Myths about direct mail marketing: Debunked

Direct Mail is and will always be a timeless and long-lasting marketing tool, yet, in our digital era, many have started to doubt its effectiveness. Why? Because most digital forms of marketing are all we have ever been exposed to. Take into consideration, for example, that some consumers are receiving an average of 100 emails daily and the overutilisation of the channel becomes clear. On the other hand, Paperplanes’ mission is to combine the tangible with the digital, providing marketers with an opportunity to create content that stands out among all the emails consumers constantly receive and disregard. However, marketers can still forget about the power of tangible media and fall prey to misconceptions and myths about its ineffectiveness. 

Here are some myths we have encountered about direct mail marketing.


Myth: No one opens direct mail anymore

Fact: People love tangible mail because it engages all their five senses in the process of assimilation, makes them feel included, and is memorable compared to the standard mail. 90% of postal marketing is opened by the customers, compared to only 20% of digital mail. Thus why direct mail campaigns’ response rates are as high as 4.4% when delivered through standard mail and 25% for Paperplanes enhanced automation, compared to just 0.12% of online campaigns*. 



Myth: Direct mail is not sustainable 

Fact: Our idea of environmentally sustainable postal marketing stands on three pillars – 1) partnering with production partners with high environmental standards, 2) the ‘less is more' approach, and 3) data-driven efficiency. All of our print partners respect and hold certifications for high standards of sustainable production and manufacture. 'Less is more' means that customers do not need to be spammed with impersonal or irrelevant content. Data-driven marketing targets recipients who are actively showing interest in products at the right time and only follows up with them once to avoid any frustration or fatigue with the channel. 

Check out our blog for more information about how our programmatic direct mail marketing strategy is sustainable:



Myth: Direct mail lacks impact

Fact: Each piece of postal marketing is carefully curated and designed to give a visually impressive and interactive experience to customers. After all, subconsciously, we all crave something personalised and relevant to us, with the emotional effect playing an important role in direct mail's impact. As discovered by the UK Royal Mail, 60% of the recipients of direct mail said this effect made a more lasting mental impression on them, making it easier to recall later on, while 57% said that it makes them feel more valued and creates a more authentic relationship.



Final thoughts 

One's job, as a marketer, is to optimise resources for obtaining outstanding results, so make sure you are not dismissing the traditional options based on misconceptions. It would be a pity to disregard the massive potential of programmatic direct mail based on a lack of knowledge. ‘In a sea of information, look out for the facts' and drop us an email to find out a little more.





4 Reasons to Fall in Love with Direct Mail Marketing

4 Reasons to Fall in Love with Direct Mail Marketing

The digital era has amplified opportunities for marketers to reach consumers in real-time and with increasing personalisation, but with people receiving an average of 10,000 marketing messages daily*, it has also become increasingly difficult to stand out. The challenge is formulating a message that will cut through the noise and be recognised by your consumer but considering the saturation of the digital channel how do you achieve this goal? Following the crowd and investing most of your marketing budget into digital, will most likely not maximise the returns. So why not zig when everyone zags and consider more traditional forms of direct marketing such as direct mail?

Direct mail has many unique advantages that other marketing channels do not have. The opportunity to engage senses, especially the power of touch triggers an emotional reaction and a much higher engagement and recall rate than digital. Furthermore, Paperplanes takes a data-driven approach to mail, making use of the science behind it, tailoring the copy and creative to audience segments and analysing results along the way for consistent campaign optimisation. We can’t help falling in love with this new way of approaching direct mail and here are four other attractive traits which we think will make you head over heels.

Mail has a Higher Recall Rate

According to neuroscience research which measures the response of the subconscious brain to messages, direct mail activates areas of the brain responsible for long-term memory. This is crucial to marketers as messages which are stored for longer than one minute can influence purchase intent and inspire action. According to The Joint Industry Committee for Mail, 31% of all addressed marketing mail results in a commercial action. Furthermore, IPA Touchpoints reported that as a result of receiving mail, 37% of people bought or ordered something in the past 12 months.

This shows how direct mail, when incorporated into your marketing efforts can help increase brand recall and recognition, consequently, encouraging consumers to finalise purchase or further engage with the brand, leading to conversions and a high ROI. Compared to email, mail can trigger a 49% higher recall rate and 35% higher than social media advertising *.

