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Automated Direct Mail

What is automated direct mail?

Automated direct mail removes the manual processes involved with mailing out packages, gifts, swag, etc. at scale—typically via a Sending Platform, which also enables you to integrate direct mail into the rest of your automation tools and trigger campaigns.

Direct mail is a highly effective way of establishing meaningful relationships with leads, clients, and candidates. It rises above the clutter of the inbox, and delivers ROI up to 30x higher than digital mail.

And while direct mail’s merits and material costs are clear, the time investment often is not. Implementing a direct mail campaign manually is a cumbersome process for your teams.

Aside from the time investment of planning a campaign and its desired outcomes, marketers must:

  • Consider the item, design, and sourcing, for the campaign and its supporting materials (such as note cards, packing materials, and branded shipping boxes).
  • Order the above-mentioned items and materials.
  • Consider internal or external storage options for your items and materials, and create an inventory-tracking system for them.
  • Manually assemble each package, write individual handwritten notes, get packages to the post office for shipping, and create a system for tracking their delivery.
  • Track the deliveries, handle misdirected packages, create and carry out follow-up procedures.
  • Manually recreate the campaign in your CRM to track the activities, report on outcomes, and estimate the ROI of the campaign investment.

All of these tasks are for just a single campaign. More campaigns can and will add up to substantial time investment. It also requires sales, marketing, and success teams to wear a lot of hats, and operate functions outside of their main focus: interfacing with current and potential customers.

This has led to the rise of tactile marketing automation and Sending Platforms, designed to reduce the physical hours involved in a direct mail campaign and allow marketing teams to focus attention on revenue-generating activities that move the needle.

Direct Mail Advertising 101

Automated direct mail advertising (or “programmatic direct mail”) has been around for a few years.

It works by monitoring individual user data (for example, online behavior, shopping history, or abandoned carts), then using the data to create printed collateral via a digital press. The collateral (postcards or catalogs) is created dynamically for each recipient and shipped through a USPS postal hub, hitting the right customer at the right time.

These pieces of collateral can be triggered by customer actions, or delivered during a targeted promotion to customers meeting certain criteria (location, age, children, pets, or home sale/purchase). Some examples you may have found in your own mailbox:

  • A real estate agent sells a home in a certain neighborhood and sends a postcard announcement to the home-owners in the surrounding area.
  • A pet store creates a personalized coupon postcard based on the preferred pet food brands and products of its current customers.
  • A cruise line sends search-specific promotions to “abandoned cart” customers based on the selections they made during the check-out process.

Advanced Automated Direct Mail

This early form of automated direct mail has evolved even further.

Thanks to the Sending Platform, marketers can automate the sending of direct mail, physical gifts, corporate swag, handwritten notes, wine, plants, sweet treats, and anything else.

That means marketers can deliver clever, useful, and enjoyable gifts and experiences that are targeted to individual recipients for maximum effect. This direct targeting is effective for many types of account-based marketing (ABM), as well as demand generation, prospecting, sales, onboarding, and customer retention/renewals.

Some examples of modern direct mail marketing in action:

  • Conference/Meeting Survival Kit: Put a branded notebook, pen, packet of Advil, Tide to Go pen, gum/mints and some Emergen-C in a small fanny pack and send it to everyone you invite to your event.
  • $10 Amazon eGift for customers who respond to surveys about what they’d like to see from your product or service.
  • Gourmet cookies or other sweet treats to celebrate the beginning or end of a business quarter or fiscal year with your prospects.

(For more examples of great sending ideas, download our ebook: 63 Unique Ways to Use Direct Mail in the Digital Age.)

Selecting a tactile marketing automation solution (a.k.a. a sending platform, like Sendoso) to help systematize your direct mail efforts is an excellent way to keep the sending simple while keeping ROI high.

