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Create a Direct Mail Campaign

Direct mail campaigns encompass a variety of moving parts including cost, packaging, and shipping. Creating a strategy that considers these shifting pieces while optimizing your efforts is the key to success. Luckily, with the right planning, processes and tools, you can create a direct mail strategy that generates better ROI.

If you’re interested in including direct mail campaigns into your marketing strategy but don’t know where to start, here are a few tips and tricks to get your marketing organization on the right path.

Why Create a Direct Mail Marketing Campaign?

With so many different marketing channels to choose from like social media, email, and digital ads, many businesses have slowly pulled away from marketing’s oldest tool in the shed: direct mail.

It’s easy to understand why, too. Digital communication with customers is easier than ever now, and companies can target thousands of people in mere seconds. Plus, countless man-hours are saved daily when the need for traveling to the post office and tracking shipments is eliminated.

However, despite direct mail being slower and more labor-intensive, businesses have not said R.I.P. just yet. Here are some reasons why:

  • Direct mail provides a human connection to consumers. Direct mail recipients physically touch their mail, creating a Physical Impression. For example, Terminus used this unique direct mail play to capture their audience attention when COVID-19 forced them to uplevel their approach to onboarding remote customers.
  • Direct mail often has a better response rate than email. Let’s face it. People still love receiving direct mail. 83% of consumers feel positively about receiving packages, and 94% of people say they have a positive reaction when receiving personal letters and cards. Also, the response rate for direct mail is more than 30 times the response rate for email, likely due to the positive impression it leaves.
  • It can be accomplished on a fairly modest budget. Direct mail campaigns do not need to deplete your marketing budget. Sending a cost-effective item like a simple, well-designed postcard can be an excellent way to stand out. Sending branded mugs and helped BetterCloud yield a 529% increase in direct mail’s closed-won influence.
  • There is never an end to potential customers. There are always more markets to target, and tweaking an offer in an existing market can make it more effective as well

What Makes a Successful Direct Mail Marketing Campaign?

So what can you do to improve the odds of succeeding? Here are four tips you can use to get better results.

1. Build a Quality Mailing List

Your direct mail efforts are only as good as the mailing list you have. If the people on your list aren’t ideal candidates for your products or services, then they’re not going to be receptive to your offer. You can do this by renting or buying lists, or compiling them yourself using 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-party sources.

2. Make Your Offer Worth It

It doesn’t matter how much you fine-tune your mailing list – if the offer doesn’t suit the people you’re targeting, then you’ll see mediocre results. This is why we recommend personalizing your offers whenever possible. Also, make sure you clearly state your offer so recipients understand what to expect in exchange for their response.

3. Design an Appealing Package

What makes people open up a direct mailer? It’s all in the packaging. If you can design yours with a clean design, easy-to-read text, appropriate images, and high-res photos, then you’ll likely catch more than a few eyes. Be sure your CTA is easy to find and understand.

4. Track Your Campaigns

It’s impossible to know how well your campaign is doing if you’re not tracking them. Make sure you’re incorporating trackable phone numbers, coupon codes, QR codes, and URLs. It’s also ideal to have a platform that makes it easy to see metrics and even generate analytics reports.

What to Include in Your Direct Mail Campaign

It’s important to consider both creativity and strategy when it comes to your direct mail campaign. Your send item should be bold and unique, but most also always include the following important information to maximize ROI, (especially when marketing to new customers).

The Call to Action

The CTA is the most important aspect of a direct mail campaign, as it should prompt the recipient to respond to your offer. A great way to influence recipient action is by asking a question of the recipient, such as “Ready to get started?”

Prominent Contact Information

Be very specific on how the recipient should contact you. Is your team on social media? Do you regularly check your general inquiries inbox? Let your customers know the best way to reach you, and make your contact information easy to find and read.

How to Create a Direct Mail Campaign

  • Define your goal. What would you like to achieve from your sending efforts? Whether it’s booking a sales call or a product demo, or simply a way to say ‘thank you’ for attending a webinar, make sure everything you send has a clear goal and relevant call-to-action.
  • Create a mailing list. If you’re new to direct mail, assembling a mailing list will be vital to your success. After all, you’ll need a place to actually send all of your packages. When initially building out your list, consider your current customers. Do you have their most up-to-date mailing addresses?
  • Audit your database. Auditing your database will help you eliminate the chance of sending direct mail packages to incorrect or outdated contacts. Frequently cleanse your data to avoid wasteful production, packaging, and postage expenses.
  • Personalize what you send. Conduct audience research to determine the right content to use in your direct mail campaigns. The information discovered in your research will enable you to personalize outreach and make your direct mail efforts more meaningful and impactful. You can use insights from BDR and sales conversations with prospects to determine the right materials to send. For example, if a prospect mentions they are a wine enthusiast, follow up by sending a written thank you note and a bottle of wine.
  • Stock your items. Stocking your items at a warehouse will allow your team to send complete direct mail packages at the click of a button. Sendoso’s Standard Direct Mail service enables our customers to store their items at one of our global warehouses for quick and easy sends.

