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Achieving Consumer Trust: Best to Use Print or Digital Campaigns?

For years, the “experts” said direct mail and, more broadly, print, was dead and email and digital mediums were here to stay. But here we are years later, and the experts have had to revise their predictions. Turns out, consumers largely enjoy receiving mail and companies receive a better response rate to printed campaigns than they do with digital. It’s more than just response rate too; according to a MarketingSherpa survey, the five most trusted channels were all traditional channels while the bottom eight channels were all digital. Trust is such a key factor in marketing, especially today where consumers are barraged with influencer advertising disguised as a helpful share, non-stop pop-up and in-page/in-app ads, that are not appropriately explaining who sent them.

So how do you determine where the best ROI is for you and your organization? It starts with building a foundation of trust and the best way to do that is to ensure you have consistent messaging utilizing a mix of both print and digital channels. 

The need for a mix of print and digital is simple; it takes multiple touches to create recognition for your brand, organization, or product and oftentimes one channel can be overlooked, especially if you are trying to exclusively use email. “The total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day exceeded 293 billion in 2019 and is forecast to grow to more than 347 billion by the end of 2023”, according to Lifewire. Standing out amongst all of that noise is incredibly difficult, but if you have already had a direct mail piece or two arrive in home, they are more likely to open the email and take action down the road.

We have found that one of the best ways to earn trust is by using real reviews from your customer base, when available. Authentic reviews encourage trust by having others who prospects can identify with speak for you. Often, those come in on social media channels, but did you know you can ask those reviewers if you can use them elsewhere like in a print campaign? Humanize them, try to use a photo, or link to an easy to access website or QR code with a reviewer-made video.

Beyond prospects, providing current customers with useful content that is frequent enough but not too frequent (we’re looking at you weekly “biggest sale ever” flyer) is another great way to keep the trust. Be sure they have asked for whatever you are sending (explicitly asked is best), be authentic and not gimmicky, and always be sure that your content passes the litmus test of real value.

How do you lose trust? For those who sell products, it can happen really quickly and it’s typically in one of two ways; first, a customer has a bad experience and they do not receive stellar customer service in return. Alternatively, if you only offer sales/coupons to people who just made a purchase, they will start to distrust your system and attempt to game it or take their shopping dollars elsewhere. No one wants that, so offer sales that have merit, attempt to price adjust when warranted, and overall be the best version of your organization’s culture outwardly. Trust is the name of the game these days, no matter how you build it, so get out there, hit those physical and digital mailboxes with a solid strategy and start earning trust.

How do you build trust? We’d love to hear your strategies! To get started, contact our team at Kirkwood Direct at (978) 642-0300.

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