Since by their very nature e commerce websites are digital electronic media, it’s easy to think that this one channel is best at everything involving that customer relationship. As powerful as it is, electronic media is still only one channel. Limiting your customer interaction to only one channel no matter how great is bound to be limiting your effectiveness.

Following are five scenarios where incorporating highly relevant personalized direct mail may increase that connection.

1) Certain demographic groups are more ‘in tune’ with direct mail – Past customers who discovered you through a long series of links might have trouble finding you again. If your products fit a group that is not very e mail oriented, the group might respond better to well designed hard copy prompts pointing them directly back to your website.

2) Past customers that have opted out of e mail communications can usually still be approached via personalized direct mail – Items can be personalized for them showing photos of past purchases or related products. You can use existing address data from past deliveries. Address information will be checked for accuracy via the National Change of Address database.

3) Worn out on ‘e touches’ – If you feel you have used up all your ‘goodwill’ and are worried about wearing out your welcome in terms of electronic touches, or you notice a certain product segment just doesn’t seem to be responding to e mail marketing, direct mail provides a fresh channel.

4) Generating and driving new leads to websites is a great direct mail function -No permission needed! Long tail targeted URLs can be varied by data to drive traffic to deep web pages, increasing relevance and response rates. Highly specific data allowing pinpoint targeting is available for a huge variety of interests.

5) HTML turned off – An increasing number of companies and many ISPs have security rules requiring ‘text only’ messages. Restricting HTML content takes away all the flashy fun (and much of the impact) of e commerce messages. Direct mail doesn’t share these concerns arriving ‘pre opened’ and promoting your product the instant a mailbox is opened.

Although the digital revolution has been more ‘under the radar’ with direct mail than with electronic media, it has transformed its capabilities just as much. It can now be personalized way beyond just a persons name, being populated with past purchase product info, product specific photos and customized offers targeted at specific individual customers. It’s more measurable and trackable than ever as well.

In the midst of the electronic media revolution direct mail’s role has changed a bit, but in the right application its versatility can augment electronic media with profitable results.

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