5 Reasons to Send Direct Mail Samples


By John Tan

With the increased popularity of online shopping during the pandemic, companies that had relied on in-store product sampling to generate sales looked for new ways to bring the in-store sampling experience to consumers’ homes. Direct mail samples were the answer for many companies.

E-commerce sampling

5 benefits of direct mail samples:

1 | Reach consumers at home

The retail shutdowns during the pandemic, caused consumer shopping behavior to shift. Home delivery and curbside pickup, gained popularity, and have remained popular alternatives even as pandemic restrictions have eased.

Post pandemic safety protocols have changed the nature of in-store sampling campaigns. Waiting for shoppers to discover products while wandering down store aisles is no longer the norm. Many companies have turned to E-commerce sampling to give consumers the sampling experience from the comfort of their own homes.

2 | Reduce Purchasing Pressure

Like traditional sample marketing, one of the main benefits of direct mail samples is that it reduces purchasing pressure for consumers. In fact, 73% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after sampling it.

Once consumers have sampled a product, and discover they like it, the decision to purchase becomes easier. A 2008 study by Arbitron revealed that 35% of consumers who try a sample will buy the product that same day and 58% of them will plan on buying the product in the future.

in-store sampling campaigns

3 | Target Consumers with Precision

Targeting has become increasingly granular over the past several years. Gone are the days of sending direct mail using the spray and pray method.

In fact, today’s ad tech allows you to create data lists of prospects based on location behavior, like a list of targets who visit your competitor’s store, or based on purchasing intent, like a list of targets searching for a product similar to yours online. 

You can also purchase a list of targets that match your ideal customer profile, create a lookalike list based on your own mailing list, or track and append data to anonymous visitors on your website to create a list. Sending samples to anonymous web visitors, can convert consumers that have shown interest in your product that would otherwise not have been reached.

Direct mail can also be scheduled to send automatically based on online consumer behavior, such as abandoned cart, navigating to certain pages on your site, or digital ad campaign clickthroughs. A direct mailer shows up within days of an online interaction bringing the personalization home to the consumer.

With all these targeting solutions, sending direct mail has become an affordable and even more effective way to reach specific audiences. As well as a great way to reach customers with an offer to try a product before purchasing.

Direct Mail triggered by online activity.

4 | Build Brand Loyalty and Upsell

Direct mail samples don’t just have to be delivered to new prospects. Providing existing customers with samples of your product is a great way to build brand loyalty.

It’s also an effective way to upsell to your customers. According to Arbitron, 85% of existing customers that receive a product sample will plan to buy the sampled product again.

If you are launching a new product or introducing another product in your line, a direct mail sample is a great way to reach consumers, ask for feedback, and provide an incentive offer to purchase the product.

Tracked Direct Mail

5 | Create an omni-channel experience

Direct mail samples work best when they’re part of an omni-channel campaign. Combining all of your efforts and messaging into a single, coordinated campaign provides you with multiple opportunities to reach your audience.

For example, when you send a direct mail campaign, you can reach the same households with digital ads and promotional emails that will increase traffic to your website. However, a large percentage of clicks to your website will not convert.

A tracking pixel, like the one we use for our Omni Mail service, can identify those anonymous web visitors that didn’t make a purchase. Allowing you to reach them by sending a product sample directly to their homes, while serving digital ads with an offer to purchase.

Omni-channel online shopping.

Consumer Shopping Post Pandemic

With 11,157 brick-and-mortar stores closing in 2020 according to Costar Group, retailers have had to adapt their marketing strategies for online shoppers. Many retailers have adopted a more omni-channel approach to reaching online shoppers and have found innovative ways to deliver product samples to consumers.

How have you adapted your marketing strategies during this time? 

I’d love to hear about your experience with reaching target audiences, you can schedule some time with me for a one-on-one discussion.


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