy, QR codes are a quick way for consumers to point, scan, and obtain information quickly. 

 

  • Creative Cut-outs 

 

This may seem like a throwback to the old school after mentioning AR and 3D images, but the effectiveness of cut-outs is not lost. And here, the more creative you are, the more effective you’ll be in sparking the interest of your audience. 

For example, one company used a wine glass printout on their mail with a cut-out that filled the wine glass as you pulled the top piece up, revealing a message in the glass. This illusion is not only fun to interact with, it also means that the consumer is spending that much more time with your mail.

 

  • Secret Messages 

 

Speaking of illusions, how about a piece of mail that requires your audience to actually perform some sort of act before the message can be revealed? A great example of this comes from our friends in Belgium. 

For World Water Day, a corporation in Belgium wanted to reach their audience and at the same time underscore the importance of water. To do this, they created a piece of mail that could only be read once the reader ran the mail underwater, revealing a secret message. This creative and exciting direct mail campaign not only raised awareness of World Water Day, but it became an overnight sensation on social media. 

So there you have it digital mail marketing teams – 5 of the best ways to get creative and offer some interactivity to your direct mail campaigns. Although direct mail is still king when it comes to advertising, if you can allow your audience to interact and spend more time with your piece, the more effective you’ll be at achieving your end goal.  

5 Ways to Improve Your Direct Mail Campaign

A strong and efficient direct mail marketing campaign can be one of the most useful ways for businesses to reach consumers and increase brand awareness. It can also be one of the most challenging methods to perfect. With the many variables that go into direct mail campaigns, determining which work and which don’t can be overwhelming. 

Below are five proven ways that you can improve your direct mail campaign. If followed, these tips can help you put your marketing on track and recognize an immediate increase in your ROI. 

  • Refine Your Customer Database

An up-to-date and accurate customer list is the foundation of any successful marketing campaign. This is especially true with direct mail campaigns where you want to minimize postage and related costs as much as possible. 

A current and accurate list makes it easy to identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and provides an opportunity to call your customers to action. This drive to act can also reveal how your customers have shopped in the last and you can tailor custom messages to each recipient. However, all of this is lost if you are sending direct mail to an uninterested individual or a non-existent address. 

  • Take Advantage of Data

In line with tracking customers and keeping your customer list current, take advantage of the many opportunities available gather customer data. Your database provides vital insights into your customers buying habits. Look for patterns or consistencies in this buying behavior and use it to your advantage. 

Moreover, by providing a QR code or trackable web address on a piece of digital mail, you can begin recording data on which customers are acting on your direct mail campaign and which may be better suited to receive different marketing material. 

  • Integrate Marketing Channels 

A common mistake among many businesses is focusing on one campaign strategy. Your direct mail tactic should be integrated with your digital strategies, such as email campaigns. In fact, marketing strategies that incorporate both a strong direct mail scheme and one or more digital experiences can see an increase in their response rate of up to 118%.

By planning your direct mail campaigns to be delivered around the same time your email campaign arrives in your customer’s inbox, you can provide them with multiple ways of responding, and in turn, increase the overall number of customers that will act. 

  • Set Your Campaign Apart 

Getting creative can be one of the most difficult aspects when it comes to direct mail. However, remember that your marketing material is a representation of you and your business. Just like the product you sell or the service you provide, it stands out from all the rest – make this show through your direct mail campaign. 

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and get a little creative with your mail. Try ditching the white envelopes with standard lettering that likely get mistaken for a utility bill. Catch your customer’s eye and make them want to open your mail. 

  • Personalize & Follow Up

As with most aspects of marketing, personalizing your message can be the difference between your customer acting on your message, or throwing your mail in the garbage. Adding a personalized touch to your mail, such as remembering a birthday or referencing a past purchase, can be crucial to the success of your direct mail campaign. You can also take advantage of consumer data in this area as well. 

Follow-up messages also show your customer that they’re not just another sale. Follow-up with a thank you message accompanied with another call to action and see your ROI rise. 

