Inductive Direct Mail Strategy Leads to a Better Creative Space

Sometimes marketers get stuck in a direct mail strategy rut. They find a direct mail format that works and just stick to it. Over time, the ROI shrinks, but not enough to spend time making changes.

Sometimes marketers get stuck in a direct mail strategy rut. They find a direct mail format that works and just stick to it. Over time, the ROI shrinks, but not enough to spend time making changes.

This is easy, but not the right thing to do. When you get to this point, you need to get outside your comfortable box and create a new direct mail approach. This goes beyond thinking outside of the box, but to creating a whole new type of box. What do I mean?

It is time to use inductive thinking to get to a better creative space. What is inductive thinking? It is when you observe something and you use that information to create something new. Why use it? Because this type of thinking causes you to ask questions, challenge rules and take risks you would not normally take. This leads to new and better ideas.

So how can we apply this to your next direct mail marketing strategy?

  1. Doubt Everything — Question what you think you know about your direct mail. This includes all your beliefs, perceptions, and assumptions. Only after you do this are you open to new creative thinking. This is the hardest part of creating a new direct mail approach, but it is worth the effort. This step gets you thinking differently.
  2. Probe the Possible — You start this with the questions or issues you discovered in Step 1 to see which areas of focus will be most important. Beyond that, you will want to dig into customer insights, which are extremely important. You need to go into the minds of your customers to discover why, where, when, and how they choose to buy from you, as well as why others don’t buy from you. You are searching to refine any questions or problems you see with your direct mail campaigns.
  3. Diverge — In this step, you will take what you learned from Steps 1 and 2 to focus on the one true problem you wish to address. In many cases, this will be: “How can I increase my direct mail response rate?” You will then come up with as many ideas as you can, no matter how crazy they are. Get creative here. Consider “anything is possible” and “how can it fix my problem?” This step is for creativity and brainstorming.
  4. Converge — Now you are ready to move on to analyzing what you came up with to find the solution that will work best. You will need to use logic and practicality here. This is where you translate your ideas into reality.
  5. Reevaluate — Here you will evaluate how your new direct mail campaign worked. What are the areas of improvement? What else can be tried? You can and should be doing A/B testing to see which designs, offers, lists, and so on perform best. Constant vigilance and tracking are required to create and maintain powerful direct mail.

This process can lead to direct mail that is new and effective when you are able to get the right people in the room for effective communication and you allow enough time for each step to really dig deep. The more time you spend with each step, the better your results are going to be, keeping in mind that this process never really ends. After each campaign, you will evaluate what you did and then start the process to make it even better next time. Are you ready to get started?

3 Martech Tools to Optimize Direct Mail Campaigns

The powerful targeting of direct mail can help you punch through all the marketing noise people are exposed to each day. Martech tools provide ways to make an even greater impact with your campaigns by cross-pollinating between channels.

The powerful targeting of direct mail can help you punch through all the marketing noise people are exposed to each day. Martech tools provide ways to make an even greater impact with your campaigns by cross-pollinating between channels.

Many marketers find this to be cumbersome and expensive, but what if there is a better way? Check out these statistics:

  • Companies that use multichannel marketing experience three-times higher effectiveness rates than those that use non-integrated campaigns (source).
  • 23X higher rates of customer satisfaction are experienced by companies with omni-channel strategies (Aberdeen Group)
  • 89% of customers are retained by companies with omnichannel engagement strategies (Invesp)
  • 45% of marketers feel they lack the necessary talent, technology, and processes to master omnichannel brand marketing (CMO Council)

So how can you harness these stats to improve your direct mail response rates? You know that on average it takes eight to 10 touches with a prospect to convince them to buy from you. So when you create campaigns using multiple channels, you make a bigger impact and provide more opportunities to convert them. You want your marketing to create engagement that leads to sales. Direct mail is a key component in your marketing strategy, but it is not the only one. So how can you easily pull together a multichannel campaign? Here are some options.