The Five Senses

While most marketing techniques only engage the consumer’s sight, mail provides an immersive experience by engaging all of your senses but especially the sense of touch. This not only helps increase recall rates as mentioned before but grasps consumers undivided attention. The physical appeal of mail together with personalised messages, makes the consumer feel appreciated and valued while respecting their inbox space. Recent research by the Royal Mail on measuring mail’s effectiveness through neuroscience, claims that people are likely to give mail their 65% full attention compared to 35% for email marketing. Furthermore, 70% of people said that receiving mail gives them a better impression of the company.

Making consumer’s feel valued and recognised is key to re-marketing. The combination of physical media with personalisation can do exactly that. When working with Smartphoto, (pioneers of digitalised photos and personalised gift), we were able to outline firsthand that personalisation makes or breaks a campaign. Mail featuring the products and categories consumer’s had previously engaged with whilst browsing the website, generated a 350% uplift in conversion compared to a standard generic creative.

See more case studies here

Age is Just a Number

As an older form of marketing, mail is also traditionally associated with an older demographic, limiting perceived reach or effectiveness for targeting younger generations. However, this is just a myth as mail can make a lasting impression regardless of the age. Further research from Royal Mail showed that brain responses to mail for those over and under 35 had higher encoding and engagement responses than for social media advertising. The Life Stages of Mail study, also outlined that young adults living in shared accommodations were 75% more likely to buy or order something as a result of mail.

Effectively targeting millennials poses an ongoing challenge to marketers, and despite engagement on mobile and app-based technologies being high, this should not stop you from considering other options such as the post box. Millennials actually value real interactions with brands and as stated by Gallup, not only do 36% of people under 30 claim to look forward to reading their mail but 95% of 18 to 29-year-olds have a positive reaction to personalised mail*.

International cosmetics brand, Benefit, sees millennials as a key target demographic and saw a 60% uplift on featured products when working with us.

4 reasons to fall in love with direct mail marketing

A Match Made in Heaven

Direct mail can be easily incorporated as part of your current digital marketing mix. When adding direct mail to their already advanced social media strategies, OTTY noted that browsers were 30% more likely to return to site after receiving mail. Integration and a multi-channel approach is key to a strong and steady marketing strategy. According to Royal Mail research, the time spent looking at social ads increased from an average of 3.3 seconds for those who had not seen mail to 4.3 seconds for people who had previously seen mail, spending 30% longer.

When planning out your marketing budget if you consider investing in direct mail together with your current digital efforts, it can significantly leverage engagement, conversions and response rate. By incorporating mail prior to online display, email and social media advertising, the consumer stands more chance of having your brand already encoded in their memory and will pay more attention to all forms of marketing, increasing intent of purchase and the engagement in consumption actions.

Final Thoughts

Although direct mail is an underrated channel by many marketers there are plenty of reasons to fall back in love with the channel. The four reasons outlined will hopefully make you reconsider it as an effective, memorable and non-intrusive marketing mechanic that can cut through the noise and get your brand noticed in a digitally-dominant world. Paired with your current marketing strategy, you’re guaranteed results. Contact us for a free demo or just to chat here.

*How To Cut Through The Noise And Connect With Customers, American Marketing Association, 2018.

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BIGDUG: 50% uplift in conversion rate thanks to extra personalisation

When adding extra elements of personalisation in the mailings, BIGDUG saw a 30-75% sales performance uplift.

The Context

BiGDUG offers everything from Shelving and Racking, to Workplace Products and Packing. They’re also known for offering the best quality storage and shelving products at the most competitive price with impeccable customer service. BiGDUG had already partnered with Paperplanes achieving good results by sending automated programmatic mail. They were interested to see if adding extra elements of personalisation to mail could help them achieve an increase in customer engagement online and in conversion rates.

The Action

BiGDUG, PSE and Paperplanes managed to implement personalisation using a machine learning algorithm. This was able to identify customers who had been browsing products on Big Dug’s website but hadn’t gone through with the purchase, and then make personalised recommendations.

The A/B test that was conducted compared non- personalised versus personalised mail results and was a pivotal point of the campaign, as it underlined the impact that personalisation can have on conversion rates.

The Results

The insights were impressive and confirmed the importance of personalisation.