Direct mail marketing campaigns are one of the best and most effective tools in a company’s marketing tool belt. By integrating your direct mail campaign with another digital media outlet, and using data to make your messages personal and original, you will immediately see why direct mail still reigns as king in the marketing world. 

Develop a Successful and Sustainable Direct Mail Campaign

Direct mail marketing continues to be one of the most effective tools for reaching consumers and bringing them to action. In fact, a recent study by Temple University shows that direct mail is outperforming digital ads in eight out of nine categories, and direct mail marketing holds consumer attention longer and has a more significant impact on consumer purchase decisions.

However, developing a successful and sustainable direct mail campaign can be more difficult than anticipated. This article provides some of the best strategies for optimizing your efforts, and how these strategies will lead to increased ROI. 

 

Refine Your Mailing List

A current and comprehensive mailing list is the foundation of any successful direct mail campaign. Indeed, if you have inaccurate or nonexistent addresses, your direct mail goes nowhere. Unfortunately, the mailing list often gets glossed over and receives the least amount of attention in the marketing campaign process. 

Before you even begin crafting your message or putting together your package, go through your mailing list and remove customer addresses that are no longer applicable, ensure that the remaining addresses are accurate, and consider possible addresses you may have missed or are not part of your list. A list that isn’t clean and lean will lead to delays or inaccuracies in mailings.  

Proper organization and a final edit are also important aspects of a refined mailing list. By putting your list in an Excel spreadsheet, for example, you can manage your recipient addresses as well as data for future mailings. Also, wrong punctuation, incorrect spacing, or a missed letter or number means that your mail will wind up in the garbage. A quick final edit can save you from wasted time and money, in addition to failing to reach a targeted customer.  

 

Creativity is Key

Once your mailing list is refined, organized, accurate and ready to go, it’s now time to start on the message and how that message will be delivered. As you embark down this road, remember one thing: creativity is key. 

Households across the country receive thousands of pieces of mail on a daily basis. Successful direct mail campaigns have one or several aspects that make it stand out from the monthly bills and junk mail that fill mailboxes. 

However, a large mistake that many marketing teams make is trying too hard and delivering a convoluted message that’s difficult to discern. And this is surprisingly simple to do. When considering how to develop a brand and deliver a creative message, many marketers seem to focus on visual elements and believe that copy and format take a backseat to the former. 

This is a mistake.   

Headlines are crucial for communicating your value, and value is what turns recipients into customers. It’s still possible to be creative with your wording while producing a clear and concise call to action. In the same vein, you can be creative with your format while giving your product the space it needs to grab your reader’s eye.  

It may not be the easiest task, but finding that happy medium of creativity and simplicity is what leads to the most successful direct mail marketing campaigns. 

 

Make it Personal and Follow Up 

70% of Americans say direct mail is more personal than the Internet. Consumers react well to physical mail and enjoy engaging with the story of a product. However, you must find a way to get your reader to embark on the story first. The best way to do that is to make the message personal to them. 

Making your campaign personal is going above and beyond focused targeting. By adding personal names and including data from your (now) organized and refined mailing list (such as interests, past purchases, etc.), you can instantly show your reader that what they’re reading wasn’t just sent to anyone. You took the time to know your customer and personally engage with them. 

This personal touch significantly increases response rates, and with higher response rates comes higher ROI. 

Another technique to make your message personal is to follow up after the initial mail is sent. Sticking with a single passive communication limits your response rate. Whenever possible, follow up with both initial responders as well as non-responders. The quick and easy follow up may show your audience that you appreciate their business and can lead to an increased ROI.

How to Leverage Big Data for a Highly Effective Direct Marketing Campaign

As time progresses and technology improves, much of work and life is becoming quantified.  We rely on numbers and “big data” to analyze performance, obtain a competitive advantage in the workplace and ultimately stay in business.  However, generating inroads with customers proves that much more challenging with each passing day as more products and services reach the market.  Furthermore, the average person is inundated with marketing materials ranging from traditional outbound ads on TV and radio to direct mail, covert inbound marketing by way of social media and beyond.   Businesses that do not adhere to a data-driven advertising strategy will find it difficult to connect with targeted customers.