3 Platforms to Enhance Your Direct Mail

  • DirectMail.io: They offer an integrated omnichannel marketing program. Their services include data management, direct mail, email, live call center, SMS solutions, social media, and Amazon and Google voice assistant integration. This platform has flexible software that combines data, marketing, communications, and analytics, all in one place. DirectMail.io provides a simple solution that seamlessly integrates over 12 inbound and outbound marketing channels, allowing advertisers to launch, manage, and track all of their marketing efforts in one place.
  • SnailWorks: SnailWorks tracks mail using Informed Visibility from the Postal Service, which allows them to track each individual piece of mail to delivery, and then uses that delivery to trigger other marketing efforts, such as email, telemarketing, web advertising, and more. They take all of these disparate channels and tie them into a single campaign along with a web-based dashboard that shows real-time results and distributes leads for the campaign. Recently, SnailWorks added Direct2Digital ID to its service offerings. Direct2Digital ID provides mailers with an easy way to participate in the new Postal Service Informed Delivery program.
  • DirectMail2.0DirectMail2.0 suite uses seven different technologies, timed in such a way as to result in the best possible lift in a direct mail campaign. These seven technologies seamlessly track, enhance, and prove attribution on any direct mail campaign. It does this through incorporating Mail Tracking, Informed Delivery, Call Tracking, Online Follow-up, Social Media Follow-up, Social Match, and LeadMatch technologies. No need to be an expert in multiple types of digital technology. Just upload a processed mailing list with an ad or two and the platform does the rest.

As you can see, there are great platforms to choose from to enhance the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns. In 2019, your customers and prospects expect to engage with you on multiple channels. Create more powerful direct mail campaigns by integrating them into a multichannel experience. Become one of the statistics above. Marketing experiences really matter and can make the difference between an okay campaign and a fabulous one. Are you ready to be fabulous? Get started on integrating your direct mail with other channels.

Conversions Are More Important Than Traffic With Google Ads and 3 Steps to Up Them

What’s the difference between successful (profitable) and unsuccessful (unprofitable) Google Ads advertisers? Successful advertisers focus more on conversions than traffic.

conversionsAnybody can spend money on Google Ads. But only a small percentage of advertisers earn a healthy profit from their investments in advertising. So, what’s the difference between successful (profitable) and unsuccessful (unprofitable) advertisers?

Unsuccessful advertisers focus on traffic. Successful advertisers focus on conversion. They understand that conversion is what really makes or breaks an advertising campaign.

In this context, we can define conversion as the ability to turn website visitors into customers. If you can convert on traffic at higher rates than your competitors, you’ll not only profit more, but you’ll be able to expand your reach and gain more market share.

Of course, traffic and conversion go hand-in-hand. You need traffic in order to get more conversions and customers. But in the scheme of things, conversion is way more important than traffic. Conversion is where all the leverage is. And to succeed with advertising, you must prioritize conversion over traffic.

You may be wondering, “Why is a conversion more important than traffic?” The answer is that your conversion rate places a limit on your traffic. For example…

  • If you have really low conversions … Only a tiny percentage of website visitors are converting into customers, and that means you’re probably losing money on your advertising, and you’ll have to stop or you’ll go broke.
  • If you have mediocre conversions …. Only a small percentage of your website visitors are converting into customers, and then you’ll have to “retreat” and find places where you can still earn a profit. Your traffic potential is very limited.
  • But if you have really strong conversions … You’re converting more website visitors into customers, compared with your competition. As a result, you’ll have the money to expand your advertising. Essentially, high conversion rates provide the funding to buy traffic.

Here’s the process you should take to create and fine-tune a high-converting advertising campaign:

Step 1: Always Run the Numbers Before You Run Ads

Never pull the trigger on an ad campaign before you run the numbers. You need to know how much you can really afford to get a click, generate a lead and acquire a new customer. Do some “back of the envelope” calculations to see what kind of conversion rates you’d need to have for your advertising to be profitable.

Step 2. Put Your Best Foot Forward

Once you run the numbers, you’ll probably need to make some improvements to your conversion systems in order to make the numbers work in your favor. You’ll want to create a high-converting landing page. You also may need to adjust your offer and pricing, improve your sales/closing process, put upsells in place and create a follow-up sequence.

The important thing is to do this before you buy traffic, so you’ll have confidence you can actually make money from your ads. Always avoid advertising into a “leaky” funnel, because that’s just asking to lose money.

Step 3. Never Stop Testing

Once you’ve got your ads live, that’s really just the beginning.

Now you need to track, tweak and test in order to get your campaign to be profitable. And once your ads are profitable, you should not “set it and forget it.” Instead, you should be continually tracking, tweaking and testing your marketing funnel. This is where advertising gets really fun, because with every conversion improvement you make, you’re giving yourself a raise. Plus, you’re widening the gap between you and your competition, making it harder and harder for anybody to catch up and compete with you.

