Print ads in newspapers or magazines, billboards, posters, brochures, and direct mail serve various goals, including boosting brand awareness through logo and message repetition, promoting products or services by showcasing features and benefits, and disseminating information like event details or special offers.

But, for companies seeking to increase sales, signups, or phone inquiries, direct response methods can be very effective in offline media. Our team has implemented these tactics for clients within the personal care, life insurance, apparel, and ride-sharing industries, with the main goal of generating a direct response. Here are the techniques we've seen the most success with.

Revisiting QR Codes

QR codes have found a second wind. While they may not be effective on billboards, direct mail, newspaper or magazine publications, and out-of-home (OOH) formats like transportation signs are great canvases for QR codes.

QR codes can be a great addition to your offline advertising. They allow your audience to scan and discover exclusive offers, content, or experiences, making your ads more engaging and effective. Even older generations have grown more comfortable with this technology and appreciate its convenience. You can ensure that your offline ads have a dynamic impact by providing a personalized digital journey through a simple scan.

In recent testing, we found that using QR codes in direct mail is an effective way to run direct response campaigns with older demographics. This group responds well to tangible, official communication via snail mail.

Read more about QR codes in advertising in our recent blog post by our CTV experts, Connected TV Advertising Strategies: Using QR Codes for Stronger Results.

Testing and Optimization

Testing and optimization are critical to success regardless of your campaign's format. Some may think this is more difficult with offline advertising, but don't be afraid to experiment and let time do its thing.

Change colors, fonts, or the placement of your QR codes, toll-free phone numbers, or vanity URLs. Test various offers and calls to action. The possibilities are as boundless as the ocean.

For example, try A/B testing with different QR code designs. Does a colorful, eye-catching QR code perform better than a sleek black-and-white one? Use the data you gather to optimize your campaigns continuously. Adapt, refine, and watch your response rates grow over time.

Here's how to measure the success of direct mail campaigns.

You can also test and track using toll-free phone numbers. Assign a different number or vanity numbers (custom phone numbers add a personal touch and are easier to recall) to other creatives, messaging, audiences, etc., to gain insight into what's performing best.

Getting Creative with Formats

Using different formats makes your ads stand out in a sea of ads and stacks of mail. When it comes to crafting standout advertising materials, we take a tailored approach, considering each client's unique audience and their preferences for interacting with the information we provide.

Our creative strategies encompass a range of techniques – here are the primary formats we use and when we recommend each:

  • Personalized letters: We find these are best used for clients who prefer a more personal touch and a comprehensive message.
  • Postcards are ideal for delivering concise and eye-catching messages.
  • Multi-panel mailers are perfect for showcasing images and products and telling a compelling brand story.
  • Perforated cards offer customers a tangible keepsake or easy sharing of promo codes with friends.
  • Spot-Gloss enhancements add a touch of sophistication and visual appeal to elevate the overall presentation of mailers.

A diverse selection of strategies allows us to cater to the specific needs and objectives of each client, ensuring their advertising materials effectively engage their target audience.

Combining Offline with Digital

Digital tactics, like landing page optimization, paid search, and paid social, can complement offline strategies extremely well. For example, we can identify and target any desired business or consumer segment at the most granular levels, including detailed geographic, demographic, psychographic, and purchase behavior.

First and Third-party sources can be combined to build targeting models. On the flip side, we can use direct mail lists to target email and digital display campaigns for multi-touch efforts. Targeting those same consumers with direct mail helps brands increase response rates and reach the right audiences.