How to Best Use Direct Mail Marketing During COVID-19

During a time of crisis like COVID-19 it can be hard to know how best to market to your customers. Direct mail is still a great way to reach them, but you will need to adjust your tactics somewhat in order to remain a trusted resource.

During a time of crisis, it can be hard to know how best to market your products or services to customers. If your customers are consumers and not businesses, direct mail is still a great way to reach them. Of course, with businesses having employees work from home, this certainly creates challenges for B2B marketers who use direct mail in their marketing mix. However, there are other channels that can be used instead. So for now, you many want to put B2B direct mail plans on pause  and wait for when those individuals are back in the office.

Also to note, a few people have expressed concerns about virus transmission from mail, but the WHO and CDC both say that no coronavirus transmission has occurred from a newspaper, magazine, letter, or package. Sending your mail pieces to customers and prospects is still considered safe. So what is the best way to use direct mail right now?

  • Images – Avoid images of people in groups, touching, or at events. Instead find other images that are compelling to convey your message.
  • Message – Avoid using terms that involve touch and closeness. Instead, keep your message about how your product or service will help the prospect out. Do not try to capitalize on the crisis. It is acceptable to mention any changes you have instituted, but do not have a COVID-19 sale. It’s just tacky phrasing. And of course, do not dramatize the crisis for your benefit.
  • Empathy – Be sure to show sincere empathy for what your customers are going through. Times are tough and you don’t want to come across as insensitive. Consider creating direct mail that conveys optimism, hope, and humanity.
  • Plan – When setting up your mail piece, consider how it can actually help people. If you have a product or service that already will help prospects during the pandemic, highlight that – without capitalizing on COVID-19. If not, then find a way for the mail piece to educate, entertain, or inspire prospects into action.

Another way you can help customers and prospects at this time – and generate some good PR – is to find ways to help your community, as well as encouraging mail recipients to do the same in their communities. Or consider teaming up with a relevant local nonprofit, and make a pledge to donate a portion of your sales revenue. Creating a mail campaign with a positive message and needed products, services, or information will be well received and responded to.

It also is important to consider your list. There may be people on your list who are better targets to reach out to than others right now. Segment them out and send only to them. This is not the time for a one-size-fits-all campaign. Sensitivity and relevancy really matter right now. The best direct mail is sending the right offer to the right person at the right time.

In a crisis, your customers want you to be reliable and credible. Provide them with needed products, services, or information so that your mail is relevant and appreciated. Be a friendly, trusted resource to help them through the crisis. Keep in mind that how you communicate contributes to how your brand will be remembered. This will position you now and in the future as a company that your customers and prospects want to do business with. Are you ready to get started?

How Can You Get More Out of Your Direct Mail List?

Everyone knows nowadays that the more information you have on your customers/prospects, the better you can tailor your message. Well, in many cases companies do not have that much information about people. So, what can you do to gather more information?

Everyone knows nowadays that the more information you have on your customers/prospects, the better you can tailor your message. Well, in many cases companies do not have that much information about people. So, what can you do to gather more information? Well, you could ask them to fill out a survey and offer a reward if they do, but what if you could gather information without having to take up someone’s time? There is a way.

Data List Enhancement:
List Profiling helps you model your ideal customers so you optimize campaigns and find prospects with similar characteristics. Data analysis and list segmentation will provide you with valuable insights into consumer behaviors, allowing you to tailor your message to match their needs and interests. This will increase the chances they act on your offer. Here is what you can expect:

  1. Profile the unique characteristics of your best and most profitable customers to find more just like them. Learn their likes, dislikes, education level and so much more.
  2. Target your selling messages to the right audience at the right time. This will allow you to spend less.
  3. Increase your marketing penetration by opening new channels to reach your customers and prospects using the methods they prefer. This is especially important today with so many channel choices. Is direct mail in conjunction with mobile the right choice? Find out.
  4. Boost response rates through more specific, personalized offers (as opposed to generic, one-size-fits-all promotions). When you send an offer that is specific to the person, your response rate can’t help but go up.
  5. Build loyalty programs that increase lifetime value. When you can provide relevant offers to people in a timely manner, you gain respect and loyalty.
  6. Improve your database marketing with more profitable prospecting, through modeling and forecasting. Finding the correct prospects quickly will allow you to move forward with your marketing campaigns and get the responses coming in.
  7. Dramatically improve your ROI, the more responses you get directly effects your return on investment. Since these are better qualified leads, you should also make more money per lead.
  8. Improve multimedia marketing by applying profiles to hit the targets across all media. This allows you to create multiple channel campaigns while still targeting them where they want to see the messages.

