Best Friends: Direct and Digital Marketing Better Together

Direct and Digital

Remember when a self addressed stamped envelope was a thing? Or when your utility bill included a return envelope every month? Or when you stopped to buy a magazine and a torrential rain of advertising postcards fell to your feet? With the growth of digital marketing a reliance on business direct response return mail has diminished significantly – as much as 75% less usage than 5 years ago. New and more easily trace-able alternatives (we bet you cannot go a day without seeing at least one QR Code) have taken their place. Direct and digital marketing are best when hanging out with each other. They are best together, positively impacting your overall efforts.

Starting with a direct mail piece, it is end goal is to incite a positive action from the recipient. For decades, which meant a successful return of business return mail (BRM) or phone call (or dare we say…a fax response). With the advent of digital options like email and web URLs, benefits to both the business and the customer became evident. The ability for faster responses allows businesses to generate revenue faster and gain quick insights about their direct and digital marketing. This in turn leads to improvements and even more revenue. The limited speed of BRMs meant marketing campaigns could not react to positive or negative trends quickly. Improvements to marketing campaigns can still be made over time – which sometimes was measured in months. From your customer’s perspective, direct and digital working together means a faster fulfillment of their purchase making them happier.

Alternative Response Tools

It is obvious you want more revenue and happier customers. So, what tools should you use to maximize your direct and digital marketing relationship? You want to send the right message to the right person at the right time in the right medium. Here is a breakdown of response options that allow direct and digital marketing to work hand in hand.

Websites and Landing Pages

Have your mailer’s call-to-action (CTA) point to a website or web landing page. Effective websites are engaging, educational and, if built correctly, direct traffic. A landing page is helpful for campaign-wide communications consistency.

Pro tip: Keep the URL short. A printed piece does not have the same interaction of simply clicking a link. Your recipient must manually type in the address so the shorter the better. Or better yet…

QR code

Although they have been in use for over a decade, it seems like marketers have only recently figured out how to use them effectively. QR codes are the friendship bracelet between your direct and digital tactics. Recipients point their phone at your direct mailer or printed piece and have instant access to any landing page of your choosing for more information or to instantly make a purchase.

Pro tip: You can custom design the square. It does not have to only be a series of squares in each pattern. Imagery and colour elements can spruce it up with your branding


A PURL is a personalized landing page specific to your recipient. It provides a “wow” factor by presenting info you already know to your recipients when they arrive at their own landing page. When they arrive, not only does the PURL address them by name, but leverages any other data – and associated copy and imagery – to create a memorable 1-to-1 experience and/or offer.

Pro-tip: A PURL can be a vanity URL such as sending Tony Stark a mailer with the CTA pointing her to Like above, it can be a QR Code or custom QR pointing specifically to Tony’s unique page.

Social Media

In your business, you want to engage potential customers wherever they are. And your branding needs to be consistent wherever they see it. Using a CTA that calls out to your social media pages can be a useful tool. Use social tags, callouts and icons on your mailers and printed pieces to tie your overall direct and digital marketing tactics together.

Pro tip: You can use your direct mail campaign for its lead generating purpose but also to gain more online followers. Your CTA can include a main promotion and a secondary – possibly more enticing one – that can only be redeemed by adding/following/connecting to your company on a specific social media site.


Your CTA response channel on your direct and digital campaigns can be combined to encourage a recipient to take any desired action you wish. That CTA may be to download an app. You may have a loyalty or rewards program. An app offers a simple but unique brand experience for a recipient to act on a tempting offer when it arrives in the mail.

Pro tip: Your overall success of a campaign can be massively bolstered by its use, but an app takes time to develop. Plan well ahead if you want to add this tool to your direct and digital tool belt.


Email is not new, but it is still a highly effective tool in your multi channel tool belt. Including a personal email address (or a company inbox) as your CTA allows you to gather pertinent information on prospects from a direct mail campaign.

Pro tip: Do not use your “every day” email address on a print or mail piece. First and most important, it becomes difficult or impossible to track the effectiveness of the CTA to the campaign. In all marketing, you want to know what works and what does not. But also, it can bog down your inbox making regular non-marketing response business very cumbersome.


No list like this would be complete without including the reliable telephone response mechanism. As a response channel, an inbound phone call provides the greatest level of consistency, longevity and universality. Local businesses can show off their local Area Code to portray that they are a friend in the neighbourhood. Or use of 1-800 numbers show you care about the recipients’ time and money; calling you will be simply and free. The phone will continue to work for your business in any sector of the economy.

Pro tip: You can use an alias phone number on any campaign you want. There are companies that provide access to phone numbers for as little as $10 per month that routes to your any of your core numbers. The recipient is unaware their call has been redirected but you gain insight into which campaigns are generating calls or not.

In-person Store Visits

Your mail or print piece, by leveraging both direct and digital advantages together can assist your brick-and-mortar foot traffic objectives. You can use a tried-and-true map on your collateral or better yet…you can use a QR code and link them directly to Google Maps and they will have instantaneous instructions of how to get to your location.

Pro tip: If you have multiple locations, you can use variable data on the direct mail piece changing the closest store details (address, location, URL, QR code, physical map) on the printed piece based on postal code.

You Need To Be Where Your Customers Are

Today more than ever, you need to ensure your marketing investments get the most bang for the buck. You want to allocate those dollars into media channels with greatest proven results. But your customers spend time in several places – online and offline – at the same time. It is prudent to maximize impact by running your campaigns across as many direct and digital channels as you can afford to.

A 2020 USPS Delivers survey revealed that direct mail encourages action directing recipients to:

  • Website visits – 77%
  • Purchases – 64%
  • Program signups – 56%
  • Store visits – 53%
  • App downloads – 53%


Direct and digital marketing, working together. This is your business’ power couple. Are you using them both together effectively? Don’t know?  Looking for a local company that can help you design, produce, and print impactful direct marketing response-driving collateral that stands out from the rest? Let Minuteman Press Calgary Shepard handle your project from start to finish. We will even handle the execution of the mail campaign, ensuring you maximize your postage spend, sending it off precisely to the homes or businesses of your choice. Ready to get started? Request a Quote today to learn more!