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December 6, 2021

How To Improve Your Marketing Workflow With Direct Mail Automation

by 
Guest Author

Marketing agency McCarthy & King states that a direct mail campaign can take “5-10 weeks to plan, create and implement.” They also estimate that it will take “another week or two” for the finished mailer to arrive at its destination.

Thanks to advances in automation, workflows that used to take months, now take days. To understand how direct mail automation tools can save you time and money, Mike Tuffley. Lob's Director of Solutions Engineering presented an action-packed webinar, The Secret Ingredient to Lighting Fast, Predictable Direct Mail. The webinar covered how direct mail automation tools help you speed up campaigns and target mailers more precisely, so your recipients receive valuable, relevant mail. Read on for our top webinar takeaways and click here to listen to all the learnings.

Speed up your marketing workflow with a pre-built HTML template

If you use an email service provider such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor, you’ve probably used one of their pre-built HTML email templates. You can now create a direct mailpiece just as easily without having to pay and wait for a designer to do it for you.

Direct mail automation platforms like Lob offer ready-to-use templates for letters, postcards, folded self-mailers, and even envelopes. You provide the copy and images and drop them into your chosen template.

If you want to use your own template saved as a PDF, Lob can convert that file into HTML. From there, you can add your desired images and copy. You can schedule the piece to be mailed as soon as you’ve finished your design.

Myriad Women’s Health used Lob’s templates to automate its billing mailer design process. One template, in particular, had a perforation with a pre-addressed slip that patients could easily drop into the included return envelope, eliminating any hassle. Myriad saw patient payments increase by 20% and a reduction in customer service inquiries.

Personalize and test multiple mailers in minutes

You’ve designed your new mailer, but what if you want to alternate the images and copy based on your customers’ previous interactions with you? Without automation, customizing fields can add significant time to your marketing workflow. McCarthy & King claims that production for a customized mailer typically takes two to four weeks to complete.

Why so long? Because you would need to create a spreadsheet containing all the fields you want to customize alongside the personalized content for each of those fields. With automation, you can customize mailers in minutes using simple lines of code. The code tells your automation platform’s API which content to pull from your CRM and where it goes in the mailer.

This feature is beneficial if you want to A/B test different designs to see which one resonates most with your audience. Whether you’re testing one mailer or a dozen, automation platforms like Lob can save you days of preparation.

Business intelligence platform Saylent needed a fast and efficient direct mail customization option. With Lob, Saylent’s clients could run customized campaigns that provided relevant messaging to their customers, leading to greater engagement and stronger customer relationships.

“Lob created a more efficient process with more flexibility and saves everyone time and resources,” said Laura Costello, Saylent’s head of marketing.

Send mailers fast with a direct mail automation platform

Fast direct mail design isn’t the only way to improve your marketing workflow. With a direct mail automation platform and a few integrations, there’s no need to aggregate addresses from different reports into a spreadsheet before sending it to a printer.

With Lob’s direct mail automation API, you can print and mail your newly designed piece with a few clicks. For example, if you’re a Salesforce user, you can use Veezla — Lob’s native Salesforce integration — to automatically send your address data to Lob’s network of printers. Lob routes the job to the printer that’s closest to where you send your direct mail campaign, ensuring that the finished pieces get to the USPS even faster.

You no longer have to create a spreadsheet, vet printers, or make sure your mailers get to the post office. Lob’s direct mail automation API helped the insurance company CPH reduce the lead time on their campaigns by 98%, from weeks to an hour.

Clean your data in a fraction of the time

If mailers have incorrect or missing address information you risk them being undeliverable which is a waste of time and money. To save both, let a direct mail automation platform like Lob handle this work for you.

Lob can automatically add missing postal data to any direct mailpiece that needs it. If your addresses live in Salesforce, Lob partner Veezla can audit your data before mailing. If you don’t use Salesforce, Lob’s API will do the trick.

Each piece of mail sent by Lob contains a barcode that the USPS scans throughout the delivery process. If a mailer does bounce, Lob’s API relays that information automatically to a customer dashboard.

This feature is essential for CouchSurfing, which connects travelers looking to share their homes with others. Address and member verification help CouchSurfing build trust in their community. When a new member signs up, Lob’s API ensures that their address is real. The second the new member finishes signing up, CouchSurfing sends a postcard through Lob to confirm that the member lives at the entered address.

Track mail automatically

The same barcode that tracks returned mail also tracks the final delivery to a customer. The scan occurs when the mailer has been approved for delivery at the recipient's nearest postal facility. The mailer reaches the mailbox within one business day of this tracking event.

Lob uses this barcode to track the delivery progress in its partner dashboard automatically. You can see when individual pieces arrive at their destination and use delivery time frames to better optimize future campaigns.

Mail tracking is particularly valuable for Ameelio, an app that enables loved ones to communicate with incarcerated family members. Users can send letters to incarcerated friends and family members the same way they send a text or picture. Using a webhook, Ameelio can show its users the progress of their letters directly in the app and let them know when their mail arrives successfully.

Speed up and strengthen your direct mail campaigns with automation

More efficient marketing workflows through the use of a direct mail automation platform saves you time and gets your content in front of customers faster. To learn more about modern direct mail workflows, check out our ebook, Modernizing the Direct Mail Process.

Contact us for a demo to learn more about how Lob can help you crush your direct mail marketing goals.

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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