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Can Direct Mail + Inbound Play Nicely Together? (HubHeroes, Ep. 69)

direct mail and inbound marketing strategies


Well, we didn't plan for it, but it happened anyway. Welcome to the third installment of our totally organic series discussing the marriage of seemingly "old school" outbound tactics with the modern inbound approaches we all know and love today. 

Previously, we discussed:

This week, we're talking about one of the most tried-and-true "old school" marketing tactics — direct mail — with Postalytics CEO Dennis Kelly. At first glance, the idea of a direct mail campaign may seem completely outdated and out-of-touch with what your buyers will actually want to respond to today. 

Sure, if you approach direct mail with a 1980s mindset, you'd probably be right. In fact, even though we all entered into this conversation with Dennis seeking more education on how direct mail and inbound work well together, George and I had already recently seen real-world use cases where direct mail was the precise call needed as part of a client inbound program. 

So, as George likes to say, folks, "Grab a snack and a backpack!" It's time to set our course for another exciting inbound adventure that may have you looking at your own strategies through a different lens.

And don't forget to check out Postalytics Academy

What We Talked About

  • As inbound marketers, what are our knee-jerk reactions when we hear the idea of direct mail as part of an inbound program?

  • What is the disconnect between what many inbound practitioners think direct mail vs what it can be, in the context of inbound?

  • What are real-world examples of direct mail campaigns that make sense in the context of inbound?

  • Where do most direct mail campaigns go wrong? And what are our personal pet peeves with direct mail?

  • Where do we see opportunities in the buyer's journey to take advantage of direct mail/offline opportunities, rather than going with the more traditional approach?

  • Which types of companies should consider thinking about using direct mail as a part of their inbound program?

  • What are our favorite tools out there to execute great direct mail programs?

  • For any listeners out there who are now considering looking at direct mail as an option or rethinking their approach, what is one piece of advice you have for them?

And so much more ... 

Additional Resources

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🤔  What is the disconnect between what many inbound practitioners think direct mail vs what it can be, in the context of inbound? And where do most direct mail campaigns go wrong?

Dennis Kelly of Postalytics joins us this week to answer these two big questions and so much more! 

https://hubheroes.co/3SQs2Ql 

#directmail #directmailcampaigns #abmstrategy #inboundmarketing #inboundstrategy #hubspot

💥  What are real-world examples of direct mail campaigns that make sense in the context of inbound?

💥  Which types of companies should consider thinking about using direct mail as a part of their inbound program?

💥  What are our favorite tools out there to execute great direct mail programs?

Dennis Kelly of Postalytics joins us this week to answer these big questions and so much more! 

https://hubheroes.co/3SQs2Ql 

#directmail #directmailcampaigns #abmstrategy #inboundmarketing #inboundstrategy #hubspot

😱 Direct mail campaigns may seem completely outdated, but that's only true if you approach direct mail with a 1980s mindset.

Dennis Kelly of Postalytics joins us this week to unpack the ways in which direct mail and inbound can flawlessly and seamlessly work together to make revenue magic! 

https://hubheroes.co/3SQs2Ql 

#directmail #directmailcampaigns #abmstrategy #inboundmarketing #inboundstrategy #hubspot

Meet your HubHeroes

Liz Murphy

HH-LM-300

Agency vet, content therapist, messaging strategist, HubHero wrangler.

Devyn Bellamy

HH-DB-300

HubSpotter, partner enabler, strategy wizard, BLACK@INBOUND.

Max Cohen

HH-MJC-300

HubSpotter, senior solutions engineer, CRM evangelist, a millennial on TikTok.

George B. Thomas

HH-GBT-300

HubHeroes leader, growth catalyst, guardian of humans, HubSpot expert.

[00:00:00] Max Cohen: of course the Of course the first week you get it right is he's not here.

[00:00:04] Liz Moorehead: Here, Devin's not here.

[00:00:06] George B. Thomas: I started cracking

[00:00:07] Liz Moorehead: HubSpot, HubSpot is in no way responsible for all of the silence from Devin. They disavow any connection to the silence that Devin will be

[00:00:15] George B. Thomas: And I kid you not, I kid you not. I got the audio into my roadcaster too, and slack went, and then it was him saying he wouldn't be here. And I was like, I

[00:00:27] Liz Moorehead: it was personal. I

[00:00:28] George B. Thomas: know it's like he knew or something.

[00:00:30] Liz Moorehead: know. Well, ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to another epic episode of the hub heroes podcast. I am your host, Liz Moorhead, as well as our resident content strategist. I am joined as always by the one and only George B. Thomas and. Maximilian Cohen of closed one city and happily guys, I'm hyped for today's episode because we have a special guest and don't worry.

I'm about to introduce you, buddy, but we have somehow managed to set up an entirely unplanned organic series around a topics that bridge offline. And online or seemingly disparate and quote unquote, outdated outbound tactics with inbound. We did with that, with, we did that with ABM. We did that with SMS texting in our last episode.

And this week we are joined by the one and only Dennis Kelly of Postalytics because we're diving headfirst. Into the, into the, I, I had, I don't have a metaphor here. We're talking about direct mail today, folks. We are talking about direct mail. So Dennis, thank you so much for joining us. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

[00:01:39] Dennis: Sure, yeah. Yeah, so, uh, as you mentioned, I'm CEO of Postalytics. We are a direct mail automation software platform.

[00:01:48] Liz Moorehead: Ooh,

[00:01:49] Dennis: you know, believe it or not, those things seem, uh, oxymoronic. Right. You know, direct mail and automation and software, like how do those things fit? And that's kind of the point, right?

Like direct mail has been this thing. It's been hanging out there for a long time, chugging away, doing what it does. And what we're doing is we're saying, hey, let's bring this into the 21st century, surround it with software, integrate it with HubSpot and make it a part of the modern marketing stack.

