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.

Direct Mail Informed Delivery Enhances Your Campaigns

Are you ready to get more out of your direct mail campaigns? Direct mail is a very powerful marketing channel that can be enhanced by adding Informed Delivery.

Are you ready to get more out of your direct mail campaigns? Direct mail is a very powerful marketing channel that can be enhanced by adding Informed Delivery.

What is Informed Delivery? Basically, you provide to your customers and prospects with more touchpoints, more impressions and, therefore, create more impact. The USPS offers a free service to subscribers, which sends an email to them with an image of that day’s mail.

The default images are not in color, because they are scanned on postal equipment. When you participate in an Informed Delivery campaign, you can replace that image with a color image and even add a web link for quick purchasing or information about your product or service.

How Does Informed Delivery Enhance Your Mailing Results?

  • The USPS has a 72.5% email open rate. People will see your ad.
  • It has a 4.92% clickthrough rate on ads. People do click on the ads.
  • It encourages faster response rates, with the easy link.
  • It provides an easy way to have multiple touchpoints with clients and prospects.

Is It Complicated?

No, and that is the best part. Once you design your mail piece, you should design an image for Informed Delivery and also create a ride along ad. Both will then be sent with the landing page information to the post office, along with a mail.dat file so the post office knows who gets the mail and the ads. When the post office scans the mail piece for delivery, it will send the email to your customer or prospect with that day’s mail. Your color image with the ad and web page will be in that email.

How Can You Measure Results?

You will use your normal measuring tools for your direct mail results, plus the added Informed Delivery results. The best way to do this is to create a special landing page for your Informed Delivery ad and coupon code recipients enter at purchase. This will allow you to track how many hits come to the page, as well as how many purchases are made from the Informed Delivery portion. Your responses from the mail piece will go to a different landing page; they can also come in based on other response mechanisms, like phone or email, depending on what you provide.

Why Use Informed Delivery?

In 2019, there is a very good reason to try it out. Why? Because the post office is having a promotion for Informed Delivery. You can save 2% on your postage just for trying it out. The promotion period is Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. Over 14 million people have registered to receive these emails from the post office and that continues to grow daily. Many marketers are looking at new ways to use direct mail and Informed Delivery can help you grow your ROI. Are you ready to get started?

3 Ways to Combine Direct Mail With Digital Marketing

When you combine your direct mail with digital marketing, you enhance it and drive better results. There are many ways to add digital to your direct mail campaigns in a cost-effective way so that you can test to see how it works for you.

Direct mail has been around for a very long time and it is easy to continue to send mail the same way it was done 20 years ago, but this is much less effective now. Direct mail marketing in 2019 is so much more targeted and personalized, which makes it more effective. However, many marketers continue to silo their direct mail. This is a mistake. When you combine your direct mail with digital marketing, you enhance it and drive better results. There are many ways to add digital to your direct mail campaigns in a cost-effective way so that you can test to see how it works for you.

Let’s check out some winning digital and direct mail combinations.

  • Display Ads — You can use display ads in conjunction with your mail. You can match your direct mail data file to an IP address file to target specific people on your mail list. This is cookie-free marketing that displays banner ads on web pages as your customers and prospects are browsing. It gives you more opportunities to persuade your prospects and customers to make a purchase. Keep in mind that display advertising can affect people at every stage of the marketing funnel from awareness, education and evaluation to purchase. You can see real-time click rates to monitor progress.
  • Facebook Ads — You can use Facebook ads in conjunction with your mail. You can match your direct mail data file to Facebook. This will allow you to send targeted ads to your customers and prospects. They will see an ad in their News Feed. There are several ad options you can choose the one that is right for you. Your prospects and customers spend a lot of time on Facebook, so using these ads helps keep you top-of-mind. As with display ads, you can monitor click rates to make sure you are getting the results you need.
  • Email — Surprisingly, most marketers are using email, but are not combining it with their mail campaigns. The great thing about adding email to direct mail is that you can use it both before you mail to help build curiosity about your mail piece and after they receive it to keep your offer fresh and remind them to respond. This also gives you a chance to make an additional special offer to get them to buy now.

You can choose to use all three with a mail campaign or pick and choose what is best for your customers. If you don’t have enough people on your mail list, you can create a list of people who look like your current customers to send them mail, as well as display and Facebook ads. Email address append is also an option, but it usually only has about a 40% match rate. So if your list is small, it may not be worth it.

Increasing your exposure with customers and prospects increases your response rates, so by adding a digital component, you can increase sales. The best part about digital marketing is that it has a relatively low cost and can be tracked in real time. Plus, you will have additional metrics about your prospects and customers when they interact with you across channels. Are you ready to get started?

Questions to Ask When Planning Direct Mail Campaigns

In order to create direct mail campaigns that ignite more response, you need to ask the right questions at the planning stage. Your ROI is dependent on the choices you make in your mail strategy. The wrong questions can lead to poor direct mail response. The right questions help us empower our team to think outside of the box and create better mail pieces.