  • A 20% increase website traffic was registered as a result of added personalisation in A4 mailings
  • 30-75% improved sales performance when personalisation was added

Even businesses’ performance increased as a result of personalisation

  • The abandoned basket campaign that included personalisation registered a 10.3% conversion rate against the already strong 7% of the non-personalised


“Having already had a successful partnership with Paperplanes in place, we wanted to explore how adding extra personalisation to the mailings could help us achieve higher engagement and conversion rates.
The A/B test conducted made us understand how personalisation could make a difference and we saw some impressive results. No one would have expected an almost 50% uplift in conversion rate after the success of the first campaign, which was quite frankly astonishing.
Furthermore, thanks to the extra personalisation added in the mail we were able to register a 20% increase in website traffic.

As we sell to both B2B and B2C customers, we were really interested to see how Paperplanes were able to adapt our mail to suit both customer bases and their requirements and provide accurate and insightful reporting for both of these customer types.”

Head of Marketing, BiGDUG

No one would have expected an almost 50% uplift in conversion rate after the success of the first campaign, which was quite frankly astonishing.

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LoveYourself: £18 to £1 Return on Investment

With the Help of Programmatic Direct Mail, LoveYourself saw a £18 to £1 Return on Investment

The Context

LoveYourself is one of the leading food subscription businesses which provides prepared healthy meals ready to eat.
The idea behind the brand is to take the hassles out of dieting, combining well rounded nutrition and diverse flavours.

Loveyourself was interested to see if the addition of direct mail to their marketing strategy could help them achieve long-term engagement, higher retention rates and greater levels of spend.

The Action

Paperplanes partnered with LoveYourself to work towards two strategies, firstly identifying customers who abandoned their baskets and secondly identifying customers who after an initial purchase did not come back for at least 8 months.
The machine learning alghorythm is able to identify these segments and to automatically trigger relevant and personalised mail directly to the customer’s address.

The creatives were tailored for each strategy with high levels of personalisation in both to drive customers back to the website.

The Results

The results were outstanding with a £18 to £1 ROAS (Return on Adv Spend) for the abandoned basket campaign and returns as high as ten times the marketing spend for the reactivation campaign.
Conversion rates for the abandoned basket were at 9.1% vs 0% of control with an average basket value of £182
The lapsers’ conversion rates reached a peak of 4.6% for those who haven’t been back for 8 months
Out of the total mailed universe for basket, 25% went onto make more than one follow on purchase (vs 0% in the control)


We were interested to see if a partnership with Paperplanes could help us increase conversion rates for those customers who abandoned their basket before check out and re-engage our lapsing customers.
Paperplanes were able to achieve a £18 to £1 ROAS for the abandoned basket strategy and a conversion rate of 9.1%; as well as valuable insights into spending patterns of different lapsed segments.
It is astonishing how in this digital era, physical mail is still able to bring great results, and remain an integral part of the overall strategy.

Sales Marketing Manager, LoveYourself

It is astonishing how in this digital era, physical mail is still able to bring great results, and remain an integral part of the overall strategy.

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Can Direct Mail be environmentally sustainable?

Direct Mail and sustainability

Direct mail has had had a reputation for being one of the least sustainable marketing channels. This wasn’t helped by the fact the channel has been used to reach high volumes of customers mostly for prospecting and acquisition. As a result, you can understand why a significant number of mail produced might not have even been opened and ended up in the bin, especially if whoever received it wasn’t interested in what it contained. An incredible amount of paper can be wasted if the intended audience deems marketing they receive as irrelevant. Add to this the fact that there has always been scrutiny around the carbon emissions generated when delivering mail leading many to believe that digital marketing is far more sustainable.


However today, things have changed regarding the approach to direct mail and if implemented and integrated properly into a marketing strategy it can be used efficiently to aid your strategy in an environmentally conscious fashion. This could be by cutting through the clutter of the infinite amount of promotional content that consumers face on social media feeds and emails, and more importantly, now marketers don’t have to choose between the effectiveness of direct mail and their commitment to sustainability. Thanks to our technology and expertise, Paperplanes can provide a more sustainable approach to multi-channel marketing, avoiding any waste through a meticulous process of targeting and personalisation.