[00:02:16] George B. Thomas: I love that so much. I love that so much. And Liz, we might be trying to subtly tell the listeners and viewers something. I mean, don't get me going next week might be billboards. No, I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding. Maybe, I don't know.

[00:02:32] Liz Moorehead: How can pet rocks fit into your attract, engage, and delight strategy in 2024? Find out

[00:02:38] Max Cohen: some big QR

[00:02:39] Liz Moorehead: All

[00:02:39] George B. Thomas: 2025. Pet Rocks is 2025. Just

[00:02:42] Liz Moorehead: Just not, we're not there yet. We're not there yet from a, from a technology perspective, but okay. So I actually want to start today's conversation by speaking explicitly to you, George and Max. I'd love for you to share with Dennis what your initial feelings and reactions are. When I say the term direct mail, what immediately comes to mind?

Max, I see you

[00:03:04] George B. Thomas: He's having a moment.

[00:03:06] Liz Moorehead: You are emoting, sir. Bring those feelings out, share them with

[00:03:10] Max Cohen: you got to put me on the spot like this when my first interaction with Dennis has got to be asking me how I

[00:03:14] Liz Moorehead: because you're wearing yellow sign, you're wearing yellow sunglasses, uh, and you look like you're about to pull me over for a

[00:03:19] Max Cohen: blue light glasses, all right? So I don't fry my brain looking at the computer. the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear direct mail, Dennis don't take any of this personally, uh, recycling. Okay. the first thing comes to my head because when I get direct mail, I put it in the recycling and it's just because, and here, let me, let me be totally, I am, I am, I'm coming to this conversation, willing to have my mind changed because listen, I feel the same way about crappy email marketing, right?

That also goes right in the garbage, right? When I get it, same thing goes with. bad mail that I get to at my house, right? However, I have more of a gut reaction to saying, Oh, does this not look like a postcard from a friend or family member? Or is this not a bill? Trash. And like, I don't even open it. Right.

But I know I'm I know that that is just me. And I didn't grow up with mail being like a huge part of my, you know, day to day way I communicated with people. So I have a very You know, jaded, disposition when it comes to marketing via the mail, right? But I know that that hasn't always been the case. And I'm sure there is a right way to do it, and a wrong way to do it.

I feel like I interact with the wrongs ways of doing it a whole bunch, right? Um, so, despite, uh, George and Liz, what you think, I'm I am, I am, I am totally willing to have my, my mind changed and be enlightened on the good ways, right? Um, and also, I have a feeling that HubSpot added that postal mail activity for a reason.

 For a reason. Right? So I am, I am, I am open minded. I'm willing to have my mind changed on direct mail. And Dennis? Thank you for being here, man. It's great to meet you. George,

[00:05:05] George B. Thomas: yeah. Dennis, I'm glad you're here for the conversation. I mean, I, I saw something a while ago online and was like, we need to have this conversation. Let's get you on the show. Let's Um, what's funny Max is I too am a big, um, a person of like, if it's crap, throw it away across the board.

If it's a crap ad, if it's a crap email, if it's crap inbound, if it's crap, just more crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, throw it away. However, on the flip side, I have probably spent the most money that I will ever spend and will continue to spend because of direct mail. And, and let me explain this, what I mean by that. is if I get a crappy postcard from the local insect company trash. But as soon as carnival or Royal Caribbean send a direct mail pamphlet that my wife and daughters can flip through and book another cruise to go on vacation. I know That direct mail works because I'm going to end up spending money.

We're going to end up on a beach. We're going to be drinking cocktails. And it's not because we just woke up one day and said, Let me go to Carnival. com. Let me go to Royal Car By the way, they're not sponsoring this podcast. But Carnival, if you're listening and Royal Caribbean, we can talk. But, but I know that as soon as that pamphlet makes it into my real world mailbox.

[00:06:27] Liz Moorehead: Oh

[00:06:32] George B. Thomas: I have never sat through a

[00:06:34] Max Cohen: Bulls t! Bulls

[00:06:35] George B. Thomas: maybe twice

[00:06:36] Max Cohen: told me that Carnival Cruise sold you stuff off of the direct mail? There is no chance in hell you have not sat through at least 14 f ing timeshare presentations! George.

[00:06:50] George B. Thomas: two, maybe two.

[00:06:52] Max Cohen: Right? Alright, sorry.

[00:06:53] Liz Moorehead: my God. So yeah, I'm just going to throw that out there. I'm going to echo what George said, uh, Royal Caribbean. If you are listening, I'm all, we could talk hub heroes at sea. Let's make it happen. But what's funny is I find myself in between both. You, George and Max, Max, on the one hand, I am definitely with you.

It,

[00:07:11] Max Cohen: It's It's

[00:07:15] Liz Moorehead: of us can be you. Do you have your steering wheel today, bud?

[00:07:17] Max Cohen: I'll grab it.

[00:07:18] Liz Moorehead: Go grab it. But I find myself a little bit in the camp of, of Max, because it reminds me of this comedian who was really popular in the early two thousands named Mitch Hedberg. And he would talk about people would hand him like brochures on the street.

And his joke was, it's as if you're saying here, throw this away for me. Um, so there's that on the other hand. I have been a marketer who has developed direct mail campaigns that have worked exceptionally well. And I know George, you and I have some examples that we want to dig into later in this conversation it just makes me, it makes me wonder like, am I just not, am I not the buyer persona that gets the fun direct mail packages?

Because we have, I've put together some really cool ones where I'm like, I'm so glad I'm sending this to someone else. And not me. And it makes me really bummed out. So Dennis, I want to turn to you here. What do you see as the disconnect or opportunity rather between what many inbound practitioners think direct mail is and what it can be in the context of inbound?

