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June 21, 2022

How to Use Your Marketing Data to Influence Your Next Direct Mail Campaign

by 
Stephanie Donelson

Marketers live and breathe data. In today's data-driven world, we don't invest in marketing technology that doesn't have a whole suite of analytics capabilities and we're hesitant to invest in tactics that we can't accurately measure and report on.

We constantly track metrics, measure results, and mine our data to inform future campaigns. Often we look at our marketing data in silos and apply learnings from one channel to that channel only. But, what if we applied findings to other marketing tactics to further optimize omnichannel campaigns? Let's explore how metrics from other channels can help you create better direct mail campaigns.

Top sources of data you can use

When crafting — or fine-tuning — your direct mail marketing campaign based on digital marketing metrics, you may have a hard time figuring out exactly where to start. This is often the case, especially if you have so many platforms and a metric ton of audiences to work with.

One of the best places to start is by going where the numbers tell you to go. For your website, you may take advantage of several web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics. For social media platforms, social media analytics tools can give you a solid metric on what your audience spends most of their time on. And, we're all familiar with the different metrics email marketing tracks.

These tools and metrics, particularly those that automate marketing campaigns, can help you uncover patterns and insights from a huge amount of data you can use to enhance your direct mail marketing strategies.

Data-driven direct mail campaigns: What marketing metrics to analyze

Why are we telling you to look at other data sources to help optimize your direct mail marketing campaigns? Because your customers and prospects use a variety of channels to engage with your brand and by understanding how they interact with these different channels, you can create more effective campaigns. Ready to dive into the metrics you can use to create optimized direct mail pieces? Let's go!

Catch your customers' attention with other interests in your direct mail campaign. Source: Who's Mailing What!

Website metrics

  • Traffic sources and mediums: What channels are already doing the heavy lifting in referring traffic back to your site? If it's email marketing, take a closer look at the design, copy, and calls-to-action (CTAs) that are driving visits and replicate that campaign in a direct mail format.
  • Bounce rate: Bounce rate isn't just a great metric for assessing the health of your website or specific pages, it can also help you understand the attention span of your target audience and answer the questions for your next direct mail campaign, like: How quickly do you need to get to the point? Is your copy compelling? Is your CTA strong enough? Is your content relevant, valuable, and holding their interest?
  • Acquisition - campaigns: Take a look at the campaigns that are driving website visitors and like analyzing the sources and mediums, what takeaways can you glean that will help create a winning direct mail campaign? Was it the offer of the campaign? The creative or design? Was it a campaign an influencer helped your brand with? How can you bring those successful campaigns offline?
  • Conversions: What pages of your website or what specific campaign could use more budget and be turned into a piece of direct mail to drive even more results after its digital run? It's also a good idea to take a closer look at the content on those pages that are driving more conversions to understand what words or design elements are closing the deal.
  • Audience geography: Take personalization to the next level by sending state-specific campaigns that a large percentage of your website visitors live in.
  • Audience demographics: Drill down into your audience demographics to discover other types of personalization you can use. Does your audience skew towards a certain gender? Is your audience comprised of customers in a certain age bracket? This could help you design new creative that evokes nostalgia specific to this audience.
  • Audience interests: A unique report that can help inform your direct mail campaigns is the audience interests. Does a vast majority of your audience also show an affinity for entertainment? Newsjack an upcoming TV show or movie release and align a marketing campaign with it to catch their interest.
  • Audience mobile: Are most of your website visitors using a desktop or laptop or are they visiting your site on a mobile device? If they're coming from a computer, they may prefer custom URLs or personalized URLs, whereas if they're always on the go, a QR code on your mailpiece might be preferable.
  • Users by time of day: You won't have control over what time of day your direct mail is delivered, but this metric can also give you insight to what days of the week people are more apt to visit your site which would be the ideal timing for your campaign to hit their mailbox. Especially with a direct mail automation tool that lets you schedule campaigns ahead of time.

Social media metrics

  • Engagement rate: It stands to reason that content that engages your target audience on social media will also hold their interest when it's actually in their hands instead of on a screen.
  • Clicks: Similar to engagement rate, measuring what social media posts had the most clicks can help you craft better copy and CTAs for your mailpieces.
  • Impressions: Like tracking time of day in Google Analytics, you can dive deep into your social media impressions to see what days your content is getting more views and time your next direct mail campaign with popular days for your audience.  
  • Follower growth: Assess your follower growth over the last year and identify if it was a steady climb or if there were spikes of activity around certain social media campaigns that deserve to become print campaigns.
Source: Who's Mailing What!

