Research shows that when you compare direct mail to any other kind of marketing medium, it’s actually preferred. Direct mail is no longer viewed as an antiquated form of advertising your products and/or services. In fact, over 5% of U.S. households respond to direct mail, and the ROI is almost 30%. Plus, it’s widely considered to be less annoying than email. So if you use direct mail as part of your marketing strategy, you’ll want to know how to get the most out of your efforts. That’s why we came up with this handy guide. Here are six proven methods that will help you speed up your direct mail results.
1. Send Your Direct Mail at Specific Times
There’s a strategy behind when you should send your direct mail marketing campaigns—and it’s pretty straightforward. Avoid Mondays and Fridays. Instead, aim for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays to get your direct mail messages into your recipients’ hands. This leads us to a bigger question. How exactly do you make that happen? How can you make sure your direct mail marketing campaigns arrive in mailboxes on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday? Let’s talk about direct mail timing.
To coordinate a reliable in-home mail date for your marketing mail, it helps to work with a full-service direct mail marketing company. MSP offers a postal logistics strategy for your marketing campaigns that can arrange for your direct mail to arrive at specific times of the week. Contact us and let’s talk about how we can help you accomplish your goals.
Direct mail timing plays a key role in what kind of responses you’ll get from each campaign. That’s why, in addition to the aforementioned mid-week arrival goals, you should also pay attention to the following points of emphasis.
Coordinate with the Buyer’s Journey
If your direct mail is triggered by a recipient’s actions, it should fall in line with the various stages of the buyer’s journey. You can have direct mail customized for each of the stages: awareness, consideration, decision, and post-decision. Therefore, you wouldn’t send a direct mail solution (like a coupon or personalized promo) to someone who’s only at the awareness stage. After all, they just realized they have a problem, so they’re not ready for the answer just yet. The same would apply to someone who’s at the decision stage. You wouldn’t send them a welcome message or basic information about a product they already know a lot about.
Holidays are a Great Time for Direct Mail
An ideal time to send a direct mail campaign is during the holidays. People are actively looking for Christmas cards and gifts when they open their mailboxes, so you have their attention before you even send the campaign. Recipients are more inclined to examine each piece of mail to see who it’s from. Furthermore, with the holiday season in full swing, you’ve greatly reduced their margin for a decision. They need to act now.
People usually associate December with the holidays, but don’t forget Mother’s Day. It’s the “mother of all mail days.” Consider this. You’re looking for something special for your mom (or any mom) for Mother’s Day. If you’re like most of us, it’s a decision you put off until it’s almost too late. Then you receive a piece of direct mail that has your solution. You can see where this is going. Send your direct mail in advance of Mother’s Day or any other holiday to give your recipients their obvious option: your product or service is the one they should buy.
Celebrate Your Recipients’ Birthdays
While not technically a holiday, a birthday is indeed a reason for someone to celebrate. If you acknowledge their special day with a piece of direct mail, you’ll blend in, but in a good way—with their closest friends and family members. Think about it. When it’s getting close to your birthday, you’re likely making a few more trips to the mailbox than you normally would.
As a marketing professional, you can dream up any number of clever possibilities here. But if you send a free gift or card with a redeemable offer inside, you’re sure to be in good standing. Here’s an idea. Send a handwritten “Happy Birthday” message and include a coupon or discount for a future purchase.
Identify Your Industry’s Busy Seasons
If your business tends to be busier at certain times of the year, use those times as windows of opportunity. Plan some campaigns that coordinate with the seasons to maximize your chances for success. For example, if you were the marketing director for a professional sports team, you’d target a couple times of year in particular to increase season ticket sales. The first would be as soon as next season’s schedule is announced. There’s usually a lot of excitement around a new season (regardless of how the current one is going). The second time would be in the month or two leading up to the season when consumers are starting to think seriously about the games.
No matter what type of business you have, use incentives (like discounts) for early buyers. Consider this example: INBOUND is an annual sales and marketing conference in Boston. The event takes place in late August to early September each year, but the event’s own sales and marketing team offers discounts for people who make an early commitment. For INBOUND 2019, attendees could get the deepest discounts if they bought their tickets immediately after the previous year’s conference. (Now that’s advance planning!) INBOUND also offered tiered discounts, so the sooner you bought your tickets, the more of a discount you received.
2. Personalize Your Direct Mail
Few things lead to direct mail success as much as personalization. For starters, consumers are more likely to open a piece of mail if it’s personalized. But that means more than simply adding their name and address on the outside of the envelope. (You have to do that anyway.) You can use variable data printing (VDP) to change the text, color, and/or images to match the needs of your target market.
Variable Data Printing
If you’re new to direct mail personalization methods, you may be asking yourself: “What is variable data printing?” Simply put, it’s the ability to mass customize your digital printing projects. For example, instead of sending 10,000 identical brochures to your mailing list, you can personalize each one according to the recipient’s preferences.
- Use their name in the headline.
- Highlight their name on the envelope (in addition to the addressee section).