[00:08:23] Dennis: Sure. Well, you know, I think. There are, uh, a lot of folks that have negative perceptions of, of direct mail from, uh, the, the old, uh, days of junk mail. Uh, and, and, you know, the, the volume of junk in your mailbox. Uh, in 2007, 2008 was the peak of mail volume, and it's been on a decline, right, ever since. But, you know, at that point in those years, moving up to that point, your physical mailbox looked a lot like your email inbox today. It was filled with repetitive, with the same, like, two current resident type of, you know, spray and pray. You know, it's just an impression. We're spending money. Get it out there. Right? And that's what, that's what became of the channel in the late 90s, early 2000s. Right? And, and, but what, what's been happening now, uh, with.

The advent of marketing automation and then the advent of tools like Postalytics that plug into marketing automation is that you can use direct mail to target people who don't look at anything else.

[00:09:48] Max Cohen: Mm

[00:09:49] Dennis: And so all of a sudden the 70 percent of your audience, who's not open your email can get something. In their hands that they have to at least look at for a moment before deciding what to do with it.

[00:10:02] Max Cohen: mm.

[00:10:02] Dennis: And, and so you can use workflows inside of marketing automation tools like HubSpot to precisely target individual people with a single piece of highly personalized personalized mail. And you don't have to worry about the economics of print

[00:10:22] Max Cohen: Yeah,

[00:10:23] Dennis: you know, are, are driving typically people to do huge batch and blast types of campaigns where, you know, you need to send 100, 000 pieces out in order to save a few pennies per piece, you know, all that's been kind of removed by technology, all those issues.

So now it's much more of like a surgical strike. It can be. That's surgical strike. That is a part of a bigger campaign.

[00:10:50] George B. Thomas: I, I, I love

[00:10:52] Max Cohen: yeah, I want to ask a question about just like the economies of scale, all that kind of stuff. So like, um, something that I've done recently, I started I started a hat company, and I sell these like hats online and stuff, but I don't have like a warehouse. I'm not gonna mention what it is. I don't have a warehouse.

But I use

[00:11:07] Liz Moorehead: Big

[00:11:08] Max Cohen: a print on demand. I use a print on demand service that doesn't require minimums. Right. So has there been like, I'd imagine like back in the day, I think you were like, kind of alluding to it a little bit when you wanted to do these, you know, big giant mail sends, there was probably like minimums and you had to get like a certain amount and you ordered them in bulk and like, you know, then you'd kind of sent them out, blasted them out that way.

And then maybe ended up with like a ton of waste and stuff. But I'd imagine the logistics of that don't really work within the context of a, Um, marketing automation platform. Cause it's like, you know, the idea is that, Hey, if I want to target a list of like 384 people, I just want to send 304, you know, pieces of 384 pieces of mail, right?

Not like say, Oh, I'm going to go, you know, order a bunch. They're going to arrive at the office. We're going to package them up and we're going to send them out. Like that's not how it works. Has there been like, what, what has kind of changed in the. You know, uh, the, the industry of like, you know, being able to go from a place where you had to get this stuff in bulk to being able to do it, like literally on demand now, because I'm assuming that's what your platform does, right?

Like I can go make a thing I want to send, choose the envelope, right. You know, figure out what's on it, maybe do some personalization tokens and stuff like that. And like, you might just be sending out one piece of mail, right? What's what's, what's changed in like the technology behind the scenes that like allows.

You guys should do that and still be like profitable when like sending, you know, maybe only a few pieces of mail that are highly specialized.

[00:12:39] Dennis: Yeah, yeah, and, and, and, you know, there have been several changes, but, you know, the, the big thing is this, uh. In order to, for a printer to execute on, on a print job, you have to have an operator. Operator has to work with a piece of equipment. They have to load paper up into it. They have to load data up into it.

They have to load creative up into it. They have to do this sort of mapping between the, the spreadsheet file and then the Adobe file and make sure the personalization is, is matching up. There's all these steps. that have traditionally been required in order to process a run. And so there's a fixed cost.

You know, there's, there's some press operator who's getting paid, you know, 120 grand. And, you know, they're spending an hour. Uh, you know, start to finish on this run, overseeing this piece of very expensive, sophisticated equipment. And, and so there's all this cost, kind of fixed cost into that process. So, you know, if you think about that, well, if I take that total lump cost, I divide it by one piece.

That's a pretty expensive piece. If I divide it by 100, 000 pieces, well, you know, you know, some economics are happening. But what, what's happened Since then is companies like us have come along and said, Hey, you know what we're going to standardize direct mail around some really popular formats, and we're going to get a whole lot of companies.

The scale of sass. contribute and process mail all day long by firing data out of HubSpot and, and into these templates that can be then pushed out to print partners in aggregate with, you know, hundreds of other companies. So you can send one piece of mail, you can send 10, 000 pieces of mail, you can send 100, 000 pieces of mail.

They all get treated exactly the same way. They're all priced very competitively. And, uh, and, and they take advantage of the scale that we bring to the equation that we bring to our print partners. Uh, but allow marketers to not have to worry. You don't have to worry about print economics. You don't have to worry about postage.

[00:15:05] Max Cohen: hmm.

[00:15:05] Dennis: I, I, I like to, I like to tell, People that are, you know, uh, email oriented. I said, what, you know, when, when you send an email campaign, are you worrying about lining up a email server and going to build a contract with an email server and, you know, cut a deal around this campaign with an email server in order to distribute your emails?

No, of course not. Are you worrying about the internet protocols that determine, you know, how that mail, how that email is being distributed across the worldwide web? Of course not. Well, and that's kind of what we're doing for physical mail.

[00:15:44] Max Cohen: Yeah. Got it.

[00:15:46] Dennis: you don't need to go find a printer, you don't need to worry about postage and all these requirements, USPS, to get everything exactly the way it has to be, we deal with all that stuff.

You, market, be a marketer. We want you to focus on the message, the call to action, the integration with the landing page, the integration with HubSpot. Like that's where you need to spend your time.