Want more tips to improve your Google advertising? Get your free copy of our Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.

 

Lead Generation Metrics — The Basics and Beyond

Lead generation metrics should help you understand not only what parts of your digital marketing are working, but what parts are generating the highest quality leads.

There are basic lead generation metrics that you must to be tracking in order to evaluate the success of your lead gen efforts. You’ll likely have to go beyond the basics to mine truly valuable insights about your efforts.

Here’s a list, that’s by no means comprehensive, of my favorite basic and more advanced metrics.

First, the basics.

Impressions

How many people are seeing your ad, your content or whatever it is you’re using to attract that audience? This is, to use another term, your reach. Your tracking and evaluation here should be on a per-channel basis, with an eye toward finding the channels that you are able to grow most cost-effectively.

Clickthrough Rate

CTR is the number of people who interact with your content. Typically, that means they click the ad or the link in your social media post, etc. (You might also want to track other types of engagement, like subscriptions.) The critical element of this metric is breaking it down to individual ads or content, including individual issues of your newsletter campaign. You want to know what is resonating with your audience and what is driving them to take action.

Conversions

A conversion can be many different things, depending on the goal you have for your lead generation campaign. (e.g. marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads, etc.) Whatever action you deem to be a conversion, it’s generally a “state change” along the buyer’s journey. That can be a move from a member of the target audience who’s never heard of you to a website visitor to a prospect to a MQL to an SQL and finally to becoming a client. Each of those state changes is a conversion that should be tracked separately.

Conversion Rate

This calculated metric is a function of conversions divided by impressions. It’s worth tracking on its own, of course, but should also be evaluated with some latitude. That is, as you expand your reach and your impressions rise, you may have a less tightly targeted audience. Of course, you’d like your conversion rate to always rise. But if it falls while the total number of conversions rise, that’s not necessarily a bad trade-off.

With these data points solidly represented in our dashboard, we can move on to additional (and increasingly useful) measurements.

Cost per Lead

What does it take to move a prospect through a stage in the funnel? How does the cost compare with other methods? (Direct mail, trade shows, etc.) How do costs compare across the various digital channels you’re using? These are the metrics that will guide your spend going forward.

Leads per Channel

Another calculated metric worth adding to your dashboard. Here, you compare how many leads a channel is generating against all other channels. It’s an analog to conversion rate in that a channel with more leads generated from a smaller audience (impressions) might be a channel worth exploring more deeply.

Time to Conversion

This metric typically takes some aggregating of data across platforms, as you’ll want to note when each state change occurs. It’s valuable to know how long it takes a typical prospect to proceed through each stage. It’s even more valuable to know this on a per-channel basis. And more valuable still to know average time-per-conversion for those prospects that become clients. You can then tailor your programs to pay more attention to those prospects who appear to be on that “golden path.”

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

CLV should be calculated across the board and broken down by channel. A channel with a slightly higher cost per lead but a 10-time increase in CLV is a great channel!

Conclusion

You may find the able list of metrics daunting to consider, especially if you’re not gathering and reviewing any of them now. If so, there’s no reason not to start small. As you become more comfortable with the data, you can expand your dashboard to include a broader range of data points and a broader possibility of action points.

Nike, Where Are You Going With Your #JustDoIt Marketing Campaign?

With Colin Kaepernick being the face of #JustDoIt, Nike stock is at a record high. Unlike most corporations desperate to stay out of the highly partisan political environment, Nike went all-in. In response, President Trump tweeted “What was Nike thinking?”

With Colin Kaepernick being the face of #JustDoIt, Nike stock is at a record high. Unlike most corporations desperate to stay out of the highly partisan political environment, Nike went all-in. In response, President Trump tweeted “What was Nike thinking?”

One answer is that Nike was thinking Kaepernick was standing up for what he believed in and that it was in-line with Nike’s own beliefs. However, that answer seems a bit naïve if you know anything about well-managed brands.

Since this latest #JustDoIt campaign, the Internet’s been flooded with conspiracy theories. I thought I would provide three theories on what Nike was really thinking.

Theory One

Nike is reading the tealeaves and is positioning itself accordingly. A high-value brand like Nike does its consumer research and its leaders evidently believe that history will be on the side of Colin Kaepernick.