- Insert personalized images.
- Draw from previous interactions.
- Customize according to zip code (less obvious).
- Include QR codes or pURLs.
That’s automation in action and the possibilities are almost endless. Research shows that direct mail results in 5x more engagement when it’s triggered by a customer’s own action. So use VDP as part of your marketing strategy and see how it works for you.
3. Use Postal Optimization
Postage is expensive, so make sure you’re optimizing your direct mail campaigns to get the best rates. Postal optimization uses equal amounts of technology, logistics, and the physical size of your mail piece to lower your postage costs. It helps to work with a direct mail company that can provide a postage and freight feasibility report. This ensures that you’re getting the best rates while matching your data requirements at the same time.
To save money on postage and reduce waste, watch your data hygiene and list management. If you have a lot of duplicate or bad addresses, like some B2B organizations, your campaigns will suffer. Clean data has no errors and that’s what you want to shoot for. You may not achieve a perfect list, but if you clean your data on a regular basis, you’ll likely see improved results. Keep in mind that if you’re renting a list, you should merge, purge, and dedupe. This will put you in the best position for success.
4. Embrace Omnichannel Marketing
You shouldn’t have to decide between digital and direct mail marketing methods. Instead, use both of them together to achieve your marketing goals. Omnichannel marketing is a valued part of any modern-day marketing strategy. Think of your print and digital marketing channels as strategic partners. There’s no reason to separate the two when they can work together along with your retail location (if you have one) as part of an integrated marketing success strategy.
Omnichannel marketing gives your customers a coordinated experience. Whether they shop from a laptop or desktop computer, a tablet or smartphone, or a retail location—all the channels will be in-sync with one another. Let’s look at a specific example of omnichannel marketing in action.
Orvis’s Omnichannel Marketing Experience
Sporting goods retailer Orvis has an award-winning omnichannel experience for its customers. That’s because they understand their target audience (affluent 50+ consumers that like to fish—and probably have a dog) and they know the best ways to communicate with them. This “second-mover” generation has adapted to tech and they’re using it to connect with their favorite brands. For example, Orvis customers won’t hesitate to place an out of stock order with an iPad-armed employee if they can’t find what they’re looking for in a store. More independently, they’ll receive personalized content if they have the Orvis app installed on their smartphone.
Omnichannel marketing is a modern-day marketing staple, but it helps to know who you’re selling to. Then you can solve their problems and nurture them into a satisfied customer.
5. Be Creative with Your Direct Mail Design
Polaroid founder Edwin H. Land once said: “The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” You should apply that same thought process to your marketing efforts to get the direct mail results you’re looking for. Naturally, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on failed marketing attempts, but it oftentimes pays to think outside the box, so to speak.
Here are some lesser-known direct mail advertising techniques to consider:
- Augmented Reality. Combine the real world with a virtual world for a direct mail advantage.
- Video Mailers. We watch over a billion hours of video on YouTube. It stands to reason we’ll watch more video content if it shows up in our mailbox.
- Dimensional Mail. Boxes, mailing tubes, and other unique packages have an almost-perfect open rate.
- Direct Mail Sequences. Think of the “Seven Times Factor” when creating a direct mail campaign. Your recipients may need to see your message up to seven times before responding.
- Direct Mail Timing. Plan your direct mail to arrive Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
- Target Specific Groups. Segment your audience by location, demographic, even psychographics.
6. Monitor Your Direct Mail Results
If you don’t know what your direct mail results are from one campaign to the next, how can you make adjustments? The answer is—you can’t. At least not accurately. Guesses and hunches do not make up a solid marketing strategy. With the amount of data available today, you can analyze every aspect of a campaign. Direct Mail Panorama is just such a software solution. In fact, it’s a game-changing remedy for serious modern-day marketers who want to speed up delivery, streamline techniques, and improve results.
There are four direct mail marketing metrics that matter the most, though. You should always pay particular attention to:
- Response Rate. This is the percentage of people that respond to your campaign. To calculate your response rate, divide the total responses by the total number sent.
- Cost Per Acquisition. This is what you spent to get your customers. To figure out your CPA, divide the total cost of your campaign by the total number of orders received.
- Customer Lifetime Value. The CLV tells you how much you can expect to make from a customer during their lifetime. To calculate, subtract the amount you spent acquiring and serving them from how much you made from them.
- Return on Investment. To determine your ROI, take your total revenue and subtract the final cost of your campaign. Then, take that number and divide it by the total campaign cost.
For a detailed explanation of each metric along with examples, check out our post: 4 Direct Mail Marketing Metrics That Matter Most.
You Can Accelerate Your Direct Mail Results
Direct mail is a proven marketing method, but there are ways to make it better. If you want to accelerate your direct mail results, follow the guidelines listed here and work with a full-service direct mail marketing company that can help you from start to finish. MSP has over 65 years of direct mail experience. We offer state-of-the-art equipment, the latest methods in postal optimization, and the best customer service to help you get the results you’re looking for. Contact an MSP representative to get started today.
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