[00:16:08] Max Cohen: Love it.

[00:16:09] George B. Thomas: So there's a couple of things I want to unpack from there. One, you're making it easy to, you're letting me do what I actually like to do anyway, versus the other crap that I'd rather stay away from. But I definitely love this idea of the power of community or the power of scale of multiple people using like type items that get then into the process.

But the thing that you said that before Liz, I hand it back over to you and we keep chugging along. That I want the listeners to pay attention to is that you started to use the term like surgical, right? And, and I always have this thing where I tell people, listen, listen, this is more of a scalpel, less of a sledgehammer around some other things that we talk about with marketing.

And I want you to realize when we're talking about direct mail. We are talking more scalpel use, less sledgehammer use. And so think about where that fits in with inbound and a hub spot, Liz, let's keep chugging along.

[00:17:10] Liz Moorehead: Yeah, because here's what I want to dig into here, because you, you made the point Dennis there of allowing marketers to do what they are supposed to be doing. Now George, you and I have had a couple of very interesting conversations over the past few weeks where in clients that you and I both work with with the case for direct mail is actually very obvious.

So could you speak to some of those examples?

[00:17:33] George B. Thomas: Yeah. So, um, the one I'm going to bring up well, and I think it's the most memorable because a, I was young in my career when this happened, this example that I'm gonna bring up, um, to. It was one of those moments where I knew everything, let me show you, this is the inbound way, and then all of a sudden this happened, um, and then it's something that I've just carried with me, because I'm like, oh, shoot, there's, we should always probably check this thing, and so, Liz, the example that I'm going to use here, where I feel like if I would have known about Postalytics and this whole idea back then, I would have been like, and here's where we're going with it, because we could have tied it to the CRM.

So, um, yeah. We could have measured results versus what ended up happening is this person probably went and did it the old school way. And there was no connection to analytics or understanding. And so we were kind of in the same boat. Anyway, here's the example. I was training an HVAC company. On HubSpot and how to use HubSpot and how to do inbound marketing.

And we got to the conversation of data hygiene or database cleanliness. And we ran the usual list that we run to show that people are just not real active or probably not a good fit. I got to my usual spiel where I said, um, so let's go ahead and delete those humans. Oh, wait, let's delete those humans from the data.

There we go. From the database. Right. And, uh, to which the owner said, hold up, hold a, hold a, hold up, hold up. I don't know if we're ready to delete those yet. And I said, well, why not? They haven't visited the website. There's no sales activity. Like they're not, they're not. They're not, they're just not. And he goes, listen, one thing that you have to understand, and by the way, I feel, uh, more in tuned with this now that I'm 52 versus it being about eight years ago, he said, one thing you have to understand is most of my, um, business is 55 or older.

I'm lucky if they even get on the internet, let alone come visit my website. And so what I'd like to do before we delete these contacts. I want to send them a letter or send them a postcard or see if I can get them to call in. Right? And so now, so think about that even right? We talked about SMS last week.

Text in, call in, make sure you're using a HubSpot phone number when they call in, you can track that. Now we're talking about using Postalytics, because that could be the send and then the phone call. So now the, the, the mail is tracked, the call is tracked, like it's all, like, you see how it's like creating this like ecosystem, even what was historically outbound.

So for me, I'm sitting there as a young marketer going, this guy just took me to school. Because there is an audience that isn't gonna do what we think they should do, and we should have a way to serve them. And by the way, Dennis, this is why when I saw the LinkedIn post, I was immediately like, We need to bring this to the masses.

[00:20:31] Max Cohen: I'm,

[00:20:31] Dennis: Love it. And,

[00:20:32] Max Cohen: oh, I'm, I'm having, okay, I think I'm having a little bit of a coming around on all of this. And I'm trying

[00:20:39] Liz Moorehead: You having a breakthrough? Are we having a breakthrough?

[00:20:41] Max Cohen: I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm drinking some of my own medicine here. You know how I always say, um, you know how there's that line that I use all the time, um, when I talk about, uh, people's reluctance to like, do like social media and stuff like that. It's like, I'll say. The, uh, your, your future buyers are growing up on TikTok and Twitch, not, not Google and Facebook anymore, right?

[00:21:06] George B. Thomas: Yep.

[00:21:07] Max Cohen: I think, I think, I probably also need to maybe realize that the way that people like to communicate Can also be I mean, I mean there I'm basically saying people prefer to communicate people prefer Yeah

[00:21:27] Liz Moorehead: like watching a pony. It's like watching a pony learn to walk. This is great.

[00:21:31] Max Cohen: saying I need to apply that same logic that people like to communicate in the way they grew up Communicating and I need to remember that if your audience grew up communicating more with mail, they're probably more likely to engage with that medium than something else and so

[00:21:55] Liz Moorehead: I want to be careful about us being a little

[00:21:56] Max Cohen: I'm not! No, that's not what I'm

[00:21:58] Liz Moorehead: why. No, let me finish. Let me finish. Because the, the example that came to me. The example that immediately came to mind for me is a client that George and I work on together, and it reminded me of something similar I saw when I used to do ABM work at my old agency, which is when you're dealing in certain industries where the deal sizes are.

Exceptionally large, or in the case of the client that George and I work with, they are dealing with endowments that are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. And so they are going around to specific institutions where you could give them the digital versions of all of the collateral that you're going to give them.

But there is. There is something more institutional and established about creating those pieces as tactile, physical, collateral pieces that can be tailored to the institution that you're trying to reach, that can be sent to very specific people, you can send it. You can send different types of messages in different types of ways in the three dimension.

There are certain things that I think can get lost when you have it purely in a digital space. Like think about for some folks, like there are some people who are purists and will never read a book on a Kindle. It will never happen because they lose something from the digital tactile experience. And there are some people who are totally fine with it, but I completely agree with you, Max.

