Should You Use Augmented Reality With Direct Mail?

Direct mail is a very effective marketing channel; however, when you add a mobile element such as augmented reality to it, you have the opportunity to skyrocket your results. I say “opportunity” using augmented reality with direct mail, because you need to use the AR effectively. Just adding AR to your mail piece for the sake of having a mobile component will not help improve your results.

augmented reality with direct mail
Credit: Pixabay by TeroVesalainen

Direct mail is a very effective marketing channel; however, when you add a mobile element such as augmented reality to it, you have the opportunity to skyrocket your results. I say “opportunity” using augmented reality with direct mail, because you need to use the AR effectively. Just adding AR to your mail piece for the sake of having a mobile component will not help improve your results.

There are many factors you need to consider before including AR in your mail pieces:

  1. Define: What are you trying to accomplish by adding AR? Of course you want to boost your ROI. What else?
  2. Customers: How will your customers use this technology? Why would they want to?
  3. What: What will customers get by using AR? Coupons, some fun or some other type of perk?
  4. How: Make sure that you understand how AR works and the best ways to use it.

So what are some of the benefits of using AR in your mail? You can make your pieces come to life so you add another sensory experience. You can provide more content than a mail piece alone can do. You can also track scans, clicks and downloads easily. Don’t forget that it will also provide a “wow” factor, as well as longer engagement with the piece. One last note about AR is that when you provide a fun experience, people will share that with friends and family — so you extend the reach of your campaign.

In order to get the best results, make sure to have easy-to-follow instructions on how the AR works and what people need to do. You also need to provide them with a good incentive to try it. Remember that it does take more work on their part, so convince them why they should. You want to use AR to enhance your customer’s experience with not just your mail piece, but your brand. How can you do that?

Other brands are using augmented reality and creating a fun, engaging experience.

  • Become Part of the Action Tesco and Disney allow children to create worlds where they are in the action with characters from “Frozen.” Imagine how you can use something like this to make your customers and prospects a part of your brand.
  • Calendar Cadbury created a holiday calendar experience where each day people were invited to view their calendar and see fun selfie opportunities, as well as other treats. Think of ways you can get people excited about your brand and sharing it on social media.
  • Shoes Converse uses AR to allow users to virtually try on shoes at home. When they find a pair they like, they can buy it right then. This is very functional and drives sales. How can your prospects and customers try out your product or service through AR?

There are so many things that AR can allow you to do with your direct mail. These three examples are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many creative ways to enhance the experience for your customers and prospects. Remember to use the technology to create an experience that is worth the effort and make sure to tell people in easy steps how to do it. Using an enticing message will help drive people to try it out, too. When you do, you will see a big difference in the interaction with your mail piece, as well as sales.

The power of AR is at your fingertips and can propel your marketing to the next level. Are you ready to get started?

5 Ways Direct Mail Can Give You a Marketing Advantage

Direct mail has consistently performed well for many years, providing the results marketers need. However, not all direct mail is the same. There are things you can do to gain an advantage over your competitors. Are your results as good as they could be? Let’s check out the segments you can focus on to use direct mail to its full advantage.

Direct mail has consistently performed well for many years, providing the results marketers need. However, not all direct mail is the same. There are things you can do to gain an advantage over your competitors. Are your results as good as they could be? Let’s check out the segments you can focus on to use direct mail to its full advantage.

  1. Pursue The first way to take full advantage of direct mail is to go after the right people. This will depend on what your offer is, as well as if you are going after prospects or customers. There is a difference in the way you target these two groups. Use your data to segment people into like categories. Sending to the right people makes all the difference and can save you money by not sending pieces to people who are not interested.
  2. Clarity — Next, you need to make sure that your messaging and offer are very clear. If not, you are going to miss out on the people who misunderstood what you were trying to say. Keep your wording simple and stay away from acronyms; in the texting age, your acronym could mean something very different.
  3. Succinct — Your copy needs to get right to the point. Make it easy and fast to read. You can use bullets, bolding and other text highlights to get your most important information to stand out. The less reading required, the more people will scan your piece.
  4. Interest — Does your mail piece generate interest? Your images and messaging need to call people to your piece to look closer at what you have to offer. The more interest people have in your mail piece, the more likely they are to buy.
  5. Cohesion — Do your marketing channels work together? Can customers and prospects flow easily from your direct mail piece to your website or other online platform? When they can, you will get better response rates.

