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How to Use Technology in Your Direct Mail Campaign on

Direct mail campaigns may start with sending letters to potential customers, but there are a lot of ways you can integrate technology to achieve a higher response.

Direct mail marketing has existed for decades and, even in today’s digitally obsessed world, it remains a powerful, cost-effective and successful way to reaching customers. At the same time, technology has changed the game, and there are a lot of things we can do to boost response today that weren’t even possible when most direct mail techniques were developed. If you aren’t taking advantage of these advancements, you’re doing a disservice to your marketing and making it more challenging to reach your goals.

By integrating technology into your direct mail marketing, you can make it easier for customers to respond to your offers and come up with new ways to gain their attention. You may also be eligible for postage discounts through the USPS when integrating qualifying technologies into your campaigns.

Here are a few technologies you should be using in your direct mail and how they can take your marketing to the next level.


Include QR codes and custom URLs

One way to add technology to a direct mail campaign that makes it easier to respond is by inserting a scannable QR code with a custom URL into the design.

By personalizing the URL and the offer it links to, you not only provide each customer with a tangible benefit for opening your mail, but you also make it easier to track the success of your campaign.

The idea with QR codes is to present an offer the customer can access by scanning it with a cellphone. It also provides a clear, attention-grabbing call to action that tells the consumer why it’s a good idea to scan the code for the best possible results.

In order to get the most out of QR codes, it’s best to combine them with custom URLs. These URLs are unique to each mail recipient (so the text or the QR code must be individualized on each mailpiece) and allow you to customize the experience each responder has when they come to your website to take the offer.

You should never assume that all your customers will follow through on your codes and custom URLs. Make sure your offers are easy to access for optimal returns.


Say it with Voice Activated Call to Action™

One of the newer methods of integrating technology into your direct mail is by using a Voice Activated Call to Action or VACTA.

With a VACTA, you send direct mail to potential customers with a promotional code that readers can act on verbally through any Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant smart speaker.

Because this technology allows consumers to access your offers immediately and directly, and without having to type, it can eliminate potential response barriers and increase engagement with your target market.


Augmented reality enables a next-level customer experience

Augmented reality might sound futuristic and complicated, but it’s not that far-fetched if you already have a mobile app. In fact, most augmented reality today is built on technology that’s already native to Android and Apple phones.

In short, augmented reality allows your customers to see what their lives would look like while using your product or service. For example, if you’re marketing paint stores, you could send pieces of direct mail that asks recipients to download your app. Your app would then allow customers to take a photo of a room in their home and experiment with different paint colors.

This technology helps your products come alive and allows customers to see the result of what you’re selling, encouraging them to follow through on any offers you’ve presented.

Once you have the augmented technology in place, it doesn’t take any extra effort on your part to direct customers to use it through direct mail, and it can be a valuable marketing tool.


Take advantage of variable data printing

Perhaps the most natural way to add technology to direct mail, and one that’s essential to some of the things we’ve discussed so far, is variable data printing (VDP).

You collect data on current and potential customers in a variety of ways, and marketing systems allow you to leverage that data to create highly individualized marketing. VDP is a printing technology that allows each mailpiece to be customized for each recipient. In other words, VDP is the technology that allows you to send personalized direct mail.

The variable data printing technology takes care of the manual work. Your print provider should have experts on staff who can help you design a template and the variables to customize it. All you need to do is supply a concept and the data, and your printer can handle the rest.

Customizable fields could include names, interests, locations, and even graphics, depending on what you’re hoping to accomplish. The more you personalize, the better response you can expect. Research shows that 55% of marketers end up with more engagement when they customize their direct mail offerings.


Break the fourth wall with audio or video

Have you ever received a birthday card that plays music when you open it? Integrating an audio message with your direct mail collateral is a surefire way to get the reader’s attention.

Additionally, since audio chips are rare in direct mail, each recipient is likely to share the mailing with other members of the household, or even guests, putting more eyes on your advertising.

You can even take your direct mail media further even further by sending video files.

The main challenge with adding video to mail is that you have to send a screen on which to view the files, and those used to be cost-prohibitive. However, the prices for this kind of premium mailer are coming down. If you want to get a potential customer’s attention and make each recipient feel special, sending a video screen via direct mail is a great way to make a premium impression.


Technology can take your direct mail to the next level

Direct mail, at its core, remains a simple concept: You send advertising straight to potential customers via USPS. At the same time, adding a touch of technology to your marketing will help you shake up a traditional channel and get better response.

Gunderson Direct can help you build a direct mail marketing campaign from start to finish. We have the strategic expertise to guide you through the right decisions, and we can show you how to create compelling letters that meet the industry’s ever-changing demands. Drop us a line for more information on how we can work with you throughout your marketing project.

Mike Gunderson is the founder of Gunderson Direct, Inc., a direct marketing agency that helps businesses drive new leads and close more sales through traditional offline channels, especially direct mail.