Partners with high environmental standards

The first step in making direct mail sustainable is to find production partners that have high environmental standards in mind. Certifications such as ISO 14001 and the ability to gain FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approval for materials provides confidence that sustainability is a key focus. Print production partners should have those accreditations in place and we are always looking for new innovations to limit the impact on the environment.


 Customers should not be spammed

We always tell our clients that the key to high conversion rates and Return on Investment is not reaching the highest number of people, but to reach the right people at the right time. Furthermore, it is crucial to include elements of personalisation in the mailings. That way the customer feels that the company sending mail has put in a lot of time and effort into sending something the recipient cares about. This all results in less waste, decreased cost on postage and limited impact on the resources.


For example, if an individual who has not engaged with a company before receives a piece of mail, it is less likely that a commercial action will be taken from it. In most cases the mail will not be even opened as the customer does not have any connection to it. On the other hand Paperplanes technology targets the customers who have been browsing and buying on the company’s website, or that have been in contact with the website in the past and send personalised and relevant mail creating incentive to come back to the website. Carefully monitoring results on an ongoing basis then allow us to optimise and refine targeting even further, boosting conversions and pinpointing exactly how sending mail will drive the desired action.


Data drives efficiency

The last piece of the puzzle is to ensure data is used to identify the right recipients and ensure there isn’t too many communications reaching those people on a regular basis and removing any who do not want to receive in the future. Technology can be established to manage the number of contacts for any one individual and if customers do wish to no longer receive any post in the future they can be removed from mailing universes. Data shouldn’t just trigger a sales opportunity, it should be used to limit the amount of content sent in the post.


Final Thoughts

The direct mail channel can be the perfect ally for your digital marketing strategy and for the planet, but only if implemented in a sustainable way. At Paperplanes we believe that “Sending less is more” and through only targeting the right audience and reaching them at the right time can we ultimately generate a sustainable outcome and at the same time help you achieve great results. Through doing this we can ensure that mail will only boost anything achieved by initiating a digital strategy alone. The data speaks for itself, Paperplanes average conversion rate for our marketing automations register at 12% against the average email conversion rate that fluctuated between 1-3%.

Woolroom utilisation of abandon basket Direct Mail generates strong Return on Investment


Woolroom is an environmentally friendly, UK based business which offers high quality wool products for bedding, homeware and more. Their mission is to re-educate customers on the numerous benefits of wool, and expanding their online market to make their sustainable products available to everyone.

The company teamed up with Paperplanes to see if personalised direct mail could increase sales and drive more purchases.


Woolroom partnered with Paperplanes to identify customers who abandoned their basket before completing the purchase and encourage existing ones to make new purchases. To do so, customer online activity was monitored to gain insights on their behaviour.

Targeted customers were presented with relevant, personalised, physical media with their abandoned or recommended products, and extra incentives to visit the site, which were A/B tested to refine the strategy.


  • 8.1% recovery rate of recently abandoned baskets
  • Customers are twice as likely to return to Woolroom after mailing
  • Mailed customers visit twice as many pages and stay 3 times longer than their non–mail counterparts.
  • Repeat purchase propensity: 10% of abandon customers making more than one purchase since mailing
  • More customers come direct to site as a result of Paperplanes DM.

A brief history of Direct Mail


Direct Mail has become one of the most powerful marketing channels, providing high conversion rates along with an impressive Return on Investment. However, it is crucial for it to be effectively integrated into a digital marketing strategy to deliver the best possible results. It is surprising how, in the digital era we are living in, one of the oldest (if not the oldest) channels is still able to deliver such astonishing results. In order to understand the reasons behind this we have to dig through the history of Direct Mail and how this channel has managed to evolve to become what it is today.


The first example of Direct Mail Marketing can be located around 1000 B.C., when an Egyptian landowner wrote an advertisement on a piece of papyrus offering a gold reward in return for a runaway slave. Today, this is displayed at the British Museum. Other ancient cultures experimented with Direct Mail, such as the Babylonians, who used stone tablets to advertise their products when visiting other towns.

However, it was only after the invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg that Direct Mail was able to spread across Europe. And after 1480 with William Caxton, with his printing press set up in Westminster Abbey, the channel became available to more and more people.

