Technology has made it easier for marketers to use data to personalize marketing campaigns across channels. One marketing channel that stands to benefit the most from this is direct mail. While emails can be easy to ignore, replicate these strategies for direct mail to capture people’s attention. Research agency, Millward Brown, found that print media leaves a “deeper footprint” in the brain than digital media does. This can lead to increased brand awareness, sales and a deeper sense of connection with customers.
But marketers have long struggled to capture data on the performance of their direct mail campaigns. But today many of the tactics that email marketers use to collect data can also be used for direct mail. Here are 5 best practices from email marketing that can now be applied to direct mail marketing:
Both direct mail and email marketers can personalize customer messaging based on purchase history, location, age and more. But marketers often don’t apply personalization to direct mail messaging. This is a huge mistake. 69% of consumers view physical mail as more personal than the internet, according to the United States Postal Service. That's why it’s important to personalize your direct mail as much as possible.
You can start getting personal by creating a wish list of all the different ways you could personalize your content. Try to nail down the specific factors will most likely motivate a customer to convert. For example, traditional retailers can show customers how close they are by including a map with directions to the store. Other tactics, such as including the customer’s name in your messaging or recommending items and services based on their past purchases, are also highly effective.
A persuasive call to action is the MVP of every marketer’s team — from email to website and direct mail copy. The call to action should be user-friendly and customized for each marketing channel. For direct mail marketing, there are a number of creative ways that you can customize your call to action. For example, if you’re notifying customers of a new store opening in their area, include a pre-stamped postcard that lets them RSVP for a special opening day event.
You can also use direct mail to get a customer’s attention and drive them to your website if create a call to action that is convenient and easy for them to follow. For example, share a unique, short and memorable URL, such as FlightCar did in this mailer. That way it’s easy for customers to type the URL into their browser. By including coupons, response cards or a unique URL, you can track how customers are engaging with your direct mail campaigns.
One of the main reasons that customers subscribe to email marketing is to be the first to know about special deals, online-only events, and more. Direct mail can also provide this kind of unique value and reward customers for engaging. One way to do this is to send customers coupons to bring in-store for an exclusive deal or a special invitation to a flash sale. A creative way that grocery store chain, Trader Joe’s, connects with customers is by mailing them a monthly newsletter called The Fearless Flyer. In the newsletter, customers can read about the newest products and seasonal items that they’ll find in the store that month. It’s a great way to keep customers informed and engaged with your brand.
Just as marketers run A/B tests with email, you should also be consistently A/B testing your direct mail campaigns. By testing and then optimizing, you can hone in on what kinds of direct mail will result in the most engagement from customers. One way to do this is by creating sub-lists and tracking codes to test new campaigns. You can then experiment by targeting a small portion of your list and then track the results. If the new campaign performs well, you can apply it to the remainder of your list.
For example, by using direct mail automation to run A/B tests, Amazon has seen a significant lift across all of their campaigns. This helps them reach hundreds to thousands of direct mail recipients every day.
It may seem counterintuitive, but email marketers understand the value of making it easy for customers to unsubscribe from their mailing list. This is because maintaining the health of your marketing lists is important for collecting accurate customer data. But while email marketers can track how many emails go unopened, direct mail marketers usually have no idea how much of their mail winds up ignored. A simple way to keep your list efficient is by letting customers opt out of direct mail. Plus, this gives you an avenue to communicate with the customer as to why they don’t want your postcard, business, etc.
This is just the beginning, as marketers will be able to use data to experiment, personalize and measure the impact of your direct mail campaigns. As innovations in marketing automation progress, we’ll continue to see physical and digital marketing channels merge. For customers, this means more personalized and relevant messaging from businesses and higher quality experiences.