When you have all five segments done correctly, you will see an increase in response. Don’t let your competitors win. Use direct mail to your advantage and get ahead of them. You will need to block out time to get your best mail pieces conceptualized and created. Do not rush the process, or you risk your results. As they say, Rome was not built in a day — and neither are your direct mail pieces.

One of the best features about direct mail is that it arrives in the mailbox and is a physical piece. No other marketing channel is physical in this way. In order to draw interest to your mail piece, you can add features to enhance the sensory experience for your customers and prospects. There are many features you can add, such as textures, foil, embossing, debossing, die cuts, special folds and more. Most of these features are not very expensive but can boost your direct mail advantage. You can also add scent for a multi-sensory experience. Get creative and allow your prospects and customers to have fun.

Boring direct mail will not get you the results you want. You need to find ways to enhance your mail pieces to increase prospect and customer engagement. The better you are able to do this using the five segments above, the bigger your direct mail advantage will be. Are you ready to get started?

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?

Technology Makes Direct Mail Irresistible

With great ROI, marketers continue to use direct mail. However, direct mail marketing that works today is vastly different than five years ago. Take a look at the pieces you are getting in the mail, they are more targeted, personalized and engaging than ever before. Technology has allowed us to increase ROI even more.

With great ROI, marketers continue to use direct mail. However, direct mail marketing that works today is vastly different than five years ago. Take a look at the pieces you are getting in the mail, they are more targeted, personalized and engaging than ever before. Technology has allowed us to increase ROI even more. By adding technology, you can draw attention to your mail piece and create a wow factor.

Here are four ways to use technology in your next direct mail campaign:

1. Sound Chips: You can add sound to your mail pieces! Record any message you want, then when your prospect or customer opens it the sound starts to play. Most people have seen this mechanism with a birthday card. Check out an example below.These are not super expensive and can increase your response rates.

2. Video: You can add video screens to your mailers. When your customer or prospect opens the mailer the screen is right there and it can either launch automatically or when they push a button. Want to see how they work? Check this out. Keep in mind that these are on the more expensive side.

3. Augmented Reality: You can have an image come to life and be manipulated by your prospects and customers with the use of your mail piece and a mobile device with an app. This is a very powerful way to engage them. Many marketers think that this is very hard to do and expensive, but it does not have to be. You can create a great user experience without breaking your budget. Check out this example. How can you create an awesome experience?

4. Data: You have so many options now to enhance your data or just take advantage of the data you already have. Segmenting like people together allows you in send more powerful messaging to the right people. You can profile your current customers to find prospects who are most like them. Then you take your data and create variable data mailers with targeted images, as well as copy and even design if you want to. The power of your data is only limited by you.

Technology doesn’t have to be a big budget item. You first need to plan out what you would like to do, then figure out the costs. Now you are ready to create your marketing campaign plan.You need to think strategically, starting with your goals. Creating direct mail using technology is a great driver of response when used correctly. Your best bet is to consult with your mail service provider; they will be able to help you with postal regulations and other aspects to save you money.

Keep in mind you still need to consider the basic requirements of good direct mail. A good list, an eye-catching design and a strong call to action are a must to drive response. If any of these are lacking, you will not get the response you wanted. Make sure to provide instructions on the mail piece as to how your prospects and customers can use the technology. Don’t forget to provide them with great content to view. If the content is not well designed or planned out then the whole process will be a waste of time. Are you ready to get started?

What Does ‘Why’ Mean to Your Direct Mail?

“Why?” For so many reasons, it’s the best question in marketing. “Why?” gets right down to the main point.

5Ws
Credit: Pixabay

“Why?” For so many reasons, it’s the best question in marketing. “Why?” gets right down to the main point.

If you have children, at some point you have been confronted with the inevitable “why” questions children have such as, “Why is the sky blue?” That curiosity is natural for all of us; but many times when we are busy, we do not take the time to ask many of the whys we should be asking.