Email metrics

  • Open rate: Countless emails have been A/B tested just to find the sweet spot for improving open rates so use this data to your benefit by understanding what copy drives people to open your emails. These results should translate well in print mail. Should your mailpiece lead with a question? Should it tell the recipient why they should keep reading? Should it tease a product release or promotion? Review your best subject lines to inform the copy on your direct mail.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): Review your CTR to understand if your CTAs are effective and if your content is compelling. If your recipients are clicking through to learn more in an email you can replicate that with quality copy on a print piece and a QR code to make it as easy as clicking a button in an email.
  • Unsubscribe rate: Sometimes unsubscribe rates point at issues with your marketing database and other times they point at issues with an email marketing strategy. If customers are unsubscribing from emails because they're too frequent or not personalized enough, you still keep them engaged with your brand - just not in their inbox. Create a direct mail campaign specific to customers that have unsubscribed from emails but keep the piece to the point and send less frequently than your email cadence.
  • Revenue per email: Did a certain email campaign really drive revenue? Take some of those profits and invest some marketing dollars into turning that campaign into a direct mail piece.
  • Bounce: Emails bounce for a variety of reasons. Customers may have fat-fingered their email address, their inbox may be full, or they provided an invalid email address to begin with. If you're finding the latter is true for your database it could be a sign it's time to start scrubbing your database or even adding address verification to your process, especially checkout, to ensure your data is clean.

Direct mail ROI throughout the customer lifecycle

Two-thirds of enterprise marketers agree that direct mail shows the best ROI of all their current marketing channels. Across all industries, marketers utilize direct mail marketing as a more holistic approach to continue engaging with their audience. This means that marketing strategists are increasingly using it even for lifecycle-focused omnichannel campaigns without limiting their focus on acquisition alone, but also highlighting retention, re-engagement, and even referrals.

There is so much more to a successful direct mail marketing campaign than a well-crafted artful narrative that revolves around your brand's vision and mission. Ultimately, the success of your campaign can't be determined by one metric alone. A good indicator of success is often a combination of these five best metrics, which can help you measure your strategy's effectiveness.

Put your data to work: 4 best practices for direct mail

Integrate direct mail into your omnichannel marketing strategy

Direct mail allows you to add a physical touchpoint and an alternative to endless scrolling and screens. By collecting additional demographic data from people who have responded to your online CTA (e.g., liking your Facebook page), you can map out audience journeys and objectives that customers can literally hold in their hands.

For example, if you're targeting ecologically conscious professionals, you could request their address to send a sustainable direct mail campaign strategy using eco-conscious mailers.

Personalize mailers for your target audience

Personalizing your mailers can potentially increase the performance of your campaign. When it comes to customizing your direct mail campaign, you can start with using personalized images that specifically respond to your target audience, ensuring that your mailers are leaving an impression on your intended audience. You can also use your social media channels to find out how your audience is planning for major events and celebrations — let's say you launched a mini-series on Instagram about Christmas — so you can take advantage of that by sending out mailers that correspond to their reactions.

You can check out these personalized direct mail examples to inspire your marketing campaigns for more ideas on how to customize your mailers. With how sophisticated automation works these days, you no longer have to do the majority of the heavy lifting for a personalized direct mail strategy to be successful. You can now even get more ROI using direct mail automation, which should help you increase your mail response rate.

Target your audience more than once

Just because you were able to successfully send mailers to your potential customers doesn't automatically mean you're getting a lead conversion. For your direct mail campaign to really work, you have to continue to target the same audience list more than once. One example would be incorporating trigger-based direct mail marketing tactics into your main campaign or attempting to include direct mail attribution as part of the bigger picture. You can make sure that your mailing lists are always up to date by occasionally sending emails to your customers and asking them for updates to validate their addresses.

Measure the performance of your mailers

We're already talking marketing metrics and data so make sure you're tracking your efforts with direct mail. There are now a lot of ways for you to track your mailers, such as QR codes or tracking links. With all the available data, you can learn how to use direct mail tracking to optimize your campaigns.

An increase in ROI, higher leads, and conversion all outweigh the price of a direct mail campaign. However, for this to happen, keep in mind that you have to execute the right marketing strategies and let the numbers tell you where you should go.

Schedule a demo to see just how to track direct mail using Lob's Print & Mail and Address Verification APIs.

This blog provides general information and discussion about direct mail marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.

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