A lot goes into your direct mail marketing strategy. You’re regularly planning, creating, testing, sending, and analyzing each campaign. You’re also tracking changes, managing spreadsheets, and dealing with last-minute changes—and that’s just to get the project out the door. But have you considered how timing in marketing affects your direct mail campaigns? Direct mail timing plays a big part in your response rates. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll see an improvement.
Here’s when to send your marketing campaigns.
How the Buyer’s Journey Affects Timing in Marketing
If you’re sending triggered direct mail, you’ll need to account for which stage of the buyer’s journey a prospect is in. This will help you determine the best direct mail timing for your campaign. Your direct mail piece should be customized for each stage, but it should also support other touchpoints.
Buyer’s Journey Stage One: Awareness
The Awareness stage of the buyer’s journey is when the buyer realizes they have a problem. Because it’s too early for you to directly address them with a solution, you merely create brand awareness so you’re available if needed.
- No need to be pushy. Provide consumers with your basic information and a soft call to action. Ask them to visit your website to read a blog post or subscribe to your e-newsletter, download a whitepaper, or watch a video in exchange for their email address.
- Give them a QR code. Print a QR code on your direct mail piece so recipients can easily jump to your website via their phone.
- Keep sending direct mail. Research shows that direct mail works. It performs 5x-9x better than email, paid search, or social media. But it also becomes more effective after the third mailing to the same list. So keep sending it.
Buyer’s Journey Stage Two: Consideration
The Consideration stage of the buyer’s journey is when the buyer gives a name to their problem and begins looking into options to solve it. They’re researching it and trying to find a solution. For example, maybe a consumer has a health issue and they’re trying to figure out how to deal with it. This is where you can convince them that your product is their best solution.
- Provide specific information. Don’t assume the customer knows anything about you. Rather, give them specific information that’s relevant to their needs. Answer this question: How can your brand solve their problem?
- Use personalization. Studies show that personalization (combined with color) improves response rates by up to 500%. Put their name on the direct mail piece and/or add a map that shows them where their local store is.
Here are a few examples of direct mail campaigns at the Consideration stage:
- Nurture. This is a classic direct mail piece for the Consideration stage. You should provide education to help the buyer. Maybe you have a product comparison guide, an interactive live webinar, or any other targeted content that speaks to a specific consumer’s needs. You’re nurturing them along in the process from awareness to considering their options.
- Abandoned Cart. A consumer puts an item in their cart, then for whatever reason, they decide not to finish the purchase process, leaving the item at the checkout counter, so to speak. When you have their physical mailing address, you can send an automated direct mail piece with an incentive to make that purchase happen. Perhaps it’s a discount or some friendly advice that the item will be out of stock soon. They’d better hurry or the product will be gone.
- Re-engagement. If you have a customer that’s gone silent for a while, provide a soft-sell piece to get them back in the fold. A direct mail piece is a great way to let them know you miss their business.
Buyer’s Journey Stage Three: Decision
At the Decision stage of the buyer’s journey, a consumer has all the information they need. They’ve done the research, they just need to decide what the best solution is to their problem. It’s your job to convince them that your brand is the right choice. What makes you stand out from the competition? Why are you the best? At this point, don’t just meet their needs, exceed them. Now’s the time to be aggressive and send them an offer they can’t refuse.
It could come in the form of:
- a personalized promotion that only they can take advantage of,
- a coupon for an exclusive discount,
- a limited-time offer they can’t pass up.
You also need to help the buyer trust you. If they trust you, they’re more likely to select your brand. Why will they ultimately decide to go with your brand to solve their problem? Highlight your solution and use testimonials for proof. That way, not only have you convinced them you will provide the best product or service, but others have endorsed you as reliable and trustworthy, too. Also, showcase reputable organizations that have given you their stamp of approval. Promote anything that shows off your credibility and authority.
Don’t underestimate this stage of the buyer’s journey. Customers are almost 30% more likely to buy from you again if they bought from you before. It’s great that you’ve got a new customer. You did all the necessary work and you convinced them that your product or service was the best. Congratulations! But this is where some additional work begins.
First of all, you want to assure them they’ve done the right thing. Have you ever bought something, then second-guessed your decision? It’s an uneasy feeling called buyer’s remorse.