Are you asking enough why questions about your direct mail program? Why, you ask? Well, without a clearly defined “why,” there are many things that can go wrong with your mail piece. Let’s look at how “why” can help you create a great mail piece, with fabulous results.

Start planning your mail with seven whys:

  1. Why Do You Want to Send a Mail Piece? There are many marketing channels to choose from, so why mail? A clear and concise plan will make your mail campaign smoother. Does your target audience have more than one way to be reached? Can you combine your mail with other channels to increase your response rates?
  2. Why Have You Selected Your Chosen Format? There are so many to choose from: postcards, letters, self-mailers, flats and parcels. Why did you pick yours? Do the people you plan to target like this type of mailer better? Is it easier to get people to open it? Did you choose a format based on cost? The main point is to make sure you are using the best format for your audience.
  3. Why Have You Selected Your Chosen Images? Will they draw in your audience? Do they help to convey your message? Are they bold or unique enough to make people curious?
  4. Why Have You Chosen Your Messaging? Is it interesting? Does it provide a concise description of your product or service along with the benefits of purchase? Remember, you must convey what is in it for them in order to get them to purchase. Do not list features in your message, stick with benefits.
  5. Why Should People Buy From You and Not Your Competition? Here is your chance to stand out. Tell people the benefits they get by working with you. Make sure to phrase it in a way that talks about them, not you. They don’t care about you; they are in it for themselves.
  6. Why Have You Chosen Your Mail Date? Mail dates are important, so why did you select yours? Does it tie into other marketing channels? Is there a “respond by” date based on the in-home dates? Did you pick a day based on past history?
  7. Why Have You Chosen Your ‘Respond by’ Date? Have you allowed enough time for people to receive them and respond? Have you set the date too far out, so there is no sense of urgency in responding? Be careful to select a date that allows people time to review your offer and look up relevant information to make a decision. The bigger the purchase, the longer the time needed to decide.

All of these questions whittle down to the core of your objectives. Starting with a clearly defined core and building your direct mail campaign from there allows you to create better, more responsive direct mail pieces. Each step in your plan needs to be thoroughly vetted with the “why” process. When you are able to answer all the “whys,” your targeted audience receives a powerfully persuasive mailer that they can’t ignore. There is a great book that goes in-depth on how to find your “why.” Check it out here.. Are you ready to get started?

How to Create Fabulous Direct Mail for Women

Does your direct mail resonate with women? Women are powerful in the marketplace. Targeting your direct mail for women correctly is the best way to increase your response rates.

Does your direct mail resonate with women? Women are powerful in the marketplace. Targeting your direct mail for women correctly is the best way to increase your response rates.

Women control more than 80% of all the discretionary income in the U.S. Are you successfully reaching them? The way men and women react to messaging is very different, so the same mail piece will not work well for both.

Luckily with variable data printing, you can target images and copy to each differently within the same mailing to better target the right message to the right person. So, how should you target women to generate the best response?

Top 13 things to consider when sending direct mail to women:

  1. Emotion Women process all incoming information with emotion. If your mail piece has no emotional component, it will be ignored. Facts and statistics are not remembered, emotion is. Take full advantage of this and make your messaging tap into emotion.
  2. Multitasking Women are multi-taskers; so while looking at your mail piece, they are also doing other things. Make sure that the images and messages you use celebrate her multi-tasking ability and how you can make her life easier.
  3. Big Picture  Target your direct mail marketing to the big picture. Women focus on the big picture more so than men. So provide the reasons why your product or service will make her life better and Earth or a charity. Something more to enhance the big picture.
  4. Whole Life Reach out to women in every aspect of life with your messaging. Approach how your product or service helps improve her whole life by giving her more time, better abilities or something along those lines.
  5. Planning Women love to plan. How does your product or service fit in her plan or make it easier? Perhaps provide a plan she can follow that helps her and includes your product or service.
  6. Deals Women really love deals. Make a quick decision easy by providing a really good deal. This does not require you to lower your cost, you can create a special package with a free gift or a “buy two, get one free” on things that are used frequently. The word “free” is a powerful driver of response.
  7. Price Women do not always purchase on price. If you can help her meet her requirements for either her or her family’s well-being, she is willing to pay more. You can do this by showing her how indispensable your product or service is to her or her family.
  8. Social Women are extremely social. Look for ways you can tap into that with social media groups and communities. Move them from the mail piece to online. This can help them become brand ambassadors for you.
  9. Negative experience Make sure you deliver on what you promise. Women have a large network of people who they discuss things with. So a negative experience can resonate and be passed along to her network. Don’t let this happen to you.
  10. Sex While sexual images and innuendo work well for men, women tend to ignore it. Instead, tap into the other options discussed here to create a message that resonates with her.
  11. Authenticity Women require authenticity. You must be honest and straightforward in all your marketing. She can detect an imposter right away. She will avoid your product or service and tell others to. Since direct mail is considered the most trustworthy form of marketing, you start off with good credit; however, you must craft your images and messaging to capitalize on it.
  12. Empathy Women have a large capacity for empathy. You can tap into that with well-told stories, images and authentic characters. Nonprofits do this really well. How can you craft a compelling story about your product or service that evokes empathy?
  13. Story Women appreciate stories. She wants to know how characters interact and are benefited by your product or service. When you are able to tell a good story with both your images and copy, you drive response.

