This piece is brought to you by GoNimbly Content Manager, Kristi Park. GoNimbly delivers revenue operations to SaaS companies by identifying gaps in your customer experience, and recommending and executing the best operational solutions.
Standard direct mail is not something that has traditionally been considered cool.
Have you ever wanted more glossy paper mailers offering a free small coffee if you buy $50 worth of bagel sandwiches, or branded pens that run out of ink after 6.5 uses?—probably not.
Similarly, ‘personalization’ used to just mean that something had your name on it like those gift shop keychains kids would thumb through,, looking for one that had just the right spelling of their name, or monogrammed towels (which we still don’t quite understand).
My, how times have changed.
While there are still some companies that think, for some reason, they’re going to convert accounts by sending a CMO branded lanyards, most B2B companies have wised up. They’ve realized what B2C companies knew a long time ago: Prospects are people, and they want an experience that’s tailored to them, from first touch to the very last.
Give Before Getting
One of the primary drivers of the rise of Revenue Operations over the past few years has been the B2B industry’s renewed focus on customer-centricity, and the understanding that in order to win in today’s ultra-competitive market, you have to actually give before you get.
The plummeting popularity of gated content, for example, means that individuals and companies are now creating things for the benefit of their audiences without the promise of a lead in return—and it works. According to research done by Adobe, 97% of site visitors never fill out a form anyway, so by making knowledge-sharing a quid pro quo, you end up not only losing leads, but deterring people from seeking out your content in the future.
Similarly, trying to create a relationship with a cold prospect by sending a gift without context isn’t likely to get you very far. Part of the “give”, in this case, is making sure that whatever you send is furthering a connection and can be tied back either to your value prop or to something you’ve learned about the person to whom you’re sending.
In the early days of ABM, just the act of sending seemed like enough. Now, the practice has evolved into something much more well-rounded. Instead of just being a standalone touch within a sequence or play, direct mail should be a part of a larger picture. If you’ve already sent a cold LinkedIn message or email, whatever you send next should be connected to both that initial messaging and whatever will come next.
The idea of giving before you get isn’t meant to encourage giving away all your value for free, but rather knowing the crucial role relationship-building plays in successful direct mail campaigns.
Personalization for Real
In the case of direct mail, it’s time to finally accept the fact that personalization is more than just a note; you’ve got to do your homework on the person you’re sending to. What do you know about them? Is there a conversation you’ve had with them or something they’ve written online that could inspire a unique and personal gift? The key is to be thoughtful and creative, and hopefully be able to use whatever you send as a jumping off point for a conversation about your product.
Needless to say, it can be challenging to personalize for people you’ve never actually met, particularly at scale. One resource our team at Go Nimbly has turned to for guidance on that topic is Becc Holland, the Head of Sales Development at Chorus.ai. While Becc’s specialty is email outreach for sales, her methods can easily be applied to a direct mail strategy.
In fact, certain elements of her personalization framework may even be better suited for the direct mail approach. For example, what Becc refers to as “Junk Drawer” details–that is, details that have little to no connection with their professional role–can be used much more effectively when it comes to choosing the right gift to send a prospect.
Knowing someone’s hometown or favorite hobby may be tough to connect to your value prop in a sales email; however, that knowledge could make for a great piece of direct mail.
Attention to Detail
Once you’ve decided on the gift, the missing piece becomes the ability to streamline the sending process, particularly if you’ve got a smaller team. When it comes to nurturing leads, consistency–and even appearance–matter. For example, you don’t want to send the CMO at a target account something that looks kind of like an afterthought.
Make sure your direct mail is thoughtfully presented. While of course aesthetics aren’t the only (or most critical) factor, there’s no denying that when it comes to gifts, we do tend to eat with our eyes, so to speak. Think about what might make you want to hold onto something you received, rather than tossing it in the trash–if you can see yourself getting excited about it, chances are that someone else might, too.
According to the USPS, 82% of millennials view printed advertisements as more trustworthy than digital ones. It makes sense; a package that’s addressed to you and has something tangible inside is likely to leave a greater impression than a targeted digital ad you come across online.
More than that, though, direct mail is about building relationships, and in any relationship, equity is a huge factor. The goal, after all, isn’t to convince someone they need your product if they don’t. If you’ve identified your target accounts correctly, your job is to illustrate how you are alleviating a pain that you already know exists.
So, how do you establish trust with your prospects? Focus on the human element of what you’re doing. Make them the hero of the story behind your campaign, and make it clear that your end goal is to better understand both their pain points and how your company can realistically solve them.
Give your prospects a clear CTA that will continue their journey without friction, letting them know what they can expect at the end of it. Provide value at every step along the way, even if it’s as simple as a link to some additional content you think they might be interested in. Use social proof in a way that focuses on their needs, and gives them a sense that they’re in capable hands with you and your company.
The Bottom Line
In the end, as with the rest of today’s gold standard sales and marketing practices, direct mail is about understanding and building relationships with your current and future customers. Regardless of what you send, leveling up your direct mail strategy is about the thought and intent behind it.
Find out interesting facts about the person to whom you’re sending, and use what you know to give them a personalized experience that’s both valuable and has a clear path to the alleviation of their pain point.
Schedule a demo to learn more about how Sendoso enables direct mail marketing to help you increase revenue growth, achieve measurable results from sending, and maximize ROI.