I wasn't trying to pee in your fun cereal. I'm so glad you have learned how you're a pony who's learned to walk. Everything's fine. We're growing. We're having breakthroughs. That's amazing. I think two things are true. You need to be hyper aware of who your audience is. Where they are and what their preferences are for consuming information.

And then you also have to meet them where they are in terms of, What is the scale of what you're trying to achieve? What is the, what are the things that you need to communicate from an established nature? What are the things that can only be communicated in a physical format? So it's both. It's both and.

[00:24:07] Dennis: and, and, you know, often in, in those, what we'd call highly considered purchases, ticket items,

[00:24:14] Max Cohen: Yep,

[00:24:15] Dennis: they're often not decided by a single person. So think about college recruitment. We have a lot of, uh, you know, higher ed institutions that are driving out, you know, highly, highly personalized. Uh, letters and packages to a student, but also mom and dad. Right, and or whoever's in the family, because these are shared experiences when, when you're buying a car, when you're buying, you know, a really expensive thing, you're buying insurance policy, you know, these are things that have to be kind of handed back and forth and talked about over the dinner table or over the, at the kitchen counter.

Right? And, and that physical thing is lingering. It's not something that is in and out instantly. It hangs around. So when something comes in the mail that is perceived to be potentially of some value, there's a long tail of consumption of that content. And,

[00:25:23] George B. Thomas: Yeah, there's a long tail on those carnival brochures, bro. I'm telling you that those suckers lay on my kitchen table for the longest of times. I didn't mean to interrupt you, but I love Dennis, what you're saying here, because the way my brain works, by the way, and I'm looking at the chat pane for a second, then Dennis, I'll hand it back over so you can finish your thought.

But I'm looking at the chat pane and Chad is in here going, the roofing industry, direct mail is huge. It's like a top of mind always type scenario when you do one person's roof sending mail, right? The neighbors, Dennis, what you were talking about, I started to get this, like, when there's a group or community decision.

So now we've already talked about. If it's demographically needed direct mail, if it's financial basis of we're talking about hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, and you need a tactile different real world feel, maybe direct mail, if it's a community or group like my wife and daughters decision making process, maybe you need something that can be passed back and forth, direct mail.

So it's super interesting how we're almost building in real time a matrix. Of opportunities that business should be thinking about when to tag that scalpel version of marketing and sales into the mix. Dennis, go ahead and continue on. You

[00:27:02] Dennis: could be something else, right? But, but there's some sort of package, some sort of thing that you're holding and you're reading versus looking at an ad on a screen. And the brand recall was 70 percent higher on the thing that you hold in your hand. You're, you're using more than one sense, right? Using multiple sensory things in your body to deal with this message. And so, so there's, there's science that also says, hey, you know. you can get somebody to slow down for a sec and stop

[00:27:44] Liz Moorehead: that. 

[00:27:45] Dennis: and look at something.

And even if it's going to the recycler, right, you have to look at it because it may be something you need.

So you have to make that decision and it's, you, you, you put it aside, you throw it away, you keep the couple things that are of value that you want to dig into further, you come back to them. What do you go?

What, when you do get something of value, where do you go? You go on the website. You go to the website of the company that is hitting you up. And that is why to complete the circle. This is an inbound marketing tactic, because today Direct Mail is about getting people to go to that site, go to the landing page, and begin the inbound experience, or, or, to, in a scenario where, uh, Direct Mail could never be used in the past, uh, low funnel, mid funnel, post sale, All these types of things that, that Inbound does so well.

Right? Right? All of that now, this is, this can be a part of those stories.

[00:28:49] George B. Thomas: Okay, so I have to, I have, oh my gosh. So, um. There's so much good right there, by the way, like rewind and re listen to that segment right there, because Um, a couple things that are just going through my brain right now. One, everybody is living at freaking warp speed And so the fact that Dennis, you said getting people to slow down, like if you can get them to slow down I would say that is a super powerful moment that you're having with them because it's more time, even though it might be like less time in general, but more time than they're giving the average thing that they're seeing in this warp speed digital world.

But then you triggered in my brain, something that I haven't thought about for probably about 14. Now, maybe 16 years and when I started out, I, I started out as a designer and I had a creative director that was teaching me different things and I'll never forget this conversation we had about the, because we are ordering this project for a company.

And he, and he, he had to go down to the actual paper place. Cause he wanted to know how the paper felt. He wanted to know how the papers smelled and like it, and for him, it was this very, you know, sensory touch feel when I'm looking at it, like what, what is the entire experience going to be? And I had, I had forgot about that.

I had lost that until you started to mention that. And so. So this idea of a tactile sensory slowdown moment, what I hope people hear when they listen to this is how important the copy and the graphics that you're putting on that moment. To go with what we're talking about is, so it's not like a, uh, historical, let's turn it out and hope for the best.

It's a, let's, let's use this to make a, yes, I said, turn it out, max. Let's make it, let's make it. I mean, I could have used a different word, but you

[00:30:46] Max Cohen: pe or peeing in cereal, turning it out, or

[00:30:49] George B. Thomas: yeah, let's make it a special

[00:30:52] Liz Moorehead: guys. We're

[00:30:52] George B. Thomas: We're doing good. Let's make it a special moment. Like, let's make it an experience in that moment.

[00:30:59] Max Cohen: Spe speaking of experiences, I and and Dennis, I've been looking at the uh, you know, whenever I look at integrations, I always like to go into the HubSpot app marketplace and try to make sense of it. I'm seeing this thing in here that you guys can do these, uh, free personalized, like, URLs and these QR codes.

Um, and the next thing I see is that you're doing personalized landing pages. Are you guys, like, packaging up cookie information into a URL and then turning that into a QR code? So if someone, like,

[00:31:30] George B. Thomas: Dang, you just got nerdy, bro.

[00:31:32] Max Cohen: if someone hits the website, it's it's doing, like, smart content and, like, personalization tokens?

