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August 2, 2021

Revamp Your Lead Generation Campaigns with Direct Mail

Over 20% of the posts we see on Instagram are ads, according to a WhistleOut survey. If the average person spends about an hour on Instagram every day, they’re getting fed a lot of digital ads. It’s no wonder digital ads have such a miserable response rate of 1%. Marketers are left wondering how they can break through this digital noise and generate leads.

The answer may be to find a channel that isn’t digital, like direct mail. Take advantage of direct mail’s response rate of 9% by segmenting your audience, personalizing your direct mail, and adding a digital element to your direct mail lead generation campaigns.

Why Use Direct Mail for Lead Generation?

Email is an essential part of your marketing strategy, but it’s not necessarily the best for lead generation. This is, in part, because you have your audience’s express permission to email them before funneling them into your email marketing campaign. If they’ve given you this permission, then they’re already a lead, and you’re now running a nurturing campaign.

You don’t need permission to send direct mail, however. This makes it a great channel for lead generation. Here are a few ways you can generate leads with direct mail:

  • Promote events: local events, conferences, online sales events, and more. For example, Verizon could send mail to advertise an online trade-in event or giveaway.
  • Boost foot traffic: promote in-store events and give out in-store-only coupons. The store doesn’t have to be local! Ulta, for example, could send mail to anyone within 10 miles of a storefront to advertise their 21 Days of Beauty event.
  • Increase purchases or sign-ups: lead your audience to a landing page or an ecommerce site with special offers or coupons to encourage conversions. For example, HelloFresh could send an offer for three free meal delivery boxes to people in their most popular cities who have not yet tried HelloFresh.
  • Stand out from your competitors: target those who use another similar service and might be willing to switch. AT&T could send direct mail to people who currently use a different internet provider with a special offer to switch. If they switch and enjoy the service, this may also boost word-of-mouth marketing.

Using direct mail is not only a unique way to drive leads and stand out from the digital noise; it’s also a good way to get around the privacy laws on many digital platforms. And with the death of third-party cookies and the fact that only 6% of people in the U.S. opted into tracking after the iOS 14.5 update, finding new ways to reach your customers will be more essential than ever.

Best Practices for Direct Mail Lead Generation

Lead generation campaigns are all about first impressions, so it’s important to follow best practices to make sure your first impression is memorable (in a good way).

Segment your audience

Sending direct mail to people who are never going to buy your product is not just a bad experience for your audience; it’s also a waste of money.

Let’s say you’re a retail store running a lead gen campaign in September. You probably shouldn’t advertise the same clothing to those in Maine as you do in Florida.

Or maybe you’re a home improvement company, such as Lowe’s. You’ll be better off advertising to home addresses, not apartment addresses. Or you could come up with a campaign specific to apartments by advertising apartment-friendly products, such as temporary wallpaper or Command Strips.

Segment your audience to optimize your direct mail spend and ensure recipients get direct mail that is relevant to them.

Stick to one CTA

To avoid confusing or overwhelming your recipient, add one call-to-action, not multiple. Multiple CTAs might leave your audience wondering which one to use, if they produce the same results, etc.

Including one CTA also makes it easier for you to track results. If you have a QR code that sends them to a landing page and a URL that sends them to a product page, it may be difficult to interpret the data you collect through that campaign.

Make sure it’s clear what you want them to do and/or what they will get as well. If they follow the QR code on your direct mail expecting to get a discount only to realize you’re advertising a new product, they won’t be happy.

Make the offer accessible

There’s no use in sending direct mail if they won’t be able to use it! Pay attention to these three things when designing your direct mail and choosing your recipients:

Distance

Let’s say you’re using direct mail to increase foot traffic. There’s no reason for Sephora to mail in-store-only coupons to people who live miles away from the nearest Sephora, is there? If your goal is to increase foot traffic, make sure your recipients are actually near one of your storefronts.

For example, this restaurant in Oklahoma City didn’t just send direct mail across the city. They sent it to people within walking distance.


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If you’re a large company like Sephora, REI, or Walmart, you probably don’t want to go so far as to send mail only to those within walking distance of your storefronts. But you should make sure recipients are within easy driving distance of a storefront if you’re going to give an in-store-only coupon.

Mobile-friendliness

Web pages should be accessible, too. Last year, mobile website visits surpassed desktop visits. If your website has a bad mobile experience, your audience may bounce before they can convert.

If you’re using QR codes for CTAs and tracking, a bad mobile experience could be especially damaging to your campaign. QR codes are scanned with smartphones, which means most if not all of the site visits you drive from your direct mail campaign will land on your mobile site.

If you’re using a personalized URL instead of a QR code, shorten the URL, so your recipients can easily type it into their computer or mobile phone.

Lifespan

An email has a short lifespan. Users can look at an email and decide whether to follow the CTA or delete it within seconds. The average lifetime for a piece of mail, however, is 17 days.

When including discount codes, personalized URLs, or limited-time products, take lifespan into consideration.

For example, Best Buy might send a discount code to use on a new TV. A TV isn’t necessarily something people buy on a whim. They may have to wait for their next paycheck or rework their budget before purchasing. If the coupon expires a few days after delivery, it may not be as effective as it could’ve been with a longer lifespan.

If your company is sending out coupon codes to generate leads, set the expiration date for the code accordingly.

Personalize your direct mail, CTAs, and landing pages

According to a HubSpot survey, personalized CTAs perform 202% better than standard CTAs. And with a direct mail lead generation campaign, you have not one but two chances to personalize CTAs.

On the direct mail: With a lead gen campaign, you may not always have the names of your recipients yet, but if you do, use a platform like Lob to customize the CTAs on your direct mail. Lob can automate this process, so you can personalize at scale.

On your landing page: You’re likely using direct mail to send recipients to a digital landing page. Consider using personalized URLs or QR codes to send recipients to their own personalized web page.

This doesn’t mean building out a different web page for each recipient. It means building a responsive, smart web page that dynamically personalizes the page depending on who is visiting.

For example, Clearbit’s home page dynamically changes the content depending on who is visiting the page.

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You can apply this same personalization to your own web pages to take the personalization experience from the mailbox to the web page.

Track and optimize your results

QR codes, personalized URLs, and custom discount codes aren’t just great for personalization. They’re also useful for tracking the results of your direct mail lead generation campaigns.

Use these tracking methods for A/B testing to see which campaigns get the best results. Platforms like Lob can help you take testing a step further with multivariate testing and modular HTML templates to reduce the time and cost of redesigning your mail.

Platforms like Lob can also automate the tracking process, so you can know your mail got delivered before the recipient even follows your CTA. Then, if a recipient makes a purchase or if you’ve gathered any other behavioral data, use that data to personalize future direct mail as thredUP did. thredUP used Lob to automatically personalize their direct mail imagery based on individual customers’ past purchases.

Keep in Touch

Once you’ve captured a lead, don’t let it go. Funnel them into an email campaign or retarget them with another direct mail campaign or other digital initiatives. You can use automation tools to tie your direct mail and digital lead generation campaigns together in an omnichannel strategy. To learn more about how to integrate your direct and digital marketing strategies, check out this resource.


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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