What better way to say “Thank you for your business, you made a wise decision,” than with a handwritten thank-you note? Depending on the type of sale, this could be an automated message that’s included with the product or something you send very shortly afterward.
Next, you want to earn their business again. You want to create brand loyalists and advocates, customers who will do some of your marketing for you—for free. Because if you get them to buy three or four times, there’s a greater than 50% chance they’re going to become loyal customers for a long time. What kinds of direct mail messages can you send them to move this process in the right direction?
- Loyalty rewards. How can you influence a customer to buy again and again? Give them an incentive. Invite them to join your loyalty rewards program.
- Referral program. Provide an incentive for your current customers to buy from you again. A referral program gives them a way to “cash in” by getting their friends and family involved with your brand.
- Relevant offers. Consider sending a relevant offer that’s based on a previous purchase. For example, if a customer bought a camera, they might also have an interest in a compatible lens to add to their gear collection.
Send Direct Mail Around the Holidays
Why are the holidays a good time to send direct mail? People are looking for Christmas gifts and cards, so they’re naturally more inclined to not only check their mail but to also be sure they look at each piece to see what it is and who it’s from. Right off the bat, you’re increasing the odds that your customer will read your message. Plus, with the holidays so close, you’ve narrowed the decision-making window to—now.
Another huge direct mail holiday is Mother’s Day. As Seinfeld’s own postal employee Newman would say, “It’s the mother of all mail days.” Shari’s Berries, part of the FTD family of brands, used it to send a direct piece that offered 25% off their heart-shaped cheesecakes or sugar-shimmered berries. It was effective in many ways. It’s a unique gift (different from flowers anyway) and the direct mail piece showcased the colorful beauty of the products. Plus the discount made the buying decision much easier for anyone wanting to give their mom something special.
Anticipate Busy Seasons (According to Your Industry)
When you know you naturally have a season of the year when you’ll do more business than any other, plan some campaigns around those conditions. For example, if you own a lawn care business, it would only make sense to get on your customers’ radar screens during the late winter months. This will help secure the spring and summer business you rely on. If you have a fitness business, there are naturally two times of year that would attract more customers. Consider December when people are thinking about New Year’s fitness resolutions, and look at the springtime when people think about getting fit for summer.
Wish Your Customers a Happy Birthday
If you mark no other occasion on your direct mail timing calendar, make sure to celebrate your customers on their birthdays. Their friends and family are already sending them gifts and cards. You should, too. This helps you blend in with the people they know and love the most.
The sky’s the limit with what you can offer, but a free gift comes to mind immediately. Starbucks loyalists will get a free drink. Panino’s patrons get a free small sandwich. Moe’s Southwest Grill will give you a free burrito. Along with the gift, think about including a coupon for a future purchase.
When they’re fresh off a free experience, it will keep them coming back for more.
If you can’t swing a gift, send a card with a handwritten message expressing how glad you are it’s their birthday. Then include a discount on a future purchase. Target sent out a direct mailer to their birthday customers that offered 30% off a complete pair of eyeglasses. Why eyeglasses? The recipients were known glasses wearers. By utilizing the marketing data you have available to you, you can tailor your message to the right audience.
Delivery Timing in Marketing: Best Days to Have Direct Mail Delivered
When considering your direct mail timing, you ever wondered if there’s a day of the week that’s better to have your direct mail delivered? Well, there are varying schools of thought on this matter. It may depend on your particular industry, but as a general rule of thumb, you have three best options: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. These mid-week days provide you with the best opportunity to get your direct mail into the hands of your target audience. Recipients are typically going home after work and sorting through their mail on these three days. It’s part of their routine. Also, you don’t have the potential distraction of a weekend or someone’s “case of the Mondays” working against you.
To help facilitate a reliable in-home mail date using marketing mail, you need an expert marketing services provider with a strong postal logistics strategy.
Direct Mail Timing: Let’s Schedule Your Next Campaign
MSP is an industry leader in direct mail management. We can help you schedule your marketing campaigns so they have the best chance to succeed. To learn how our 65-plus years of knowledge, expertise, and the latest technology can work for you, contact an MSP representative today and let’s talk about your goals.
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