In order to create direct mail campaigns that ignite more response, you need to ask the right questions at the planning stage. Your ROI is dependent on the choices you make in your mail strategy. The wrong questions can lead to poor direct mail response. The right questions help us empower our team to think outside of the box and create better mail pieces.

What questions should be asked when planning a direct mailing campaign?

  1. What are our goals? Make a list of each goal so that everyone on the team knows them and why they are important.
  2. What are the advantages from our last mailing? List any of the good things from the last mailing. This could be results, mailing list, images, etc. Make sure to be specific.
  3. What are the disadvantages from our last mailing? List anything bad about the last mailing, and be specific.
  4. What ideas do we have to improve? List out improvement suggestions. Do not filter any out at this time, just write them all down.
  5. What do customers expect from us? Make a list of your customer’s expectations of you and your product/service. If you don’t know, you need to ask them.
  6. What is our customer’s greatest pain? In order to solve problems for your customers, you need to know what they are. List them in order of biggest to smallest.
  7. How can our product or service fix that pain? Use the list you just created to solve the problem for each one.
  8. What are the most powerful benefits our product or service creates for customers? List all your benefits in order of most significance.
  9. How certain are we about whom our customers are? Are you just making assumptions? Find out how you know information about your customers and make sure that it is true.
  10. What are the design possibilities? Now is the time to get creative, list all the fun ideas you can. During brainstorming do not scratch any off the list, just compile all the ideas to whittle down later.
  11. What are we missing? There is always something lurking that we forgot. Make sure to take the time to try and find out what that is.
  12. What are our competitors doing? It is a good idea to sign up for the mailing and email lists of your competitors. You can do that under a different family name if you wish, but keeping tabs on what they are doing can help you shape your mail strategy. You can exploit their weaknesses.
  13. What resources do we need? Many times you will not have everything you need, having a list of all resources will help to ensure you stay on top of everything in a timely manner.
  14. Do we need help from outside the organization? Most companies are not able to execute a mailing campaign without outside help. Make sure you have trusted resources that can complete items for you when you need them.

After you answer all these questions and document your strategy, it is a good idea to reach out to your mail service provider to get their input. You may need to make some changes before you print and mail. They can guide you on postal regulations, as well as what has worked well for others. The better planning you do before you mail, the better your results are going to be. Are you ready to get started?

6 Direct Mail Messaging Strategies That Work

Direct mail messaging strategies work when they’re simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and filled with emotion and stories. Here’s how to create them.

Direct mail messaging strategies work when they’re simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and filled with emotion and stories. Here’s how to create them.

The best direct mail marketing is able to communicate your message in a way that is understood, remembered and acted upon. Are your direct mail results as good as you expect them to be? In many cases they are not; and your direct mail messaging strategy could be the problem. So, how can you improve your message to increase your results?

6 Direct Mail Message Strategy Ideas

  1. Simple: This is not to say use the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” method, but to refine your headline message even more. To create a sentence that is both simple and profound. You want your headline to grab people and require them to read more.
  2. Unexpected: Do the unexpected in your messaging. The message needs to generate interest and curiosity in order to resonate and drive response.
  3. Concrete: Many times, direct mail messaging is ambiguous; this leads to poor response rates. You need clear concrete language to ensure that your message means the same thing to everyone.
  4. Credible: Your brand can help with your credibility, but so can enlisting customers to create testimonials that you can use in your marketing messaging. In order for people to respond to your mail pieces, they need to trust you and the product or service they are buying. Money-back guarantees or free trials work well, too.
  5. Emotion: In order to get people to respond you need to draw on their emotions. Nonprofits are great at this, but most other businesses could use some help. Humans are wired to feel for other people; when you can harness this effectively, you increase responses. There are many emotions you can tap into: anger, empathy and happiness are the most common emotions businesses try to elicit.
  6. Stories: People are drawn to stories. The best messaging is captured within stories. Are you currently formulating your messaging around stories, or are you just listing the facts and statistics on why people should buy from you? No one buys facts. They buy benefits that are communicated well through stories.

These six ideas in combination can help you create a strategy for better direct mail messaging to increase your response rates. One common messaging problem that organizations run into is that they have much more knowledge about their product or service than the people they are trying to sell to. This perspective can make it difficult to communicate effectively with prospects. You do not know what they know.

To combat this problem, you can use people outside of your organization to see what they think of your messaging. This can come in the form of an advisory group, an organization or a few select customers and prospects that you use as a focus group. There is a ton of knowledge that can be gained by doing this. In many cases, you will find that what you thought was a great message did not resonate or confused people. It’s better to learn that before you mail, than after the fact.

Your messaging strategy is extremely important; it can make or break your direct mail campaigns. Spend at least as much time on constructing your messaging as you spend on design. In many cases, effective message creation takes longer than design. Are you ready to create direct mail messaging that is understood, remembered and acted upon?

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?