Sure, Nike has taken risks before, when it launched campaigns to support causes such as gender equality or fighting ageism. While avant-garde, the campaigns did not have anywhere as much political heat as the NFL “taking a knee” controversy does. Even for Nike, this was bold and a decision like this would certainly have been backed by exhaustive research. In the end, Nike is not taking sides on the full political war, but it is on this one important issue.

Theory Two

Nike is planning to play both sides of the divide. The next campaign might involve a conservative talking point. Maybe the larger message of the campaign is that the country should be a bit less vitriolic about opposite viewpoints or that we all share a love of sports.

Admittedly, this is a long-shot theory, but one I find more digestible vs. a future where the labels on our shirts or shoes lump us in with one faction or another, which takes us to Theory Three.

Theory Three

Nike decided to fire a segment of customers (avid Trump supporters) because picking a political side is more profitable.

I have seen many companies hesitate to fire any customer. If they do, it is usually at an individual level, based on specific behaviors; such as frequently returning merchandise or driving losses in some other way.

In the rare cases where companies have guts to fire whole segments, it is usually done by simply ignoring the segment — not poking them, like this #JustDoIt campaign.

In the case of Nike, they vocally picked a political side. When other brands have been pushed into politically partisan positions by their founders, such as L.L.Bean, Under Armour and Chick-fil-A, they have quickly tried to claw back to neutral ground, claiming that the founder’s position was personal and not reflective of the brand’s.

Because this is a branded campaign featuring Kaepernick, Nike has no cover of plausible deniability. Nike unambiguously chose a political side and has so far been successful.

In the End Zone

Based on this, we may see more brands pick political sides. In the future, there may be even more politically aligned brand,s but I certainly hope that is not where we are headed.

Many of us in business try to keep our personal politics out of business. This has left our professional lives as a place where we all can find some sorely needed common ground. Yes, there are issues in every generation that prick our conscience enough to force our hand, business etiquette be damned. Those rare issues aside, for those of us who don’t want our opinions spoon-fed to us by political parties or talking heads, highly political brands are a very dystopian future.

Among the three theories I presented, I hope the third one is very wrong.

5 Hottest Trends in Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Right Now

Digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH) is one of the fastest growing and interactive forms of advertising around. When done correctly, digital out-of-home advertising is accepted more than any other type of advertising due to its advancements. It is not only a selling tool, but a way for advertisers to interact with their clients.

New York City crossroads digital advertising display
New York City crossroads digital display | Credit: Brooklyn Outdoor by Candice Simons

Digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH) is one of the fastest growing and interactive forms of advertising around.

When done correctly, digital out-of-home advertising is accepted more than any other type of advertising due to its advancements. It is not only a selling tool, but a way for advertisers to interact with their clients.

With digital advertising, comes the concern that audiences will be able to turn off the advertisement. However, with DOOH this is not the case. These types of advertisements can’t be turned off and are hard to ignore.

Digital out-of-home offers innovative technology and powerful software that makes digital out-of-home ads a force to be reckoned with.

Here are the most noteworthy trends to keep an eye out for:

1.Data-Driven Advertising

Integrating live-streaming into digital displays gives clients with the ability to provide audiences with real-time information. Giving updates on events such as the scores of sporting games or voting polls, gives audiences a clear picture of the “now.”

Although traditional out-of-home advertising is the top medium used to create lasting impressions with clients, DOOH takes this to the next level. Combining data and technology with a general marketing campaign takes advertisements from visual to experience.

2.Visual Experiences

When companies make the mistake of not incorporating out-of-home into their marketing campaign, they miss out on a great way to deliver strong visuals.

People are incredibly receptive when it comes to visuals. For this reason, digital ads care a captivating way to provide direct experiences for consumers.

Out-of-home gives clients the ability to reach audiences at bus stops, in taxis and on their routes of daily commute. This has a major impact on consumers as they are exposed to OOH ads so often, they unconsciously influence them. This is especially true when paired with mobile advertising.

3.Smart Ads Through Smart Phones

Statistics show that nearly 70 percent of Americans are smart phone users, making them the most convenient way to connect with audiences. The way to do this, is through installing beacons on digital advertisements.

Beacons are real-world data generators that give clients the opportunity to turn advertising locations into signals that market directly to their target audience. By integrating beacons into DOOH, brands can engage in real-time with consumers.

4.Brand Building the Right Way

Taking advantage of new technology and measurement platforms is an accurate way to analyze brand data and allows consumers to connect with the right audience. Out-of-home advertising is the catalyst of brand building by giving brands the ability to reach large target audiences by marketing to their specific behaviors.