[00:31:38] Dennis: Yeah.

[00:31:38] Max Cohen: Dude, that's crazy. That is Aw,

[00:31:42] Dennis: in, in, we have, we actually, uh, have, have been doing this for quite a while where we're able to generate a unique URL for every single person

[00:31:53] Max Cohen: Yeah,

[00:31:54] Dennis: that is going to receive a piece of mail. That URL could be a URL, it could be a QR code.

[00:31:59] Max Cohen: yeah,

[00:32:00] Dennis: And then we, you know, there's a lot of the data that is driving the personalization of the mail piece. Uh, we're able to repurpose and sprinkle tokens into the HTML of your landing page. So, you know, we have customers that are sending out direct mail that is completely data driven and personalized based on a wide variety of factors. So different images, different content blocks, uh, right? All this type of thing is, you know, zeroing in a piece of mail that is, is designed specifically for you.

And then where a lot of the time people, marketers have gotten this wrong is the transition from one medium to the next. it is jarring, if it is not familiar, if it is not consistent, you're going to lose people. So this is about conversion rate optimization as well, right? This is, this is about taking the data points that you pull together in your direct mail piece and making sure that I'm seeing something that has message match when I go to the next step of the process, when I go online to deal with this.

[00:33:26] Max Cohen: Mm-Hmm?

[00:33:27] Dennis: And so having that continuity will raise your response rate significantly. And so, yeah, so the mail is a part of a digital experience. It happens to be physical. Right but but it's a, it's a part of a much bigger. You know, digital experience that, you know, is. Is, is driving you to a particular call to action?

[00:33:53] Liz Moorehead: Okay. So I want to pivot the conversation here because we've been talking a lot about some of the best practices, some of the things that we see work well, the importance of understanding what makes this tactile physical experience so powerful, but I'd love to hear from you all and, and in particular you, Dennis as well.

What are some of the pitfalls or mistakes we've either experienced or seen from brands that should be avoided with direct mail? I'll go first. Um, You know, George, you mentioned earlier, you know, not skimping on the copy, not skimping on the design. I've actually seen the inverse where the copy and the design are spot on and the, and the, uh, materials are just garbage.

Like, they, they go as cheap. As possible in terms of what it is that they are actually delivering to you, whether that's going through a service where there isn't a lot of QA. So things are off centered or that you're trying to convey something that's supposed to be of high quality, big deal sizes, you know, high investment opportunities, but the paper itself is very low quality itself.

Things like that, that's just something that always irks me, but I know you guys probably have some more strategic answers to that in terms of the no no's, the don'ts, the bads.

[00:35:15] George B. Thomas: Yeah, Dennis. Silence.

[00:35:17] Dennis: yeah, I, I, I say the number one thing that, that we see,

[00:35:20] Liz Moorehead: Yeah. Mm

[00:35:27] Dennis: is on kind of a long term decline in effectiveness. Uh, you know, I'm, I'm running out of other channels. I want to try direct mail. So I'm going to send a campaign. And if it works.

We'll keep doing and I say, okay, well, how do you define a campaign? Well, we're gonna send one postcard out to 1000 people one time and and if we hear back, you know, if we have some response, great, we'll keep going. And my response is okay, well, is this a cold? Solicitation. Are these people who know you? Uh, and, and the answer is often, uh, no, these are not people who know me.

This is a cold solicitation. I said, all right, well, if you had a sales rep who made 100 phone calls

 

[00:36:16] Dennis: say, That rep is fired. He's out. And I say, well, that's gonna, what's gonna happen to your direct mail?

Because you, you, you, you, you have very little chance of success if you think that you can do like a one off little, you know, one time campaign and expect to have really any influence on any audience. And so it's just bad marketing and so it's Marketing 101 applied to a different medium. And that's really a big emphasis of where we're trying to, you know, lead the market.

We've just put together what we call Postalytics Academy. we're super excited about it. And it's designed, it's a free set of online courses. I don't know where I would have got that idea, uh, but a free set of online courses, uh, where folks are able to learn the fundamentals of direct marketing, of direct mail, of how technology is starting to change direct mail, and then, of course, you can learn how to use Postalytics and apply all that.

Right. So, uh, it's a huge thing for us is to kind of teach the fundamentals of direct mail marketing to the world.

[00:37:42] George B. Thomas: So Liz, one, let's make sure we get a link to that Academy, um, and put it in the show notes so people can get to that. I'm trying to figure out how I can manufacture some more time in my day because I'm like, Oh, an Academy, let me go see what I can learn there. Because. I think this is really important. And it's funny because Dennis, when I was listening to you, uh, that like things in my brain of like, Oh, 17 touches and top of mind and like brand awareness.

And like, I see it online and I see it in my mailbox and I see it here and I see it on the billboard. And all of it interacts to be the one, you know, one thing that all of a sudden they get this great idea. Let me just reach out to that company. And they don't even really remember why it is that they're going to reach out to that company, but it's the 17 things.

And so this idea of one off and that's what you're going to do. No, first of all. It doesn't even have to always be cold. It might be lukewarm and then you're doing it. So there's just some good stuff there. I'll tell you the thing that cracks me up, Liz, I agree with you. Crappy paper, glossy, uh, orange on blue, black, black on purple.

Like how do you think I'm going to read this? Like, can you, can you check out some design principles, best practices before you buy your postcards or whatever it is, but here's the one that always kills me is.

[00:39:01] Liz Moorehead: it's, I'll, I'll, before

[00:39:02] George B. Thomas: Before I throw it away, I'll actually give it a minute and I'll look at it just because I'm a nerdy marketer and also a nerdy designer and I want to just see what's going on.

I can't tell you the amount of direct pieces of mail that I get and I'm like,

[00:39:16] Liz Moorehead: out

[00:39:17] George B. Thomas: Hmm,

where am I supposed to go? What, what, what, what am I supposed

[00:39:23] Liz Moorehead: This reminds me, this reminds me of our Calls to Action episode where it's like, are you giving a person a clear next step? If you don't give them a clear next step, they're gone.