Nonetheless, many historians consider the official birth of Direct Mail Marketing to be in 1872 when Montgomery Ward launched his mail business with a one-page catalogue. Richard Warren Sears followed soon after in the 1880s, when he started mailing flyers to small and rural towns to advertise watches. The actions of these two men revolutionised the purchase of goods, allowing consumers far from the big cities to shop products at a cheaper price, having reduced the power of local shop owners who were able to charge very high markups.

The two pioneers had great success, Ward reached $1 million annual sales in 1888 and Sears’ 1896 Catalogue consisting of more than 500 pages was present in 300 000 homes.

After 1970 colours played a key role in the design of advertisements, allowing marketers to appeal to the emotion of the audience. Furthermore, the change in lifestyles was a crucial ingredient for the growth of the channel. With increased focus on work meaning consumers had less free time to go shopping in the daytime it made more sense to reach consumers at home, allowing them to peruse and mail order in their own free time.

Direct Mail's role in the Marketing industry gained even more importance in the second half of the 1900s, with some key products that were successfully advertised mainly through mail marketing, such as store loyalty card programmes, computers and credit cards. Although Direct Mail Marketing had established itself as a very successful channel, after 1990, with the mass adoption of computers and the Internet, email and digital marketing were on top of every marketer’s mind and direct mail seemed to have exhausted its power. In the first years digital marketing was able to deliver stunning results, with record-breaking Return on Investment and conversion rates. However, after a few years email inboxes and website pages became overcrowded with non-personalised ads and the magical effect started to vanish.

After the 2010s marketers started to realise that the direct mail and the digital marketing channels could only work well if integrated properly in a strategy.


Personalised Direct mail could be used to cut through the noise of the digital ads, reaching customers at home, where they felt safe and valued by the company that took such a great effort to be there at the right time and with a personalised piece of mail. Here at Paperplanes we have taken the evolution of direct mail one step further through successfully combining the interactions and behaviour created on your website with something meaningful and physical in post to drive an action. There is plenty more life in the old dog yet.


It is surprising to see how the Direct Mail channel survived 3000 years of history and still be able to deliver amazing results. But, to expect great return on investment and conversion rates, it is essential to integrate this channel within a digital marketing strategy.

At Paperplanes, we manage to do this, thanks to our machine learning algorithm, which can easily be implemented on your company’s website. This is able to track customers who browse your products but don’t go through with the purchase and automatically trigger a personalised piece of programmatic mail directly to their doorstep.

Do you want to learn more about how we do this? Contact us for a free demo here (Click Here)

The importance of the outer envelope  in direct mail marketing

When designing a direct mail strategy, you’ll probably find yourself focusing mainly on the content of the letter as opposed to the envelope, seeing the latter simply as a ‘vessel’ to deliver your important message.

Yet, although it may seem surprising, the outer envelope is just as important as the message inside it.

At Paperplanes we make sure to take care of every component of the mail we send, including the often forgotten outer envelope.

Here’s why.


1. The envelope is the headline of your direct mail

The envelope is to direct mail what a subject line  is to an email: it is the first thing the customers will see, and it has the important role of catching their attention and leading them to engage with the content inside it. It can make or break the chance of the letter being opened.


The importance of catching the customer’s attention is summarised by the 3:33 rule, a time proven formula that explains that the letter has:

3 seconds to catch the reader’s attention among the rest of the mail

• 30 seconds to interest the reader enough to get the envelope opened

• 3 minutes for the content of the mail to be read

The rule shows how time is a crucial element that plays a role in your customer’s experience with mail. Because the time to get their attention is limited, the outer envelope impact has to be immediate, clear, and engaging.


2. Personalisation increases brand awareness 

Studies reveal that 60% of people prefer purchasing from brands they are familiar with. Direct mail marketing is a very powerful, cost-effective way to improve customers’ familiarity with who you are, and the envelope is where it starts.

An envelope personalised to include the brand’s name means that the customer will receive a piece of mail which will most likely lie around their house for some time, and remind them of you every time they look at it, whether intentionally or not.

This builds a relationship between the customer and your brand, which will result in better conversion rates, and increase the probability they will come back for more purchases.

Envelope for NBA direct mail campaign


So...Why Paperplanes?

