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May 24, 2022

Making Your Direct Mail Campaigns Work Smarter

by 
Stephanie Donelson

When it comes to making intelligent direct mail a part of your marketing campaigns, it’s important that you’re maximizing what it can do to help you reach customers and drive conversions. As with any marketing tactic, this requires optimization using all the data and technology at your disposal. Traditionally, direct mail isn’t the most technology-forward medium, but with Lob’s many integrations, attribution methods, and optimization tactics, direct mail optimization is as simple as possible.

Read on to learn our top tips to optimize your intelligent direct mail campaigns.

Warning signs it's time to revisit and optimize your direct mail marketing

Before we dive into best practices for optimizing direct mail, let's first cover the warning signs that help identify marketing campaigns that need a refresh.

Performance is dropping

Common KPIs or OKRs across marketing organizations are around engagement and action metrics such as open rate, click-through rate, social media engagement rate, website bounce rate, and of course conversion rate. Direct mail has its own set of performance metrics:

  • Direct mail impressions
  • Response rate
  • Conversion rate, which can be measured by website visits, phone calls, purchases, in-store visits, etc.
  • Revenue generated per mail-piece
  • ROI

We set goals for our marketing campaigns' performance and we track them to set benchmarks. If your direct mail performance is dipping below its benchmark or not hitting its goals, it's time to take a closer look at optimizing these campaigns. 

Curious to learn more about direct mail metrics? Learn what metrics to track to measure direct mail performance.

You're only employing it for one use case

Our State of Direct Mail found that marketers rely on direct mail for both acquisition and retention. Our research shows the breakdown of use cases for direct mail breaks out as:

  • 29% targeting existing customers
  • 27% acquiring new customers
  • 22% focusing on customer advocacy/referrals
  • 21% targeting dormant customers for winback or mitigating churn

If you're only using direct mail for one use case you could be missing out on opportunities to further engage customers or increase ROI. Our State of Direct Mail study also found that only 5% of enterprise marketers use direct mail as a stand-alone tactic. It's not surprising given how far marketing software has come in integrating with other solutions to run a campaign that isn't solely stuck on a screen or found in the mailbox.

Look through your best-performing re-engagement nurture emails or retargeting ads to see what you can replicate in a physical format. Keep in mind this doesn't have to be a replacement effort as online and offline channels perform best when they work together. Marketers we've talked to note that when pairing digital and direct mail they've seen a 60% increase in ROI.

An in-depth look at a use case: See how Marley Spoon used direct mail marketing to mitigate customer churn.

Return to sender

Like emails bouncing due to bad data, if you're seeing a large percentage of your direct mail being marked as undeliverable or returned to sender not only is that a warning sign campaigns need to be optimized, it's also a warning sign about your customer database and the validity of its data. Having bad customer data is costly. Bad customer data quickly leads to wasted dollars on direct mail and wasted productivity on your marketing team. We'll cover a quick fix to this problem with Address Verification later in this post.

Work smarter, not harder with intelligent direct mail

Now that we know how to identify direct mail campaigns that require optimization, let's review specific optimization opportunities to improve marketing results.

Consider your creative

The simplest place to start optimizing your direct mail is by taking a solid look at your campaign’s creative. If you don’t see the results you want from your campaign, you might consider changing the imagery you’re using, simplifying your CTAs, changing your messaging and copy, or adding a promo code to your pieces. To determine which creative choices best resonate with your direct mail audience, you may even want to conduct an A/B test on some of these variables.

Making decisions on your campaign's creative can be difficult, especially when related to direct mail optimization. Luckily, Lob has a library of templates that are tested and proven to be effective. If your brand or campaign has specific requirements, these templates can be modified to meet your needs. As you go through the direct mail optimization process, the creative can be adjusted in real-time, with no print batching requirements.  

Automate and refine your program

Part of making direct mail work for your marketing goals as effectively as possible means ensuring that the right message is reaching the right customer at the right moment in their specific journey with your brand. Lob’s direct mail automation through the Print & Mail API allows you to set programmatic triggers based on integrations with other technologies you use for marketing, sales, and service daily.

By adding an additional trigger or adjusting where the trigger takes place in your overall marketing program, you have the opportunity to ensure that your messages are reaching customers at critical moments after engaging with your brand. The direct mail program doesn’t have any batch or minimum print requirements, and mail pieces deployed through the program typically reach their recipient within four days of the trigger.

Most important for optimization is having a clear understanding of how and when your direct mail is delivered. Thanks to Lob’s insights and analytics capabilities, you always have a clear picture of how your direct mail is performing so you can make data-driven decisions about your marketing campaign as a whole.

Minimize waste on address data

Direct mail optimization isn’t just about maximizing impressions and conversions and minimizing wasted costs. The most critical way to do that when it comes to direct mail is to ensure that your pieces are consistently deliverable and that your address data is as accurate as possible. With accurate data, you maximize your postage and print costs and your odds of conversions.

Lob’s state-of-the-art Address Verification APIs automate the work of standardizing and correcting addresses to verify deliverability, correct errors, and maintain an evergreen database. Using this tool, you’ll have clear and concise data about deliverability, verified by USPS and CASS, that helps ensure you have a clear understanding of our full database. You will have complete and accurate data, but you’ll also have insight into whether your addresses are commercial buildings, residential buildings, and PO boxes—giving you some additional insight into your audiences.

Lob also offers detailed insights about an address’s deliverability and mail tracking events, helping you optimize your direct mail database for your current campaigns while broadening your options for future direct mail marketing efforts.

Optimize your full direct mail campaign with additional impressions

Data is a critical element of direct mail optimization, and few direct mail companies offer the tactical insights and data for direct mail marketing that Lob does. Having data to back the decisions you make about your marketing program is the foundation, and having a way to access that data without pulling manual reports and estimating impressions manually.

Lob has unique expertise in helping brands from a wide range of industries craft highly tactical direct mail campaigns that perform to drive conversions, nurture loyalty, and communicate mission-critical messages to prospects and customers. Lob’s direct mail capabilities include not the ability to send these deployments when they make the most sense but also the ability to map direct mail to the rest of your customer journey and integrate it with your full stack of marketing technology. Are you interested in how Lob can serve your brand?

Schedule a demo to see how Lob helps improve efficiency and results for direct mail marketing.

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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