There really is a big difference in the way mail pieces are perceived between men and women. Women prefer a more nuanced and storied approach, where men prefer direct-and-to-the-point messages. Keep in mind that women buy the majority of all products and services, so how are your direct mail messages currently reaching them? Harness the power of better targeting to women now to increase your response rates.

Are you using any of the 13 tips above? They can really help you to engage with women and persuade them to buy. Increase the power of your direct mail marketing by doing a better job at targeting women. Are you ready to get started?

Direct Mail: Us vs. Them

So many times, poorly executed direct mail campaigns come down to how we wanted to send it vs. how recipients wanted to receive it. This can and should be avoided. Direct mail is not a one size fits all. Let me repeat that, direct mail is not a one-size-fits-all!

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 11.10.18 AMSo many times, poorly executed direct mail campaigns come down to how we wanted to send it vs. how recipients wanted to receive it. This can and should be avoided. Just because we went to a seminar on the latest direct mail trends that taught us all the things we need to be doing doesn’t mean that they will go over well with our audience. Direct mail is not a one size fits all. Let me repeat that, direct mail is not a one-size-fits-all!

In order to get a good response from your direct mail, you need to know what your recipients want. Yes, this means that you will have several different messages, offers, designs, etc. in your campaign. That’s a good thing. This can seem a bit daunting, when faced with several segments, to figure out what to do for each one. However, if you take this one step at a time it’s really not that difficult.

3 Step Plan:

1. Who

Who are the people you want to send your direct mail to? What are their preferences? What have they bought from you in the past or what have they shown an interest in?

2. What

Based on the above information, what offer will they most likely respond to?

3. How

Based on both who and what above, how can you design a direct mail piece that will allow you to be consistent with your brand and drop in the variable information for the offer and message?

For your direct mail to work, it needs to be all about them (recipients) not us (senders). Yes, we create the pieces, but they aren’t meant to be shoved down someone’s throat — they are meant to entice them to purchase. Keep in mind that sending a direct mail piece that has multiple offers on it so that you can send the same piece to your entire list is a bad idea. Here are a few tips on how to be more “them” than “us”:

Offer — Limit the number of offers on your direct mail piece. If you are targeting correctly, you only need one offer. The more choices you offer, the harder it is for the recipient to make a decision and, therefore, they will choose nothing.

Images — Use eye catching images that enhance your message. People like to look at images. These can be variable based on the recipient.

Simple — Keep your copy simple. Use a bullet list of key points. The copy should be about what is in it for them.

Tell — You need to tell the recipient what to do. How can they respond?

Expectations — Set expectations for the recipients — What will they get when they respond? How soon should they expect it?

Direct mail should court recipient attention and drive response. In order to do that, you need to see your product or service from their perspective. Why do they need it? What is so great? When your mail piece is well targeted and your message resonates, it’s desired direct mail. When you create mail pieces that aren’t about them and aren’t targeted, you create junk mail and it will be tossed into the trash. Have you received mail pieces recently that were poorly thought out, not something you would want or need? What could they have done to make the pieces more about you?