A lot of marketers underestimate the importance of the outer envelope, instead opting to send blank, non-branded envelopes on the basis that it will encourage the customer to open if they don’t know what it is. These are the kinds of letters that end up in the trash before even being opened. And if envelopes are not opened, all the efforts put into their content inside them goes to waste.

At Paperplanes, instead, we know the added value of personalisation, and use innovative envelope designs for all of our direct mail campaigns. And the effects on costumeThe effects this can have on customer behaviour is evident: our engagement rates and conversions are higher than industry average (23% return to website and 12% conversion across 2020)

Here’s how we do it:

  • We grant total flexibility on envelope designs. Differently from most printing services, we have no limitation to ink coverage or minimum volume expectations; so your campaign can be built around customer behaviour.
  • Maximum personalisation. We can personalise allcontent on envelopes based on the specific customer, from their name to actual products and categories we know they are interested in thanks to our data.
  • We prioritise the recognition of your brand: colours, fonts and text are personalised to remind the costumer of you.
  • We conduct A/B tests to verify the effect of different designs on conversion rates, and refine our strategy accordingly.Envelope for SIMBA direct mail campaign


Final thoughts

Personalising the outer envelope creates great opportunities for a Direct Marketing campaign and increases the likelihood of customer conversion, and brand awareness. Don’t miss out on these opportunities, contact Paperplanes to take your digital marketing strategy to the next level through integrating post.





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How Direct Mail was affected by the pandemic

How the Covid-19 pandemic affected Direct Mail

The pandemic has changed almost everything: businesses had to rethink and rebuild their marketing strategies to survive. The rules of engagement have changed dramatically in a very short time, and our reliance on digital transformation increased overnight as most countries went into lockdown.
The challenge for businesses has become how can we stand out considering the infinite number of digital advertisements every consumer received in a post-covid world?
So how can marketers achieve good results when facing such an intense competition for awareness on digital channels? The answer was simple: going back to physical. And what is more physical than a piece of mail delivered to the customer’s doorstep?
The integration of the Direct Mail channel into an online marketing strategy has allowed many businesses to achieve results that were unthinkable through just using a digital strategy. The average response rate for direct mail during 2020 has been 4.9%, and this is the highest score since 2003!*(1)
And the thing that surprises the most is that it all happened during a pandemic.
So, why should you consider Direct Mail as a marketing channel in a post-pandemic world?

The importance of Home

Everyone was forced to stay at home in the past year and, as a result, the value of what we receive in our mailbox has increased significantly.
Whilst the number of messages, ads and emails people receive on their devices can feel intrusive, impersonalised, and can sometimes lead to fatigue, physical mail is often welcomed in our home with a positive reaction.
The thought of someone investing effort, time, and money to deliver mail to our door, makes us more likely to open and read mail giving the channel far more attention compared to digital alternatives.
Research shows that at the end of 2020 mail engagement was higher than ever at 96%.*(2)
Furthermore, 40% of people agree or strongly agree that moving into lockdown made them realise how important mail was for them.*(2)
These numbers are confirmed by many Paperplanes’ campaigns that have been live throughout the pandemic. To give an example, Paperplanes and Iclothing partnered to see if programmatic and personalised direct mail could help them recover abandoned baskets. The results were impressive: 14% of mailed customer baskets were recovered, with a 50% sales uplift resulting from the mailing.

Workspaces and Lifestyles changes

Mail is proving to be a very effective channel, as working, and living styles have changed, we are now spending more time at home than ever.
This trend doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon; homeworking has shown its benefits and many companies are planning to reduce the number of hours spent in the office. According to McKinsey, 20 to 25 percent of the workforces in advanced countries could work from home between 3 and 5 days a week.*(3)
This shows that even after Covid, Direct mail will still be effective as people will continue to spend a considerable amount of time at home.
Being at home for such a considerable amount of time has convinced many people to pursue new hobbies such as gardening., an online garden centre, benefitted from this situation and thanks to Paperplanes’ support in their abandoned basket strategy managed to hit a 17% conversion rate for mailed customers, which was much higher than any other form of re-targeting strategy deployed by them.