The Importance of Data Science in Modern Marketing

Nowadays, personalization is the name of the game when it comes to marketing.  Those who use data science to their advantage understand exactly how marketing messages can be customized and formatted to suit specific demographics and preferences.  A generic one-size-fits-all solution will not suffice. If you do not personalize your communications with your clients, you really will miss out on that many more opportunities to add to your customer base and grow your business.  The prudent use of big data makes it that much easier to figure out what consumers are inclined to purchase, the optimal marketing format, the point in time at which sales are most likely, the services with the most interest, etc.

Big Data and Direct Mail: Understand how Your Customers Shop

Once you have the proper data in-hand, you will be able to understand how your customers find your business, purchase your offerings and generally engage with your brand.  This information facilitates the creation of campaigns designed in accordance with nuanced interests, ultimately improving the chances for leads and additional revenue.

Big data that is properly analyzed can also make it easier to gauge which services and products customers are most interested in when perusing the company website.  The stats can even show how frequently a certain service or product page is revisited. Furthermore, if a customer has bought something from the site in the past or is signed up for your email list, the saved contact information will make it easier to generate a truly individualized message.

Understand how Customers use Social Media

You can learn a lot by analyzing those who follow your business on social media.  Even those who “like” your posts are a treasure trove of valuable information. Find out as much as you can about these people and you will have important information about your target demographic at your fingertips.  After all, those who regularly interact with businesses on social media are typically the best targets for targeted marketing efforts.

Use Data to Fortify Your Direct Mail Strategy

Though investments in paid search, email marketing and social media pushes can certainly pay dividends, direct mail has a comparably high response rate.  The days of using a generic form message are long gone. Today, direct mail is centered on delivering a completely unique message. Big data makes it easy to generate individualized messages that prove indelible.  Make a lasting impression on your audience and they will prove that much receptive to your outreach efforts and possibly become loyal customers.

How to Create Direct Mail Copy That Piques the Audience’s Interest

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The average person has received more than his or her fair share of junk mail with bright colors, capital letters and instructions to “Buy!, Buy!, Buy!”  This content is poorly planned in nearly every regard. It is not enough to simply connect with your target audience through direct mail. The content of your message matters just as much, if not more than the actual connection itself.  Here’s how to perfect your direct mailer message.

Sweat the Small Stuff

There should not be a single typo in your direct mail content.  Pay attention to the subtleties of your message. Consider what your direct mailers look like from the perspective of your target audience.  If you do not have a strong command of the English language, outsource your content creation to specialists. You can also use tools such as Grammarly that quickly pinpoint and correct problems related to syntax and grammar.

Build a CTA That Commands Attention

Your call-to-action or CTA should grab the viewer’s attention.  Every CTA should feature three essential elements: an appealing offer, ample information that encourages the acceptance of the offer and a means of empowering the reader to respond to the offer.  If you are struggling in distinguishing your CTA from the rest of your content, consider using a tactic such as a giveaway or sweepstakes to ensure this final message stands out to readers.

Zero in on Value

Direct mail is centered on a value proposition.  The optimal means of adding value to direct mailings is to move beyond the status quo.  Consider using curated content. Key in on quality content and your readers really will obtain meaningful value from your direct mailers.  It will also help to key in on the human interest. If you can connect with prospective clients on a personal level, it will be that much easier to bring them into the fold and retain their business across posterity.

Some business owners and managers have enjoyed success using punch-outs and additional inclusions.  Mail of a different size commands attention simply because it is so different. Make prudent use of punch-outs and additional “lumps” and it will be that much easier to convey your message.  It might also help to shift the focus away from your business to highlight other local services. Giving credit to others that help your business operate really will help separate you from the pack and show you value being a part of the local community.

