This article originally appeared in the July/August, 2018 issue of Mailing Systems Technology.

Every day, I am surprised by the number of people who still don’t know that you can reach direct mail targets online using only a mailing address! We are all aware that printing and postage is definitely one of the more expensive ways to prospect and market, but at the same time, we also know how effective it is. For literally pennies more per name, you can reach that same targeted audience you are mailing to on Google as well as Facebook and Instagram. Both companies live or die based on their ability to reach their users, and they sell that reach to advertisers. They have become quite adept at improving their targeting methods, and (in my opinion), matching physical names and addresses to their user profiles is nothing short of miraculous!

Marketing is all about targeting the intended recipient and getting that message to them over and over again with as little waste as possible. Typically, a piece of mail is seen only one time as it comes out of the mailbox. With the latest marketing technologies and strategies, that same message can be repeated online with nothing more than the mailing list you used to process the mail. We have found that anywhere between 30-60% of Google and Facebook users have given an address or have allowed the platform to match their address to their profile through third-party data agreements. By creating a custom audience, they will match those address to user profiles. You can even take it up a few notches from there if you are lucky enough to have phone numbers or email addresses for those individuals. When that is the case, the matched percentage to user profiles goes up dramatically — close to 75-90% with either one of those two pieces of information! No, they won’t tell you which ones (or who, or, for that matter, even how many names were matched), but they will tell you how many impressions or unique profiles have viewed those ads matched to your mailing list. That is where the magic lies. Many of those individuals will see those digital ads two, three, or maybe even a dozen times, cementing that message sent to their mailbox.

The Future of Marketing

Anyone doing direct mail should be offering these services to their clients. As you would expect, we are seeing quite a dramatic lift in engagement and conversion with this increase in exposure. The added cost is about five to 10%, but the added lift in terms of ROI or engagement is closer to 30%. In fact, a recent report by marketing agency Merkle reported a 118% lift in ROI when using one or more digital channels as opposed to using direct mail alone. In terms of expenditure, it’s almost one of those things you have to do to ensure your clients will come back for repeat mailings. I believe these stats will only continue to improve for a couple reasons: first, far from being a saturated ad market, not everyone is doing it, and secondly, the ad platforms will improve their ability to match their user profiles to physical addresses, thus reaching a higher percentage of your mailing list.

Brad Kugler is CEO, DirectMail2.0. Visit for more information.