5.Ads That Mean Action

OOH advertising is a tried and true method in getting audiences to take action. Engaging with consumers through a combination of OOH and mobile devices, means engagement is at the fingertips of target audiences.

Consumers are always turned on and on-the-go. This gives OOH the unsurpassed ability to bridge the gap between audiences and brands that drives action from consumers. It is without a doubt that anyone who includes OOH into their marketing mix will surely benefit.

How to Improve Your Direct Mail

We are in challenging marketing times. Every dollar spent matters, and in direct mail there are a lot of dollars spent. They are worth it when you are getting good results, but many times that is not the case. The problem is not with the direct mail channel, but rather with your mail campaign.

sales emailWe are in challenging marketing times. Every dollar spent matters, and in direct mail there are a lot of dollars spent. They are worth it when you are getting good results, but many times that is not the case. The problem is not with the direct mail channel, but rather with your mail campaign. So what really matters in 2018 to make your direct mail campaigns a success? Let’s take a look.

What matters? These seven elements:

  1. Time — The time you spend to create your mail pieces; audience and message make all the difference. Many times timelines are cut short so steps are rushed through and not carefully thought out. This can cause a bunch of problems that can either cost you more money or responses, either way you lose out. Purposely block out time dedicated to making the best mail campaigns possible.
  2. Myopia — Many times the problem with a mail campaign is the wrong focus. Your messaging list and design all need to work together to drive response. When your team cannot see the forest through the trees they are creating messaging that is not going to appeal to your audience. This will cost you responses. Focus on the benefits to your audience, this means you need to know them well, not just assume that you do.
  3. Innovation — Today’s direct mail needs to stand out. What worked yesterday will not work tomorrow. Have you tried to innovate your mail pieces to stand out? There are many tools you can use from technology to folds or special coatings. You want to integrate with your messaging, so you need to carefully consider what will enhance your message and drive response.
  4. Inspiration — Many times inspiration is lacking in mail campaigns. From lackluster design to poorly worded copy. You cannot inspire response without a great mail piece. Sending the mail piece to all the right contacts does not matter if your message does not resonate and your design does not generate interest. Your piece just became trash. Consider testing your design and copy with a couple of key customers who are willing to give you feedback. What they say may surprise you.
  5. Adaptability — As your customers change you change your products and services, but are you changing your mail campaigns? You need to adapt to what your prospects and customers want and need. Very targeted messaging can help you generate a better response rate. Beyond messaging though, you need to adapt your design, too. Change is a good thing and can lead to more responses.
  6. Brand — Many times a mail piece does not perform well because of a conflict between your messaging and your brand. Who your company is and what it stands for needs to mesh with your design and messaging on your direct mail pieces. When there is a conflict in the mind of your prospect or customer, they are not going to buy from you.
  7. Degeneration — Overtime a direct mail campaign can degenerate if it’s continually done the same way. Constant vigilance to changes in your audience, your product and the culture in general need to drive changes in your direct mail. The world is changing at a faster and faster pace, you need to change, too. Declining response is a big indicator that your campaign is degenerating. Start your process all over again to refresh creative design, copy and your list segmentation.

Your direct mail results can and should be better. Each of these seven elements can directly affect your results. Take a good look at what you have been doing along with your team to see if there are changes you can make to improve your results. Sometimes the smallest change can make all the difference in how your audience perceives your offer. Remember to track your results as you make changes to see what is working and where you can improve. In 2018, you can have the best direct mail results you have ever had if you make a real effort to do so. Are you ready to get started?

The Cost of Marketing to the Wrong Consumer, and How to Get It Right

We all know that Internet marketing is easy and cheap. But regardless, marketing to the wrong retail customer can come at a high price. Here are some suggestions for how to keep your marketing judicious and well-targeted, so you’re reaching the right audience.

Internet marketing is easy and cheap. That’s all the more reason to use it judiciously, because the cost of marketing to the wrong retail customer can cost big. Here are some suggestions to make sure you’re targeting the right audiences.

Effectively used, marketing has the power to connect the right consumers with brands and turn them into loyal, repeat customers. But what happens when it’s not, and what’s the cost incurred? Bigger than you think — bad campaigns are deadly on a number of fronts. It’s not just lost sales. They result in lost loyalty and a confused target market. They can quickly alienate some of a retailer’s most valuable potential and current customers. That leads to further difficulty attracting and maintaining relationships with the very people who could have been your best customers, brand ambassadors or social media amplifiers.