Presentation Matters

The manner in which your direct mailings are presented matters a great deal.  It is not enough for the content to simply read great. If the content does not look good, people will ignore it.  So do not hesitate to ask for help from the professionals. A printing service will ensure your direct mailers look amazing.

How to Select the Best Envelopes for Direct Mail Campaigns

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There is no sense going to great lengths to create an elaborate direct mail campaign when you do not have the right envelopes.  The envelopes you select should present your message in an artful manner. Fail to select the best envelopes and you won’t get the most out of the time, money and effort you invest in direct mailings.

Why Envelopes Matter

Think back to the last book you bought.  If you are honest about the purchase, you will likely admit the book’s cover played a part in convincing you to buy it.  The same is true of direct mailers. If the envelope is ugly or plain, people will ignore the mailing or quickly open it, decide it is junk mail, tear it in half and toss it in the trash.  The optimal envelope for your direct mailing campaign will ultimately be determined by your unique offerings along with the target market.

Envelope Styles

Consider the style of envelope from the viewpoint of a target customer.  The pocket or wallet style will prove optimal for those involved in B2B (business to business) marketing.  If you opt for the pocket style, the envelope will be comparably short. Opt for a banker envelope that is opened through a flap shaped liked a V along the side and recipients will feel as though they are opening a birthday card.  

Wallet envelopes are also available.  This style of envelope is accessed through a square flap.  Take some time to debate the merits of each envelope style before making a commitment.  

Envelope Size

Studies show the typical household resident is inclined to open envelopes that are large as opposed to small.  Recipients are also inclined to open envelopes rife with color as opposed to those with a plain hue.

It is important that your direct mailing stick out from the rest of the mail.  However, if you are intent on keeping the tone 100 percent professional, it doesn’t make sense to send a massive envelope laden with bright colors.   

Even the Envelope Seal Matters

Opening a direct mailing envelope should be easy, quick and satisfying.  If you decide to transmit several documents or end up going with a single item of considerable thickness, a peel-and-seal might prove optimal as it supports additional weight.  If cost is a concern, opt for gummed flaps.

You can also use self-seal flaps with dual latex layers that create quite the powerful seal.  There is no need to apply any moisture or remove strips. Self-seal flaps are perfect for direct mailings in which thousands of letters are sent.  If you are intent on sticking out, consider enlisting the help of a stationary expert who can fully customize your envelopes exactly as you desire.

Direct Mail Ideas That Will Help You Connect With Local Clients

Finding and retaining clients is easier said than done.  It is enough of a challenge in and of itself to make initial connections with potential clients.  Determining the optimal marketing approach adds a new wrinkle. Make prudent use of direct mail and you will generate important inroads with clients that have the potential to prove loyal years or even decades into the future.  Let’s take a look at some direct mail ideas that will help you develop a rapport, create a lasting impression and ultimately drive revenue.

Use Direct Mail to Educate Clients

Direct mail is an opportunity to flex your intellectual muscle, establish your group as a respected authority and share important information with your target audience.  Share your expertise with the public and you will generate trust that leads to sales down the road. Help customers solve problems and improve their work/home life in some way and these targets really will be that much more inclined to pay for your services.

Tout Benefits as Opposed to Features

Shining the spotlight on tangible benefits as opposed to the nuances of bells and whistles is marketing 101.  Use direct mail to explain exactly what your business does, the services you provide and why your assistance is so important.  Use your direct mailers to detail the merits of your services, make genuine connections with clients, show your group’s “human side” and you will have earned the public’s trust.

Provide the Most Important Information

Your direct mailers should provide the most meaningful information.  Provide essential information that truly helps customers solve problems and they will be that much more likely to pay for your services.  Just make sure your phone number is prominently featured throughout the direct mailer content.

Explain What Your Business Does

Do not forget to explain exactly what it is your business does.  This way, there won’t be any confusion as to the types of services you offer.  


Facilitate Ordering

Direct mailers should make it easy for the customer to contact your business and order your services.  Consider using postcards or other small-sized pieces with your information prominently featured. Magnets, stickers, coupons and other items showcasing your contact information, services and pricing really will inspire purchases.

