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Direct Mail
March 21, 2023

Guide to Direct Mail CTAs: Campaign Types and Best Practices

Guest Author

Every piece of content you produce requires several considerations. However, few elements are as critical as a strong call to action (CTA).

Since CTAs encourage your audience to take immediate action, they can support lead generation, boost traffic, and result in more sales. While this critical marketing step is commonplace in blogs, emails, and social media posts, many are surprised to learn how effective CTAs are when using direct mail marketing.

Here's how to implement high-converting CTAs within your direct mail marketing campaigns and overall omnichannel strategy.

Direct mail CTAs

Gone are the days when direct mail marketing campaigns took months to complete. Today, direct mail is automated, personalized, and measurable. 

When creating direct mail campaigns, you can set up landing pages just as you would for an email or social media campaign. These standalone pages are designed for specific campaigns to increase conversion rates, lower acquisition costs, and boost ROI.

For example, if you send a postcard to a targeted audience based on prior leads, you could include a CTA that directs the recipient to check out a URL. That unique URL will bring them to the landing page, leading the individual to a strategic CTA.

Recommended reading: The Ultimate Guide to Converting Landing Pages

The type of campaign matters

When creating direct mail CTAs, you must consider the campaign type. Every stage in the customer journey matters when aiming to grow your company.

What is your goal? What stage of the sales funnel is the target recipient in? 

Whether your goal is to get consumers to buy or subscribe, retention measures are just as vital as engagement and onboarding processes.

Operational campaigns

Operational mail CTAs are extremely straightforward, most often around asking customers to take action on paying a bill or invoice, or visiting their account to learn more about a regulated or compliance-based communication. That's not to say that operational mail can't still use A/B testing to improve CTAs or use merge variables to make direct mail more engaging, but operational mail campaigns typically don't require as much management with CTAs as marketing-based communications do.

Interested in operational mail? Get our new eBook: Operational Mail Boot Camp to get your operational mail into shape!

Operational Mail Boot Camp image

Acquisition campaigns

When creating an acquisition campaign, the recipient likely hasn't heard of you. Your message should include who you are, what you do, and ‚ÄĒ to entice them to take the next step ‚ÄĒ a strong CTA with a compelling offer.

Luckily, our own State of Consumer Insights report found that 44% of consumers prefer communication via direct mail from brands they don't know! Direct mail can be an excellent complement to your digital efforts to see what channels, campaigns, and CTAs drive real action for new customers.

Keep the following goals and tips in mind:

  • Grab attention, which is something direct mail marketing is incredibly effective at based on high response rates.
  • Introduce your brand and why you matter to the prospect.
  • Create a strong CTA that is measurable.

USPS reported that 79% of consumers would take immediate action from a mailpiece. So, make the CTA clear and ensure your tactics focus on trackable results.

For example, if you have a restaurant and want to get new customers or encourage loyal customers to keep returning, you could send a promotional letter or postcard. Perhaps you're hosting a tasting event ‚ÄĒ sending a piece of direct mail is an excellent way to bring awareness. To measure the campaign's success, you could include a coupon offer that can be claimed after visiting a personalized landing page.

Retention campaigns

Retention strategies focus on strengthening the relationship you have with an existing customer. 

In this case, you'll want to ensure that:

  • The campaign is personal, including the CTA messaging. You want your loyal customers to feel special, so you should create customized offers.
  • Whatever offer you include is relevant. Your existing customer base data will provide insight into past purchase history.

Let's say you send the customer a related product postcard. You could showcase a similar offering or an add-on based on their previous purchase. Sending an exclusive offer is another way to show your customer base they're valued, such as a birthday or VIP discount.

Read more: When customer retention is mission-critical, intelligent direct mail delivers

Reactivation campaigns

Do your dormant customers need to hear from you? Direct mail campaigns can help increase customer lifetime value (CLV). Whether consumers purchase less often or have canceled their accounts, you'll want to initiate the reactivation cycle.

Research shows that when using direct mail, 38% of Lob customers see reactivation rates increase by over 10%. It's a crucial part of many strategies, as 72% of marketers use direct mail alongside email for maximum reactivation impact.

Dive deeper into how Marley Spoon achieved a 263% higher conversion rate with direct mail than email, driving 20% of reactivation conversions.

Direct mail best practices to consider

Consider these direct mail best practices to optimize campaigns and boost ROI:

  • Understand your audience's intent ‚ÄĒ You have to understand what your audience's intent is when looking at your brand. Are they coming to you to solve a problem? Are they coming back to you because they're loyal customers? By understanding their intent, you can change up the words you use (in an acquisition campaign you might use words like "discover," or "achieve," but retention campaigns could feature words like, "continue to love," "level up your experience," etc.), what action you ask them to take, or even invoke FOMO to drive quicker action.
  • Ensure you have one CTA ‚ÄĒ Sometimes, direct mail includes more than one CTA, allowing multiple conversion opportunities. However, one strong, personalized CTA will be more impactful than multiple CTAs that drive few conversions. Often, you'll create different direct mail CTAs based on your segmented target audience.
  • Run A/B tests ‚ÄĒ A/B testing is essential to identify which elements of your campaigns are most effective when aiming to acquire, convert, or retain customers. Altering the language in your CTA and testing variations will allow you to compare response rates. Here are six strategies plus an example of how iExit used A/B testing to find the best direct format for its target audience, resulting in a 155% ROI.
  • Pair your CTA with your marketing goals ‚ÄĒ Creating direct mail CTAs without a specific goal will waste resources. Your CTA needs to align with specific objectives to ensure higher conversion rates, just like you need to consider your segment's intent. Determine what you're trying to achieve and develop a strategy that helps you reach your goal and measure the campaign's progress. For example, see how thredUP reactivated customers through postcards by promoting their "best offer EVER" ‚ÄĒ a 45% off discount code and a unique URL to redeem.

Ready to slide into your customers' DM - Direct Mail? Watch this episode of the Lobcast Podcast to learn how to integrate direct mail with your other marketing tactics!

Take action on improving your direct mail with Lob

Ready to harness the power of direct mail marketing this year and beyond? Lob is the only automation platform that turns direct mail into intelligent mail. Join the 11,000+ innovative companies leveraging Lob's modern SaaS platform ‚ÄĒ book a demo or contact us today!

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