Success Key Factors

One of the factors that has made direct mail one of the most effective marketing channels is that receiving it provides a multi-sensory response, engaging touch and vision and in some cases also sound and taste.*(4) Another element that allowed this channel to be so successful has been the possibility to integrate personalisation. When working with BigDug, a company specialised in storage products, Paperplanes managed to trigger automated and personalised DM to customers who had been browsing BigDug’s website but had not completed the purchase (thanks to our machine learning algorithm). The results were outstanding compared to the control group who did not include personalisation in the mailings: an almost 50% uplift in conversion rate was registered as a result of the abandoned basket campaign.

In these difficult times, when companies struggle to remain profitable, it is crucial to build a marketing strategy that can bring great Return on Investment (ROI); in fact, Direct Mail has proven to provide a higher return compared to other channels.*(5) To give an example, when working with Paperplanes, LoveYourself, one of the leading food subscription businesses, managed to achieve a £18 to £1 ROI for the abandoned basket campaign and returns as high as ten times the marketing spend for the reactivation campaign.

Mail is considered to be the optimal channel to utilise when trying to communicate something important. For example, during the pandemic 72% of people felt that mail was the right choice for the Government to communicate with citizens. And 63% thought it showed they were taking Covid-19 seriously.*(2)
Further research tells us that, when received, a piece of mail is difficult to forget, indeed, 80% remember receiving a government mailing and 58% recall the “Boris Letter”.*(2)

Final Thoughts

We have seen the impact that Direct Mail can have on increasing conversion rates and customer engagement as well as website traffic which became even more important during a pandemic. However for a campaign to be truly successful it needs to be integrated with the rest of the marketing strategy. Moreover, the real strength of this channel is in the way it allows you personalise and reach your customers directly into their homes. And in order to get the best results, you need to be able to target the right customers and appeal to them at the right time. Want to know how to do this in the right way? Contact us for a for a free demo or just to chat here 

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How to Integrate Direct Mail into your Customer’s Journey

How to Effectively Integrate Direct Mail into your Customer Journey

Direct mail marketing is increasingly becoming recognised by marketers as an integral component to a well-rounded marketing strategy. A recent study showed that 84% of marketers believed direct mail improves multichannel campaign performance which outlines the effectiveness. Further to this, direct mail can influence purchase intent, it is a trusted channel with 56% of people believing it to be the most trustworthy form of marketing*, also boasting a 35% higher recall rate than digital* and increasing site traffic; with Paperplanes seeing in 2021 a 23% average return rate to the website after mailing.

Direct mail is clearly an effective marketing tool that goes beyond just a top of the funnel strategy with many brands utilising it to improve customer experience at multiple stages of the conversion funnel. While a customer’s journey will vary dependant on the business, the common goal is to drive customers towards conversion. With that in mind, this blog post will show you how to integrate direct mail marketing into each stage of your customer’s journey.

The Awareness Stage

This stage is where prospects are aware they need a product or service in their lives and decide to take action to fulfil this need. They may have heard of your brand but not know much about it or how to proceed, or, your company may be unknown to them. Either way, your objective at this stage is to build awareness of your brand or service.

One reason why direct mail is successful in getting your business name out there is it’s ability to stand out. Postal marketing is not an intrusive channel demanding immediate attention in the same way some forms of digital marketing can be. Consequently, when you’re trying to stand out from the crowd, direct mail can help you achieve just that.

Tips for sending mail in the awareness stage:

1) Drive prospects to your website

You want to push prospects to the next stage of the buyer’s journey, the consideration stage, so driving people to your website is key to this process. Adding a QR code, special offer or a personalised URL might be an easy way to incentivise people to do that; however, ensuring some sort of personalised, physical prompt that lands with customers to trigger a visit is more important. Research shows that an average of 64% of people visit a website as a result of receiving mail and 47% visit a physical store.

When working with Gousto, a supplier of recipe boxes with ready-measured, fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes, the use of QR codes taking customers directly to the website or App was found to be engaged with more than the creative with a discount variant. Sending mail versus not sending mail was by far the most important factor in driving follow up visits.

2) Copy is key: Don’t Be Too Pushy

To avoid scaring prospects away, you want to stick to just providing consumers with the basics: what you have to offer, who you are and what makes you special. Remember to also include a call to action (CTA) such as “find out more” so that they can move on to the next stage of the journey.

3) Don’t bombard customers

Paperplanes limits sends to one in every 30 days but we land right at the time to inform a sales decision. Don’t spam customers but message them at the right time that will help inform a sale (browsing products, basket, and encouraging a second purchase).