Should I Accept Your LinkedIn Invitation?

Recently I accepted a full-time position with one of my clients, the Digital Advertising Alliance, which makes me particularly happy to have benefits again, but I sure will miss my daily freedoms from the past six years. Since I updated my LinkedIn profile, a plethora of people I do not know have reached out to me asking for LinkedIn invite acceptances—but not stating anything specific or particular in their request of me

Recently I accepted a full-time position with one of my clients, the Digital Advertising Alliance, which makes me particularly happy to have benefits again, but I sure will miss my daily freedoms from the past six years.

Thankfully, I get to maintain a small stable of freelance clients that keep me busy at night and on weekends, too. And I enjoy uncovering new business opportunities for myself or to steer potential business to trusted colleagues in my field. Other folks have done much the same for me, a virtuous circle.

Obtaining a new job is one business happening that “triggers” marketing events of one sort or another. While I haven’t made it yet to the C-suite (I can only imagine the triggers there), I’m getting my share of social check-in’s, emails, not-so-many telephone calls, and a direct mail piece or two.

Since I updated my LinkedIn profile, a plethora of people I do not know have reached out to me asking for LinkedIn invite acceptances—but not stating anything specific or particular in their request of me. Please, take a moment and give a short sentence stating what we have or could have in common. I’m a PR guy, and I genuinely like getting to know people and how we can build bridges and do business together … but I don’t want the quality of my social network to become watered down. I wonder if LinkedIn has relaxed its rules for enabling introductions.

My normal protocol in response is to visit his or her profile, and see if there’s an apparent fit to my professional life. Sometimes I discover it’s someone I do know with a new or different surname (and I readily accept), but most of the time it’s a complete stranger, with only imagined relevance. Is it me they’re after, my position that intrigues them, or my employer’s marketplace presence? It’s always good form to keep your own profiles edgy and up to date for the inspection of others—and your invites to the point.

Let me also state the opposite: I do feel some guilt dismissing online a complete stranger (but perhaps an industry cohort) because I wonder if I’m doing myself, my new employer and my existing social network a disservice. Shouldn’t I be willing to talk to a stranger—I do it all the time at tradeshows and industry gatherings (we’ve self-qualified each other by both being there)? Yes, I should be willing—but I don’t’ always feel the need to get a business card.

Recently, I came across these rules for accepting LinkedIn invites which I believe are worth sharing.

  1. I accept/send LinkedIn invitations if I have had the opportunity to work with you
  2. I accept/send LinkedIn invitations if we have met in person
  3. I accept/send LinkedIn invitations if we have spoken on the phone (and an in-person meeting is not feasible)
  4. I accept/send LinkedIn invitations to initiate a professional relationship where phone, online, and/or in-person collaboration is expected.
  5. My goal in every LinkedIn relationship is to be able to recommend your services to other professionals who trust my opinion.

I’ve built my network with rules one, two and three—which has allowed me to implement Rule 5. I’m admittedly not so quick on rule four, precisely because of Rule 5! The integrity of anyone’s social network is one’s ability to leverage it: quality before quantity.

As interconnectedness grows in our world and our field—all marketing is integrated, and my status as a PR professional informs marketing—I’m going to try and be more open to new faces online, but I will continue to insist on some due diligence. Otherwise, what’s the point in having a connection?

Feel free to post your own rules on social networking. Or offer an opposing point of view.

Consumers Like Direct Mail

For the past several years, direct mail has been bashed for being too old school and past its time. The reality is far from that. Direct mail response is on the rise. Consumers enjoy getting direct mail that is applicable to them. When direct mail is targeted correctly, it will not be considered “junk mail.” Yes, even millennials like to get mail

For the past several years, direct mail has been bashed for being too old school and past its time. The reality is far from that. Direct mail response is on the rise. Consumers enjoy getting direct mail that is applicable to them. When direct mail is targeted correctly, it will not be considered “junk mail.” Yes, even millennials like to get mail.