Mind the Calendar

Do not send out your direct mailers at any old time.  Consider the season and proximity to the holidays prior to launching a direct mail campaign.  Determine when clients are most likely to order your services and send your mailings just ahead of that point in time.

The Most Important Elements of Direct Mail Marketing

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Direct mail has reached a mainstream tipping point for good reason.  The strategic use of this marketing method connects you to those most inclined to spend for your services.  In fact, direct mail marketing response rates have never been higher. There is clearly a shift in the manner in which consumers view advertising.  People are trusting less of what they view online and more of what they can touch with their own two hands.

Idea Elements Separate Your Direct Mail Materials From Others

The creative decisions your team makes when designing direct mail marketing materials dictate whether these items are discarded or stand out from the pack.  Choose your design elements wisely and audiences will easily distinguish between your mailer and the rest of the envelopes in the daily mail pile. There are all sorts of options for direct mail marketing, ranging from QR codes to polywrapping, wallets with inserts, snap apart mailers, etc.  Pick the best idea elements and people will be more likely to open your mailer and respond.

Consider the Mailing House

No two mailing companies are the same.  Take some time to find the mailing company with the best services for your unique needs.  Consider whether the company is ISO compliant and the types of accreditation they have. This information will provide insight into the company’s standards.  Furthermore, the mailing company you select should have the know-how and experience necessary to assist with your marketing efforts. Find out whether the mailing company you have in mind provides account management and whether they are trained for full GDPR compliance.  

The Print Elements

Print type is important for mass appeal and extending your company’s reach.  Furthermore, a prudent print type selection will help keep costs down. If you are looking for mass mailings through high-volume printing, lithographic printing is ideal.  Those seeking small volume prints will find digital printing is the best choice.

Data Elements

A number of different data management services are available through the various mailing houses.  Those properly trained to handle data will guarantee clients are segmented based on priority. Find out if candidates provide prospect matching services or customer profiling so you do not have to worry about whether your message is being delivered to the proper parties.

Measuring

Every direct mail marketing campaign should be measured for success.  Fail to measure the campaign’s success or failure and you will have no idea if it worked as planned.  Response handling is typically added on as an extra service. However, you should make sure all measurement elements are accounted for so you can proceed without worrying about whether you can gauge the campaign’s success.

Consider Adding a Promotional Element

Mixing in a promotion will go a long way in keeping your target customers interested.  Anything from a discount to a freebie will help you get off to a solid initial start and keep clients interested.

Mind the Cost

Do not lose sight of the cost in your quest to make lasting connections with your target clients.  Lean on a mailing house for assistance and you will enjoy a bulk mailing discount. These groups can even let you know what will impact costs as time progresses.

Email Marketing Challenges Solved by Direct Mail

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Those paying attention to trends in inbound and outbound marketing have caught wind of direct mail’s recent spike in popularity. Goldman Sachs recently devoted $25 million to the integration of direct mail in its email-centered automated advertising platforms.  Furthermore, the popular email marketing platform MailChimp, debuted a new service that empowers people to design and even mail their own postcards with minimal effort. These are just some of the examples of ways in which the marketing landscape is rapidly changing.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is highly effective if used in the proper fashion.  The challenge lies in establishing a legitimate email list and designing emails for distribution in mass quantity with minimal or no unit cost.  Ideally, email marketing messages will be centered on target customers’ buying habits, demographics and behaviors. As long as the message is relevant and presented in a somewhat artful manner, it will generate a response.  However, those who have an over-reliance on any one single marketing channel run the risk of tunnel vision that ultimately hampers sales.

How Direct Mail Solves Email Marketing problems: Email Fatigue

If you are on a mailing list, you know what it is like to grow tired of reading the same old messages over and over again.  The answer to this conundrum is for service/product providers to incorporate direct mail with email marketing. Direct mail steps can be included in advertising automation programs to provide a fully personalized message to target prospects and current customers.