Types of Automated Direct Mail Campaigns

Automating direct mail works for different types of sales, marketing, and customer campaigns. Whether you’re nurturing a contact during the buyer’s journey or rewarding specific behaviors within your customer base, automated workflows can ensure that the right clients get the message at the correct time. These automated workflows operate on a “set it and forget it” model. Once the workflows are in place, operations can run without being manually initiated, and data can be collected and compiled for automatic reporting and follow-up routines.

Automated Direct Mail Campaigns

Automated campaigns are familiar to most marketers (and consumers), although we mostly encounter these touchpoints digitally. Through an automated sending platform, these campaigns can deliver a physical direct mail item, eGift card, or a piece of content (such as a “Thank you” note, informational package, or promotional piece) automatically as part of a predetermined workflow. .

Some great examples of this:

  • Automatically emailing a $5 coffee card after a user downloads content.
  • Sending an automatic handwritten “Thank you” note as a follow up to users who participate at an event such as a conference or trade show.
  • Shipping a case study to decision-makers as an automated part of a lead-nurturing campaign.

These small touches as part of the overall marketing mix help to move relationships in the right direction at the right time. With a Sending Platform, they can be achieved within your marketing automation or sales acceleration software through an integration, creating a frictionless process for teams.

There are many ways to nurture prospects customers through the marketing funnel using meaningful connections with direct mail. Read here to learn more.

Triggered Direct Mail Campaigns

Sometimes, your marketing workflow is based on outside behaviors or actions, or a collection of behaviors or data points (for instance, a download or a “cart abandon”). These triggers signal the need to make contact, and direct mail is a great way to create a meaningful touchpoint. These triggers can be set up within your CRM or marketing automation and run automatically when certain criteria are met.

Some real-world examples of trigger campaigns you could use within your marketing mix:

  • A candidate accepts an offer and receives a congratulatory gift from their HR department or corporate recruiter.
  • Interest rates decline, and a mortgage broker sends a direct mail update to a targeted list of customers that might be ripe for a refinance.
  • A gym member renews their contract, and the gym sends a water bottle as a thank you for their continued patronage.

These triggers can create hyper-relevant contact opportunities for your customers, clients, and prospects. Making the right moves at the right time is key to driving conversions, and research (Including this 2019 Forrester Direct Mail report) shows that direct mail can have an even greater effect on those conversions than digital outreach alone.

Direct Mail Automation Software

Want to know how a Sending Platform like Sendoso can help you automated direct mail? We assist the process in a few key areas…

Warehousing and Fulfillment

Storing and inventorying swag is a tedious process that takes up valuable (and sometimes expensive) real estate within your office. Solutions like a Sending Platform store your items for you in a warehouse and provide a real-time view of your inventory, so you know exactly how much of each item you have left and when you need to order more. Using a tactile automation solution means warehousing occurs on your behalf off-site; inventory can be tracked automatically, and stored neatly and safely while preserving your on-site storage for other needs.

Software and Integrations

Don’t waste your or your team’s time on packaging, packing, and shipping direct mail. A Sending Platform makes sending direct mail as easy as sending an email: simply click to ship. The platform, itself, also allows you to create different teams with access to different options for sending and monthly budgets. In addition, a good sending solution will also have integrations across your tech stack so that you can incorporate automated direct mail into your current campaigns and send it from wherever you already work.

Packing and Shipping Services

Most importantly, a sending platform eliminates the time-consuming and tedious manual aspect of figuring out exactly what to send in your direct mail campaigns, as well as how you can add that personalized touch. Our creative project management team helps you source any items from our trusted vendor network (or any preferred vendors you might already work with), as well as put your logo on the items being sent or the packaging that they’re being sent in—like branded boxes, tape, or packing material.

Want to learn more about direct mail automation for your marketing, sales, and customer campaigns? Reach out to one of our sending specialists here and find out how easy it can be to make some magic happen for your best prospects and customers.

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Peter Tarrant, Account Based Marketer, Tipalti

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