Because it’s easier to reach out in today’s digital environment, retailers can more easily connect with their client base now than ever before, for better or worse. Just because they can, doesn’t mean they should. It’s very easy to try a new type of campaign or use digital tools like social media, but it’s just as simple for poor planning and execution to lead to a negative result.

With the rise of digital marketplaces and the vast increase in shopper options, the way shoppers buy products has drastically changed. This means that retailers must regularly adjust, refine and improve their approaches to marketing. It’s critical to understand that just using the internet as a marketing tool isn’t enough —it’s easy to market in a tone-deaf manner. As with any other campaign, success depends on careful planning during every stage of development and the judicious use of accurate, current data and relevant analytics tools. When marketers don’t do this, they risk the consequences of directing their marketing initiatives at the wrong consumer. And there are far too many marketing strategies that don’t lead to the generation of value or a customer transaction.

What Sets Great Modern Marketing Campaigns Apart?

It starts with careful and thoughtful direction of resources involves gathering data, collecting and securely storing it, and effectively using analytics tools to derive useful, actionable insights that form and bolster relationships. Drilling down, certain qualities of effective marketing campaigns set them apart from other, less-successful efforts. Here are a few of the most important concepts for reliable, powerful and positive results:

  • Focus on a well-defined customer type: Great campaigns don’t cast too wide a net. Instead, they have a clear idea of whom they’re targeting.
  • Don’t worry about long-tail keywords: Unless your company can compete with the giants of your market segment — and giants of every segment, like Amazon — it’s best not to put too much stock in these keywords.
  • Emphasize qualified leads: A qualified, well-understood customer persona is much more than an email address. With a thoroughly developed customer profile, including data about budgeting and identity, companies have better results. This is one of many areas where powerful, effective analytics comes into play.
  • Align large and small details to the defined personas: A strong campaign should feel relevant, attractive, focused and engaging to its recipients.
  • Segment your database, continually: Building the difference between prospective and existing customers into targeted variations of the same campaign, for example, helps retailers realize the best results. Continually segmenting databases through the use of effective big data and analytics tools is one difference that sets retail leaders apart from the rest of the pack.
  • Properly value existing customers: You already have a stronger relationship with existing and past customers than with potential ones. An incentive like a coupon or discount — with the exact terms defined in part through analytics and big data — is often enough to secure a new purchase.
  • Gather feedback: Valuable intelligence about your products, customer service and brand experience comes from social media and many other online communities. Retailers need to be where their customers congregate online, then gather feedback for review by staff and use in automated analysis.
  • Build emotional connections: Lasting, meaningful connections with core customers are more important than customer service in many instances. Building these relationships means encouraging purchasing over the long term. Consider these examples:
    • Target determined it was too narrowly labeling bedding and toys for children based on gender. Taking changing attitudes about gender fluidity into account, the retailer stopped marketing based on gender. It now markets bedding and toys with a more inclusive strategy.
    • Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it would stop selling assault rifles and raise its minimum age for purchasing firearms to 21. CEO Edward Stack decided this would provide an overall benefit and strengthen bonds with customers throughout all of its product lines.

A large part of the fine-tuning involves drawing on the power of data and analytics to ensure they can move at the speed of the modern consumer and connect to them effectively. Many aggressive, short-term campaigns use crowdsourcing, social media and apps to build strong, short-term connections. Carried out properly, these efforts increase positive sentiment among the customers you know are interested in shopping with your company. This turns the digital world into an invaluable public space in which businesses can interact with customers, using existing and custom-built tools to quickly and efficiently reach them. The costs of marketing to the wrong consumer are both clear and substantial. So focus on your current and prospective customers and leverage big data and analytics tools to market to the right ones.

Political Direct Mail for the Win!

During the 2016 election cycle, there was more political direct mail than ever before. The United States Postal Service and The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) wanted to see how people viewed political mail, so they did a study about direct mail and its impact on voters. There are so many takeaways that can help you create political direct mail to win.

During the 2016 election cycle, there was more political direct mail than ever before. The United States Postal Service and The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) wanted to see how people viewed political mail, so they did a study about direct mail and its impact on voters. There are so many takeaways that can help you create political direct mail to win.