Tackling the Problem of Unsubscribes

There is a good chance your emails will catch some recipients at a point in time at which they are excessively busy.  These irritated clients will likely unsubscribe if they continue to receive your messages amidst hectic workdays. The answer is to establish a direct mail based drip advertising push that keeps your business on the minds of target clients.  If the customer has a lengthy sales cycle, a quarterly transmission might prove acceptable. However, if the sales cycles are comparably short, consider transmitting large postcards on a monthly basis or even mixing things up with a more involved mailing.

The Battle for the Inbox

An email that is not read in the first couple hours probably won’t be read at all.  An even worse outcome is Gmail redirecting the email to the often-neglected Promotions folder.  Furthermore, it is challenging to distinguish a brand through email as the medium is inherently limited by a couple text boxes.  The best approach to overcoming these problems is to transmit direct mailers to marketing lists.

Embrace the Challenge of Building Your Email List

Do not shy away from email marketing out of a fear that you will never assemble an expansive email list.  You will build a solid email list in due time. It will help to use direct mail as the initial contact point for lead generation.  Use direct mail to ramp up brand awareness and warm those leads prior to a sales call and/or unique offer that steers leads to your landing page.  Once leads arrive at the landing page, have them enter their email address that is added directly to your email list.

The Time has Come for Marketers to Reconsider Their Channel Mix

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The arrival of the digital era has provided marketers with an abundance of channels to connect with prospective customers.  These breakthrough methods of communication certainly have their merits yet there is opportunity beyond online marketing. Email is now one of the most revered avenues to connect with customers.  The challenge lies in getting those on your email list to open your messages and spend more than a couple seconds engaging with the content.

A Quick Look at GDPR

Companies far and wide are tasked with adapting to GDPR.  This is an acronym that stands for General Data Protection Regulation. Adapting to the specifics of GDPR requires companies to critique their marketing strategy. This is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of direct mail.  GDPR is meant to return control over individual data back to everyday people. Though reaching full compliance certainly requires a considerable amount of effort and resources, compliance ultimately means transparency and improved customer relationships.

In the end, companies that adhere to the nuances of regulations will ultimately enjoy higher quality relationships with clients that prove mutually beneficial to both parties.  However, GDPR is not the sole data regulation that will affect marketers. Once 2020 arrives, the ePrivacy Regulation will be in full force. This regulation establishes guidelines for digital marketing.  Stay tuned to see how the details of this legislation impact direct mail marketing.

The Power of Direct Mail

Direct mail can be used in accordance with the rules established byGDPR.  In fact, some consider direct mail to be just as effective as email marketing.  A number of studies show direct mail really does resonate with the target audience, especially those in the millennial age cohort.  Though some millennials seem to be handcuffed to their screens, the majority of these young adults react positively to a personal card, letter or other item received through traditional mail.  The arrival of such an item is quite the refreshing surprise after receiving an influx of emails on a daily basis.

Direct mail is also attractive to marketers in that it presents an opportunity for brands to put their unique style and creativity on display.  There is no exact dimension to fit or a specific space to fill as direct mailings can feature their own unique style. Companies that experiment with alterations to the size, shape and color of direct mail will find it is easier to establish inroads with prospective customers.

Consider “Viewability”

Viewability is a term that refers to the frequency and ease of viewing specific materials.  Email marketing is rife with viewability shortcomings. The vast majority of marketing emails go unopened.  Alternatively, two-thirds of direct mail transmissions are opened. The bottom line is people really do look forward to opening tangible mail as opposed to electronic mail.  

So don’t buy into the hype about consumers, especially young ones, always favoring electronic ads.  Brands can make a meaningful impression on buyers of all ages and other demographic cohorts through a strategic direct mail marketing effort.  The moral of this story is tangible items such as letters, postcards and boxes really do make a more meaningful impression on the human brain than electronic transmissions.  Use both forms of communication in a highly strategic manner, diversify your channel mix and you will make the most of your marketing budget.