Here are a few reasons people like to get mail:

  • Its delivered to their home through no effort on their part
  • It can be fun (get creative and think outside of the box)
  • A way to save money (people like a good deal)
  • It’s informative (people are curious)
  • It’s easily kept for future reference or use (use a magnet, they can then post on the fridge)

Direct mail statistics you should know (as reported in “From Letterbox to Inbox 2013”):

  • 79 percent of consumers say that they act on direct mail immediately
  • 56 percent of consumers stated that they found printed marketing to be the “most trustworthy” of all media channels

So what do people do after they get a direct mail piece? (“Consumer study reveals ‘direct mail matters’ in connected world,” July 11, 2013)

  • 44 percent visit a brands’ website
  • 34 percent search online for more information about the product
  • 26 percent keep the mailing for future reference

Keeping all of the above in mind, how can you change the way you send direct mail? Are you focused on the consumer and what is in it for them? Do you have a clear call to action and the benefits they get by responding? When you think you do, get someone from outside your organization to critique it for you. You will be surprised with what you can learn.

Using the fact that almost half of the recipients will go online and check you out after getting your direct mail piece, do you have landing pages designed with them in mind? Are you using responsive design so that they can view your website and landing pages on mobile devices? These days, using responsive design is the best way to have your online content look correctly no matter what device is looking at it. Direct mail will drive people to online engagement; make sure you are ready for them.

The only way that direct mail will continue to work is if we as marketers send direct mail to consumers that is designed well, has a clear call to action and is targeted to the right people. This keeps recipients happy and increases your response rates.

Top 5 Ways to Personalize Direct Mail

If I were to ask a group “What would interest you and capture your attention with a direct mail piece?” I guarantee that I would get lots of different answers. All of us have opinions, some stronger than others on certain subjects, but those opinions are what drive each of us. The power of direct mail is that we can create individually personalized pieces so that Tom has an offer that interests him, and Sue has a different offer that interests her. The best part is that the pieces can look identical except for the offer message. This can help you save money while increasing your response rate.

If I were to ask a group “What would interest you and capture your attention with a direct mail piece?” I guarantee that I would get lots of different answers. All of us have opinions, some stronger than others on certain subjects, but those opinions are what drive each of us. The power of direct mail is that we can create individually personalized pieces so that Tom has an offer that interests him, and Sue has a different offer that interests her. The best part is that the pieces can look identical except for the offer message. This can help you save money while increasing your response rate.

How To Use Personalized Data:

  1. Name: The quickest and easiest way to start personalizing is to include the name. Not just in the address block, but as part of the offer. Use first name so that you are using a conversational tone. This should not be your only form of personalization on the piece, but it helps to include the first name. (Just make sure that it is the right name!)
  2. Gender: If you have an offer that appeals differently to women than to men, this can be a great way to segment your offer. In many cases women look at products and services differently than men. Use that to your advantage with targeted offers. (Make sure that your data on gender is correct, sending the wrong message can make people angry)
  3. Past Purchase/Donation History: Use what you know about each person to personalize their offer. If they bought peanut butter, reference that when offering jelly. If they made a donation previously, note that donation amount and ask if they can help with an increased amount this year. (Make sure that you make logical associations between a past purchase and a current offer. Don’t send me an offer for coffee when I bought tea, it may mean that I don’t like coffee.)
  4. Reminders: If there is an average use time for your product or service, create incremental reminders to customers that they should be ready to buy again. Include a coupon for another purchase, and make sure to have an expiration date to create urgency. (Be careful not to over remind people. Sending too much direct mail can have a negative effect.)
  5. Location: This can be used to entice people to join their neighbors and buy the same things. (The “Keeping Up With the Jones'” mentality) Point out that others on the block have purchased your product or service, and they should not miss out.

The trick to doing this correctly is the database. You need to be collecting information about your customers/prospects in order to give them better offers. The better the offer, the less likely it will be considered junk mail and thrown away. Do not waste your money sending direct mail to people who don’t want it. Your database is your goldmine. Treat it with the utmost care and constantly make changes to it.

If you don’t have much information in your database, start small. Look at the list above and see what you can do with the information you do have. There are profile list services out there to help you learn more about your customers. If you use list profile services, remember the information is more of a generalization to categorize people. Do not use the information as a fact, since it could lead you to assume incorrectly about what people like and dislike. Personalization can be the catalyst to catapult your direct mail response to the next level.