Finding well qualified prospects is very difficult. With list profiling, you can pick people who are just like your best customers. It makes the prospecting effort so much easier. For the most part, such profiling is limited to the United States; so if the majority of your customers are foreign, this is not going to work for you. Knowing who your customers are and what prospects you should target gives you a big advantage. You can spend less money on your marketing because you can target it better, and at the same time make more money because you are sending to the right people.

Think of how you can harness the additional information you will gain with list profiling. This will allow you to create more detailed offers to the correct people and send out multiple versions as one campaign. Remember that your list is the first big opportunity in direct mail. A bad list will yield a bad result, no matter how great your design and offer are. A great list has the potential to yield a great result when combined with good design and a good offer. Consult with your direct mail marketing provider to help you enhance your list today!

An ABC Introduction to Data Mining for Dollars: Slicing and Dicing Your In-House List for Profit (Part 2 of 2)

In my last post, I introduced the RFM method, an effective direct response strategy to slice and dice your list for better conversion rates. The “R” represented recency—how long your customers have been with you. Today, I’m going to talk about the other components of frequency and monetary.

In my last post, I introduced the RFM method, an effective direct response strategy to slice and dice your list for better conversion rates.

The “R” represented recency—how long your customers have been with you.

Today, I’m going to talk about the other components of frequency and monetary:

Frequency
This segmentation tactic is another way to break down your house list: by how frequently customers have bought from you. So once you’ve divided your list based on recency, you look at it in terms of your customers’ purchase behavior. First, you identify your multi-buyers—customers who’ve purchased more than one product from you. You then split this list further, segmenting out two-time, three-time, four-time (and more) buyers. Those who have bought from you most often have proven their loyalty and obviously like the products and services they’ve been getting from you.

So if, for example, you’re considering launching a new product with a high price point, these would be your best prospects.

Monetary
Finally, you look at your list in terms of money. One way to do this is to divide your list by the amount of money each customer has spent with you. You might, for example, assign a benchmark dollar amount, such as $5,000, $10,000 or more. Customers at that level make up your “premium buyers.” This is the group that has the most favorable LTV for your company. These are your “VIPs.” Once you discover who your VIPs are, you can design products or offers specifically for them. Let’s say you have some kind of exclusive—and expensive—lifetime membership club. You would market this to multi-buyers who also fall into your “premium buyer” category.

If you offer payment options to your customers, another monetary way to divide your list is according to the payment options they have chosen: monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. This will help you determine the initial purchase tolerance of each group of customers and which ones may respond best to future price points. As you can see, by looking at your customers’ purchasing habits—recency, frequency and monetary—you can identify the best customers for certain products. And by offering a product to customers who are likely to want it, you can improve your conversion rates.

By using the proven RFM method and other data-mining techniques, I’ve seen conversion rates double and triple. I’ve also seen inactive subscribers’ open rates surge from 0 percent to more than 30 percent.

However, many companies that send emails don’t have the capacity for data mining.
Unfortunately, some smaller businesses or start-up companies typically cut robust email features and analytics for cost savings. Oftentimes, these companies save money using online email service providers that can certainly get the job done, but don’t offer segmentation tools that allow for list analysis, where you can dissect your database into subgroups or “buckets.”

So when you’re searching for an email service provider, try to project what your segmentation needs may be going forward and if data mining is a strategy that you’ll want to deploy.

Hot Tip! When looking at email marketing companies, make sure you ask if there’s a list segmentation or data mining feature that can easily be done through their email platform. Find out the level of segmentation capacity (how far the segmentation of data can be drilled down to); if certain segmentation features are a standard feature or an upgrade; and what those costs may be on a monthly basis. Sometimes it may be an additional fee, but will certainly pay for itself over time.