[00:39:31] George B. Thomas: like, I don't feels great. Actually doesn't look terrible. Have no clue what the flip it is you want me to do. Boop. Cylindrical file. So like you, like these, again we're creating a little bit of a matrix of things to think about. When you're going to create that piece of like, Oh yeah, it needs to feel good, smell good, look good, and tell people what the heck I want them to do, in a way that they don't get lost along the way.

Like, it can't be, you know, you've all seen that PowerPoint that has like, half a book on it, and everybody's like, I don't even know where to look. Anyway, that's, that's my thing. Make sure you have a call to action on these bad boys.

[00:40:09] Liz Moorehead: Maxie, what about you? What are your, what are your don'ts, your no

[00:40:12] George B. Thomas: He's already signing up to do a post alytics run for his happily, or our hat typically as Chad put it,

[00:40:19] Max Cohen: Hey. I mean, I do, I I

[00:40:21] Liz Moorehead: Shilling for Big Hat.

[00:40:22] Max Cohen: have some mailing addresses, I guess, so I could probably move some hats that way.

[00:40:27] George B. Thomas: cross sales up sales, baby.

[00:40:29] Max Cohen: big thing like I'm trying to figure out, because again, I'm here to learn, I don't know if I necessarily have like a bunch of like don'ts other than like, you know, I think I think honestly, a lot of the same things that I say about email marketing would apply the same to, you know, direct mail marketing.

It's like, buying lists and blasting stuff out, like probably isn't going to be, you know, that good, if anything, it might be more detrimental, because it's like, oh, you're giving me a physical task to throw something away that I didn't want. I wasn't expecting here, right? So I'd say like, you know, take it.

Yeah. Take, I think take everything you know about email marketing, maybe again, I don't know if this is an educated take, but try to apply that also, right? Because you're doing the same thing, like you're sending the mail, it's just in their, their mailbox, not their inbox, right? Um, so I'd say try to apply like a lot of those same best practices.

But like what I'm trying to figure out, the big thing I'm like trying to wrap my head around is like, where does direct mail sort of like fit into you? Transcribed Like a typical inbound strategy and like, does it all the time or is it, is this something that really is only going to work when you have an audience that likes to have, likes to be communicated with that way?

Right? Or is it, does it depend on what you're selling or is it like a

[00:41:45] Liz Moorehead: Honestly, that was our next question. So Max, you're doing my work for us. Let's hit it.

[00:41:50] George B. Thomas: a question for

[00:41:51] Max Cohen: what I'm trying to figure out like what are the rules of thumb

[00:41:53] Liz Moorehead: slap on that

[00:41:55] Max Cohen: am I gonna go tell like the all inbound marketer? Like you should this is where you how you should fold in direct mail, right?

[00:42:02] Liz Moorehead: like a cheese folding the

[00:42:04] Max Cohen: Layers, it's like a

[00:42:05] Liz Moorehead: No, just me. Okay. All

[00:42:07] Max Cohen: I got you Hmm

[00:42:12] Dennis: So, uh, you know, I think your analogy between direct mail and email is spot on. In fact, that's often how I try to explain Postalytics to people. I say, it's kind of like email. except it happens to print and mail, right? So our software kind of works like email. It looks and acts and feels like email when you're setting up campaigns.

So, uh, it, it, so the principles are the same, right? You, you, you have a, a, a target, you have a person with some data associated with them. You've got some creative, you merge them together, you send them out, and then you monitor whether or not they respond. And so, so, so the most natural The lowest hanging fruit inbound marketers is to try direct mail with the audience that is not responding to your email.

[00:43:08] Max Cohen: interesting. Okay

[00:43:10] Dennis: That is absolutely the low hanging fruit.

[00:43:14] Max Cohen: big because probably it's a big indicator if they're not using email, they're probably using some kind of mail. Right. And there really is the only one option besides I guess carrier pigeon, which would be physical mail, even the same. So yeah,

[00:43:29] Dennis: the drones are coming, but we're not there yet. So,

[00:43:33] George B. Thomas: the

[00:43:34] Liz Moorehead: smoke signals Falcons with little caps on their heads. Where are we at with those? Yeah.

[00:43:39] George B. Thomas: Falcons with caps. That's

[00:43:41] Max Cohen: telepathy. Yeah.

[00:43:42] Liz Moorehead: big

[00:43:43] Max Cohen: Okay. So that's interesting. So like trying, trying, like, you know, I mean, and that's something that's like easily actionable, right? Like go, go take a look at your gray mail list or like, you know, build the list of people who's unopened emails, like hit a certain amount, right? Like, you know, HubSpot's already helping

[00:43:59] Dennis: build a workflow in HubSpot to comb through your last five emails and when you find somebody that hasn't opened an email in five or six touches, drop them into a three or four touch direct mail sequence and, and, and trigger triggers, you know, some different mail pieces out with some different offers over a period of a couple of months and see what happens. get some engagement, bring them back in. So what we advise folks to do is use direct mail to try to bring them back, get them re engaged and then try to get them back on email email costs less.

[00:44:40] Max Cohen: Yeah. True.

[00:44:41] Dennis: So if you can use email, do it. But if it's not working, don't just keep pounding it. Right.

The definition of insanity, we all know what that is. So, so you've got to use other tactics. And that's where we try to plug in and make that a seamless. process to, to use some different direct mail techniques to get that audience engaged again.

[00:45:06] Max Cohen: George, I want to, I want to poke a little more, but you have a question, ask it.

[00:45:10] George B. Thomas: Yeah. Well, no, not a question. You poke here in a minute. Um, I think I have a new talk track to be honest with you because there's a list for that already. Uh, the unengaged email list, 11 unopened emails and what's happening now is most people are getting in that list and then people are just like delete them, forget about them, whatever.