Direct Mail for 2017 

How did 2017 come upon us so quickly? Time is flying so we need to get started on planning direct mail campaigns for 2017. I really do mean planning, too. It takes time to plan out an effective direct mail campaign. Before we start though, let’s look at what we will not do in 2017.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-2-35-33-pmHow did 2017 come upon us so quickly? Time is flying, so we need to get started on planning direct mail campaigns for 2017. I really do mean planning, too. It takes time to plan an effective direct mail campaign. Before we start, let’s look at what we will not do in 2017.

Don’t:

  • Overcrowd: Using too many images or too much copy is overwhelming.
  • Be Generic: You need to target your offers — they should never be generic. Specific offers get responses.
  • Rush: Just because you can push to get your mail out fast does not mean you should. Thorough effort in strategic planning is essential for sending quality mail.
  • Send alone: Your direct mail campaign should be tied to other channels, in order to amplify your reach and increase response.
  • Send once: Direct mail works best when you reach out to people several times — particularly if they are prospects and unfamiliar with you.

So now that we know what we won’t do, let’s take a look at what direct mail should entail in 2017. Technology will be the key to improvement. There are now so many ways to integrate direct mail with mobile and online content. Integration increases engagement, and new varieties of integration surface all the time. The pace of change in marketing right now is staggering.

Focus on direct mail’s strengths: it is targeted, tactile, scheduled and trustworthy. Take full advantage of these characteristics by applying tailored lists, textures, smells, inks and tracking. Make your drab direct mail fab. Customers and prospects will notice and appreciate your creativity.

Here are some ideas for fun direct mail:

  1. Textured or coated paper: Make your message pop with textures and coatings that will alert your targets via fingertip. This is relatively inexpensive and will boost response.
  2. Dimensional: Dimensional mail is any mail that is not flat — boxes, tubes or any other 3-D shape pops in the mail. Note that postage on dimensional mail is more expensive.
  3. Endless folds: Create fun and entertaining mail by sending a folded piece. These go beyond visual stimulation by requiring recipients to touch and manipulate the piece.
  4. Video: These mailers have an audiovisual player that is embedded within them. The video content is played after opening the mailer or pushing a button.
  5. Scavenger hunt: Launched with a direct mail piece, you can send your customers on a fun adventure.
  6. 3-D: Create a mailer with 3-D images, send some 3-D glasses along with it and let the fun begin.
  7. Ink: Try using some of the new, reactive inks that change color with temperature, and more.

These are just some of the creative ways direct mail can be used. Get your customers excited about your direct mail. There are so many new and fun options you can be taking advantage of. Not everyone has a big enough budget to take advantage of the more expensive options, but there are plenty of ways to spice up your direct mail while staying within your budget.

Let 2017 be the year you create better direct mail, and have fun doing it!

The 5 Steps of Direct Mail Marketing 

All too often, we receive direct mail pieces that have been thrown together at the last minute. You can tell which pieces were rushed, and your prospects and customers can, too. So let’s clean up your future direct mail campaigns by planning them better. There are five steps to take before you send out your campaign.

All too often, we receive direct mail pieces that have been thrown together at the last minute. You can tell which pieces were rushed, and your prospects and customers can, too. So let’s clean up your future direct mail campaigns by planning them better. There are five steps to take before you send out your campaign.

Counting hands (one to five)Step 1: Position

Where are you now compared to the competition? Where do you want to be? What is your competition doing? Can you do it better? Set your goals accordingly.

Step 2: Permission

Do you and your team have the authority to plan and execute effective direct mail campaigns? In other words, are you being told what to do, or can you decide what needs to be done, and then do it? If you do not have the authority, find the person who does and work with them to plan out the strategy. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas.

Step 3: Creation

How are you going to go about design, copy and offer? They must work together to make an effective mailer. Will these components be produced in-house or do you need help? Who is going to do what and what will the timeline be? Keep in mind that postal regulations may limit your creativity, so make sure you know the rules.

Step 4: People

Who are you going to send to? This needs to be heavily considered. Do you already have a list or do you need to find a list of the right people for your offer? Should you employ different versions to better target people? Have you built personas so that you know details about who you want to target?

Step 5: Execution

You are now ready to proceed to sending your mail. Can you facilitate the printing and mailing in-house or do you need help? Make sure to assign someone to track results so you know what is working and what is not. The process does not stop once your campaign has been mailed — it continues on.

In this fast-paced world, it is hard to carve out the necessary time to plan and strategize a good direct mail campaign. However, it is also vital to the success of your mailing. Working through all five steps gives you a chance to conceptualize and build a comprehensive campaign.

The goal is never to just get it in the mail. The goal is response. You decide if that is measured by purchases, sign-ups, appointments or another approach based on what you are looking to accomplish. But the results you track need to match with your goal — do not track sign-ups if your goal is purchases.

The whole process may seem daunting, but when you break it down into steps you will find it much easier. And you don’t have to do this alone; there are plenty of companies that can help you create awesome direct mail. The most complicated part is postal regulations, so find someone knowledgeable to consult when you are designing so you do not have to pay extra postage.