The Consideration Stage

In this stage, prospects have identified their problem and are learning about potential solutions. In order for buyers to consider you as a solution, you need to position yourself as the best answer to their issue by showing that you understand their unique situation.

Tips for sending mail in the consideration stage:

1) Make it Personal

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of personalisation in marketing and in the consideration stage it is particularly important to make consumers feel special and appreciated, showing that you’re thankful for their interest in your business. Research from the Journal of Brain Research, has shown your brain’s activity spikes when you hear your name, so it is important to include it in your Paperplanes mail campaigns. On that basis, think how much more effective marketing can be by applying more advanced methods such as featuring customer’s online activity: abandoned baskets, previously viewed pages and recommendations, personalisation is a must if you want consumers to move to the next stage and consider your brand as a solution to their problem.

A Premium Online furnishing brand who partnered with Paperplanes, benefited extremely well from relevant products being featured in the mailing. There was a 33.3% mailed conversion (vs 11%) when featuring key added value items such as duvets and bath towels.

2) Assume prospects don’t know anything about you

This is where you need to inform prospects with relevant and specific information about how you can help them with their problem. For example, if a consumer’s problem is that they’re looking for ethically-sourced coffee, tell them why they should choose your brand. Paperplanes introduced variable product recommendations based on what customers had browsed before dropping out of the subscription or buying process whilst working with PACT Coffee. The campaign brought 40% more customers back to PACT as a result.

The Decision Stage

This is when buyers are well-equipped with relevant information to decide the best solution for their problem based on price, quality, trust and style. At this point, you can’t fall behind the competition so you have to position yourself as the superior option. Eliminate any doubt consumers may have about choosing you by showing that their needs will be met and even exceeded.

Tips for sending mail in the decision stage:

1) Include Social Proof

Include icons, logos, awards, certification, and especially reviews- 56% of consumers read at least four reviews before buying a product. This is the time to establish yourself as trustworthy and credible. You can also include a QR code that takes customers to your online reviews with research showing that product pages with customer reviews experience 3.5 times more conversions than those without.

When working with OTTY, the creative variant with trust pilot reviews outperformed the variant containing a discount offer, showing that an incentive is not always required.

2) Pitch your Best Offer

If incentives are to be provided, start with a strong offer that cannot be found elsewhere on the web or on the site to entice the customer back. Include exclusive promotions, coupons and limited-time offers, anything to make your business as appalling as possible. Even better, personalise your offers according to consumers’ online activity.

For example, Paperplanes featured customer’s browsed products from award-winning online drinks retailer, 31Dover, on the creative and offered free delivery on the selected items, obtaining a 14% conversion rate.

After the Decision Stage

Remember retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones so you want to make sure you have a customer retention strategy in place. Rewarding loyalty will mean customers choose you the next time they are in the market.

Tips for sending mail in the post-decision stage:

1) Say Thank You

Showing customers that you are thankful for them is a great way to encourage them to come back for a second purchase and to think of your brand the next time they need a related service or product. It might be important to wait some time once they’ve made the first purchase as they have just solved their problem, however, A/B testing on cadence will allow you to validate this. You want to target them when they’re likely to have this problem again and as a reminder that your brand is here to help.

When working with us, ButterflyTwists, Paperplanes sent out a thank you campaign with a special offer. 11.3% of Thank You customers made a second purchase and mailed bounce rates were 4 times less than non-mail counterparts.

2) Make Them Feel Remembered

You don’t want customers to feel like they are just a number, people like to feel special so it is important to show the human side of your business here.

One way to do this is to send a birthday campaign. Scandanavian male grooming company, worked with Paperplanes to identify birthdays from previous customers and offered them special discounts to encourage incremental purchase and honour their loyalty.

To Conclude

No matter where your prospect is in their buyer’s journey, Paperplanes can help you effectively and successfully target them by connecting with customers in ways that other channels can’t. Responsive direct mail benefits from its unique and physical appeal and provides an additional channel to digital for you to reach consumers in a non-intrusive manner. People appreciate mail with 70% of people thinking better of companies that send it.

Want to know more about how to personalise direct mail campaigns to increase your chance of getting prospects to move from the consideration to the decision stage? See our free guide to personalisation and direct mail marketing:

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