In 2018 we often get asked, does direct mail still work? YES! Here are a few facts about direct mail to show you the power you can harness:

  • People check their mail at the first opportunity, which is nearly every day. You can reach your voters in a timely fashion without being forgotten.
  • 86% of people go through the mail and make sure that nothing of value is being thrown out.
  • 73% of people prefer direct mail over other marketing channels.
  • Mail may be the best way to share new information about you as a candidate or an issue.

Radio and television do not allow you to target your prospects effectively. Your message ends up in front of people who cannot even vote for you. With direct mail, you have access directly to people who are able to vote for you. Take advantage of it! You can segment them into types of voters, propensity to vote and so much more.

When sending direct mail to voters, include important information about the election, such as voting deadlines for absentee ballots. Yes, you can target people who vote absentee with a different message than people who vote at the polls. You can also provide registration deadline information. Of course, include in the mail piece who you are, what you stand for and why people should vote for you. People keep mail that provides important information; get your mailer to stick around longer.

When polled about political mail voters responded with:

  • 82% want to know where the candidate stands on issues
  • 74% want a contrast with an opponent on issues
  • 73% want to know a candidate’s voting record and any past statements made
  • 60% want to see a list of who endorses the candidate.

We suggest that you use large format mailers to grab attention. According to a DMA 2017 response rate report, oversized pieces have been shown to increase response rates by 10.4%, producing the best overall response rate. You need to keep your text concise and easily scanned. Use bold, color and contrast to draw the eye to your important content. The easier you make it for people to quickly understand what you are saying, the better you are able to get your point across. Direct mail is better understood, remembered and acted upon more than digital channels. Add direct mail to your marketing mix to harness the votes you need to win.

Want to increase the time people spend with your mail pieces? Make them interactive. Add elements such as video, augmented reality, die cuts or endless folds to engage people. Video allows you as a candidate to speak directly to each voter about how you stand on issues and how you are different from other candidates. You can add special coatings or textures to really enhance the sensory reach of your mail piece. There are so many fun ways that direct mail can stand out that no other channel can do.

Are you ready to get started on your campaign?

Should Your Direct Mail Campaigns Be Lean?

First of all, what is “lean”? It is a systematic way to reduce waste without sacrificing return on your investment. So how can we apply the lean concept to direct mail campaigns?

First of all, what is “lean”? It is a systematic way to reduce waste without sacrificing return on your investment. So how can we apply the lean concept to direct mail campaigns?

First, you will want to look at both customers and employees. Lean is a great fit, because you can save money with a lean direct mail approach. Reduce internal costs and increase customer response. The more you save, the more you make. Are you ready to apply the five lean principles to your next direct mail campaign?

5 Direct Mail Lean Principles

  1. Define the Value: This is extremely important. You need to determine what value your product or service has for your customers and prospects. Look at your company from the eyes of your customers. When you can easily identify all of the benefits to them, you are able to convey your value. Your customers and prospects buy the value of what you sell, not the product or service you are selling.
  2. Value Stream: Now that you have identified the value, you need identify all of the steps it will take to create the best direct mail piece to target the values. You can create a map of what needs to be done and who will be doing it. Ideally, you can identify any congestion points and plan around them before you execute your campaign. This will decrease the amount of time and frustration with actual campaign creation.
  3. Flow: After you have identified all of the potential waste points and worked out a plan, you are ready to make sure the plan will flow smoothly without bottlenecks or other issues, both internally and for customers receiving the direct mail pieces. The quicker you can start the campaign, the sooner you are making money. You should also create flows for each campaign stream, such as retention, acquisition, and events that trigger marketing communication to customers and prospects.
  4. Pull: This is where it gets fun; you have created the system to expedite your direct mail campaigns. Therefore, you are ready to provide mail pieces as people are ready for them. You can have triggering events that have you send mail to your customers and prospects, such as when a product or service is about to change or customers reach a time period which would require them to buy from you again. The customer needs pull the mail pieces to them based on the campaign flows you have created.
  5. Perfection: Now that you have the steps in place, you need to continually work to perfect them. By checking in with people at each step, you can identify more problem areas and ways to improve them. You can then look at your direct mail results and improve them with better data, targeting and offers. This is a continual process to keep your mail performing better and better internally and with customers/prospects.

This process is probably a new way of looking at planning and executing your direct mail marketing. Most of the time, we are running behind and throw mail campaigns together at the last minute, then wonder why we are not getting the response rates we planned on. With this process, you are trying to create more value for your customers and spend less time and money creating it. Are you ready to get started?