Use Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns Throughout the Customer Lifecycle

You’re likely already running targeted ads, exhibiting at industry events, and disseminating content marketing materials to educate people and guide prospects through the decision-making process. You may even be using direct mail to onboard new customers and employees. When operated correctly, direct mail will complement the channels you’re already using to drive:

Brand Awareness

Send a handwritten note and follow up with an email to book a demo. The personal touch of the handwritten note will make your prospect that much more likely to open your email and book a demo.

Nurture and Engagement

After a prospect downloads an eBook, reward their engagement by automatically sending a $5 coffee eGift card for them to sip on while reading. You could even include an offer to receive a physical copy of the eBook they downloaded (which creates the opportunity for yet another meaningful touchpoint).

The Decision-Making Process

Hosting an event with a high-value prospect? Why not turn cocktail hour into a luau theme party and send daiquiri glasses along with the invite? The extra bit of effort will put your company’s name on the tip of your prospect’s tongue.

Customer Onboarding and Advocacy

Foster valuable relationships with new customers by welcoming them with a “Road to Success” kit with information and fun items to help them get the most out of your product or service. From there, transform users into brand advocates by sending personalized content and gifts at important milestones in the customer journey. For instance, did a customer mention their love of wine? Send them an etched bottle on their one-month customer anniversary.

Employee Engagement

Delight your top candidates with a timely offer, such as a rideshare eGift card to cover their trip to and from your location for their interview. Then, send an employee welcome kit once someone accepts an offer. Continue engaging your employees in meaningful ways with work milestones, life events, or recognition for a job well done.

Tips for Creating an Ongoing Direct Mail Strategy

Executing one-off direct mail campaigns can bog teams down, waste marketing and sales budgets, and be challenging to attribute ROI. An ongoing direct mail strategy will enable better use of your inventory so you’re no longer guesstimating orders and your existing inventory (yes, we’ve been there too). Additionally, proper planning will allow your team to scale your direct mail efforts.

Creating a successful direct mail strategy can seem intimidating at first, but with the right planning and coordination, all of your efforts will pay off. Here are eight steps to create a direct mail strategy that will produce solid results.

  1. Send throughout the customer journey. Every strategy should include direct mail and gifting touchpoints throughout the sales funnel and customer journey. As accounts move through the funnel, your direct mail and gifting efforts will work in tandem with your digital efforts to build and strengthen meaningful relationships. For example, a top-of-funnel prospect who downloads an eBook, can be sent an eGift to solidify the initial connection and continue to build awareness.
  2. Know your target personas. Having a crystal clear picture of your target market may seem like a no-brainer, especially if you’re familiar with sending one-off direct mail campaigns. However, when building out a long-term strategy, you don’t want to waste time, resources, and money sending promotional materials to prospects outside your ideal customer profile. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to construct a process to identify and document the audiences you’d like to reach and nurture throughout each campaign.
  3. Segment audiences. Direct mail and gifting strategies should be designed in the same way you create content, ads, and events: segmented by the buying stage your prospects are at and the goals you’re trying to achieve. An awareness-stage direct mail campaign will have different messaging than a decision-making campaign, for instance. It’s important to segment every direct mail campaign by audience and buying stage.
  4. Utilize a Sending Platform. With the right sending solution, you’ll be empowered to source, store, ship, and measure ROI, with a few clicks. Gone are the days of sourcing branded items and packing boxes by hand. The added efficiency will free your team up for other initiatives, taking some headaches out of the equation.
  5. Set up integrations. When vetting out sending platforms, look for providers that integrate with the tech stack you already have in play. Once integrations are in place, you can set up triggers that automate gifting and direct mail sends. For instance, Sendoso’s integration with Marketo enables users to set up a trigger that automatically sends a gift when an ideal prospect downloads an eBook.
  6. Set benchmarks. During the planning process, it’s important to understand what outcomes will make your direct mail strategy successful. For instance, a benchmark could be “X% increase in meetings booked this quarter vs. last quarter” or “X% increase in response rates month over month.” Whatever the outcome you’d like to achieve is, having a documented goal will make it more achievable.
  7. Audit your database. Frequently cleanse your data to avoid wasteful production, packaging, and postage expenses. Auditing your database will help you eliminate the chance of sending direct mail packages to incorrect or outdated contacts.
  8. Put your plan in writing. Finally, your direct mail strategy should be mapped out so every member of the team is centrally motivated around the same goals and objectives.

When done correctly, direct mail will deliver the personal and meaningful experiences that prospects and customers crave. For more expert advice on how to execute a successful direct mail campaign, download a copy of our eBook!

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Peter Tarrant, Account Based Marketer, Tipalti

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