But it's real interesting to me to think about a narrative where it's, if they reach the unengaged list, then there's something that fires them into a 90 day direct mail campaign. Make sure I go over to my settings and have re subscribe flipped on for my forms when I do get them back to the website and they can re subscribe or whatever they have to do for the email if they've unsubscribed, which by the way might be another one.

If they unsubscribe, wait 60 days and send them direct mail. If in unengaged, uh, you know, email list, then set up the like, so there's literally two ways right there that you could start to think about this folding into, see what I did there. List folding into your, in, not even without even watching the show em into your inbound strategies, just in those two ways.

Right, right now.

[00:46:20] Max Cohen: All right. I have two questions. Um, two separate ones. So is, do you see that like, is postal mail better for landing? Like. Initial business or is it more effective for like repeat business or is there even like a conversation to be had there?

[00:46:35] Dennis: a response rate perspective.

[00:46:38] Max Cohen: Like like where do you find it more where do you find it more? Uh, effective right because like I could make the argument of like I've never heard of this company before i'm not going to open up this shit. They sent me versus Oh, I had a great experience with these people. I'll oh a little bit this envelope I'll take a minute to see what's going on right like is there is there anything you see in terms of like The successfulness of, um, you know, uh, direct mail in those two different like scenarios.

[00:47:08] Dennis: Yeah. So, so response rates are double when you are sending direct mail to a warm audience.

[00:47:17] Max Cohen: Yeah.

[00:47:17] Dennis: Exactly.

[00:47:18] Max Cohen: Got it.

[00:47:19] Dennis: So, so, you know, we see eight, nine, 10 percent response rates. you're sending to a warm audience, when you're sending to a cold audience, it's, you know, two, three, you know, four is really good,

[00:47:35] Max Cohen: Yeah. Okay.

[00:47:36] Dennis: Uh, so, so, but for certain audiences, direct mail is the best way to acquire new customers too, right? So if, if, if, if you are, um, That, uh, the HVAC company, right? And, and you need to respond quickly to a storm in an area. You can, you can hit, uh, you know, neighborhoods and zip codes with very, very timely messages and you're going to, you're going to get new customers.

You know, it's, it is, for, for certain scenarios, it is the best way to get new customers. Overall, uh, you see a much, much higher response rate when you're communicating with people that already have an association with your brand.

[00:48:28] Max Cohen: Cool. Last, last questions. I know we're, we're, we're, we're getting a time here, but I think it's important. We talk a lot about, uh, you know, when, especially in the email conversation, we talk a lot about a consent, right. And like acquiring emails and like the ability to email people, what's the consent conversation around physical mail and like, what are the best ways to.

Gather addresses, is it like you're only mailing people who have given you a mailing address and giving you consent? Um, are the laws like a little bit different around that? Like what do people, what do marketers need to know? Like around, like, can I actually send postal mail to folks and how do I get their addresses?

[00:49:04] Dennis: Well, you know, the, the regulatory and compliance, uh, uh, framework that the world's been marching toward, uh, is another reason why folks are turning to direct mail again. Uh, because, uh, there really aren't, there's no notion of canned spam. Or, uh, you know, there's no real regulatory requirement to opt out addresses and names of addresses are public data.

[00:49:33] Max Cohen: Yeah.

[00:49:34] Dennis: to, you can go to the government office and you can, you can pull, you know, who owns this piece of property and who lives where and it's all public. So, uh, so, you know, there's, It's, it's a much less challenging environment from a regulatory standpoint, uh, because of that very thing. It's a, it's public data that you're dealing with.

[00:49:58] Max Cohen: That makes sense. Yeah. Interesting.

[00:50:00] George B. Thomas: So the one thing I'll say out of that, that I hope the listeners. Take away from that is because it's easy. A lot of people will screw it up. And so again, this is a, this is a time where if you take the time to make it right and pay attention to the things that we've talked about today, yours will be the special piece in a pile of crap that they will look at.

They will engage with that because you put a call to action on it will get you business.

[00:50:31] Liz Moorehead: I love that Dennis. I want to give you our last question for today. So for any listeners out there who are now considering looking at direct mail as an option or maybe they're rethinking their approach because they're already doing it. What is the one piece of advice you want to leave them with today?

About how to do this. Right.

[00:50:49] Dennis: So the, the, the most important thing is, I guess the thing that I default to similar to the things that George was, was saying, you have to apply the same marketing fundamentals. the same good marketing practices to this channel that you have with every other channel. And so, you know, you, you have to do things right.

You have to, if you're going to do something, invest, do it the right way, give it you know, a six month, a one year kind of run and, and, and, and work it, try multiple things. It's easily tested, right? We've got the ability to capture response. So test, send out letters, send out postcards, send out, you know, folding mailers, try different audiences with different calls to action, all of those things, right?

That, that we all know you do in email marketing and, and digital marketing, you have to apply those to direct mail. It's just a slightly different medium.

[00:52:00] Liz Moorehead: Fantastic. Well, Dennis, thank you so much for joining us today. What is the best place for people to connect with you? Uh, if they have more questions.

[00:52:09] Dennis: Well, you can hit me up, uh, Dennis at postalytics. com or hit me up on LinkedIn. I'm very active on LinkedIn. And so, uh, look me up there. Uh, we're, we'd be thrilled to talk to anybody. And, uh, I really want to thank you guys. This has been a blast. Uh, uh, this is the most fun I've had in a podcast in a long time.

So you guys know how to bring it. All right.

[00:52:32] Max Cohen: Let's go.

[00:52:33] Liz Moorehead: We fold in the cheese and the fun. Right guys. Yes. No. And on that note, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for tuning in this week. Obviously, if you love us, please don't hesitate to leave us a review on your preferred podcast provider. But otherwise, gentlemen, I will talk to you next week.