Turn Drab Direct Mail Into Fab

Have you considered how to have some fun with your prospects and customers using direct mail? Consider trying out a scavenger hunt that’s launched with the direct mail piece — it can lead to a better ROI.

direct mail scavenger huntHave you considered how to have some fun with your prospects and customers using direct mail? It can lead to a better ROI. Consider trying out a scavenger hunt that’s launched with the direct mail piece. You can have everyone start the same way or use variable data to start them off at different locations. Are you unsure of where to start to create a direct mail scavenger hunt? Scavenger hunt options include:

1. QR Codes

You can use QR codes on print items starting with your direct mail piece. Then, lead them to strategically located posters or flyers around town or your store where they scan additional QR codes to activate new clues to the next location.

2. Augmented Reality

You can create a virtual scavenger hunt where your prospects and customers scan the direct mailer to launch the content on mobile devices in their own home to start the adventure. Since people are very busy these days, you may end up with more participation this way. It will really depend on who your audience is.

3. NFC

You can create a direct mail piece with an embedded NFC chip that can be used in your store locations to launch content to drive them to the next location in the hunt. Since Apple does not currently support NFC, your best bet is to have people take the mailer into your store to use the NFC on an android device station that you set up in your store. (This also gets them in the door to buy from you.)

4. Store

Not sure your audience is ready for mobile technology? Go with the old fashioned hunt. Send a mailer that has them start at your store and check in to get a clue. You can then drive them around the store or to other locations nearby in the shopping center.

5. Online

Create an online scavenger hunt where they can visit special landing pages you have set up for the hunt. You will send them a direct mail piece that has the initial start landing page you want them to go to. This makes it easy for people to participate from a PC or mobile device.

Get creative and have fun with this. Yes, it is a marketing tool so you will want to highlight special offers and new products or services, but keep it light and fun. When you are able to do that your prospects and customers will enjoy themselves, share with others as well as buy from you. In order to pick the right hunt for your audience, consider how they currently buy from you. If they come to your location, consider using the store hunt. Another consideration is how much of a budget you have. The least expensive options above are the store and the online. You can create a great hunt without breaking the bank.

Before you start, map out the journey your customers and prospects are going to take. You want it to be fun, not super complicated. Once you have that down you can create the special offers they will see along the way. Of course you will save the best offer for the finish. You can even set the rules so that the first 5 people get a super offer and the rest get a smaller one to entice people to engage and finish quickly. There are so many opportunities here to create a really fun and engaging hunt. If your audience has children, you can create fun for them too. Remember to get testimonials you can use for future hunts and if it is a slow media day, get your local TV station to announce it. The more buzz you have the more people will participate.

Empower Direct Mail With Videos

Do you have an important message to get out that includes a video? Technology has created something you are going to love adding to your direct mail — mailers with video screens! These mailers have an audiovisual player that is embedded within the mailers.

direct mail videoDo you have an important message to get out that includes a video? Technology has created something you are going to love adding to your direct mail — mailers with video screens! These mailers have an audiovisual player that is embedded within the mailers. The video content is played after opening or pushing a button. No need to rely on people scanning QR codes, using NFC or downloading augmented reality apps when you have a built in video screen to provide immediate access. Have you seen one in action? Check out this example. This is a great way to engage prospects and customers. People love to watch video, so incorporating that into your direct mail is a powerful way to reach them.

Features to choose from:

Video Content

You can include more than one video, so offer options to recipients to choose which video content they want to view. That way they are in control. In most cases, because they are curious and the technology is really cool, they will view all the video content.

Screen Sizes

You have choices on how large you want the screen to be. If you have content that has small details, you should use a larger screen.

Layouts

There are many layout options, so you can really choose what will work best for you and your audience.

USB

Do you have a message or information that prospects of customers may want to keep? Give them an option to download the video via a USB port.

Launch

You have options on how to launch the video — it can be light sensitive to start when the mailer is opened, or it can have an on/off button so that your prospects and customers can choose when to start the video.

As you can see, there are a lot of options besides just what videos you want to use. Now let’s take a look at some ways you can use the videos in your direct mail.

Ways to use video:

1. Show how people use your product or service.
2. Show how great life can be when people use you’re your product or service, or the opposite.
3. Tutorials on how to avoid issues or mistakes that others have made.
4. Behind-the-scenes look at how things are made or special processes you have that are interesting.
5. Nonprofits can show the need for help and who has benefited for a powerful message.

With attention spans at an all-time low, it’s important to create direct mail that grabs attention. Video can help you do that. It will also be shared with others to increase your message exposure. Create an experience that your prospects and customers will enjoy, share and remember. Video gives your message the ability to be interpreted the way you meant it to be. Through tone inflection of the speaker and body language, you are better able to convey the right message in the right way to the right people on your direct mail list. Let the power of video and the power of direct mail come together for you to create a new and wonderful campaign.

Direct Mail Is Back

Last week during my IMV15 presentation for “Direct Mail Is Back” we had some questions that we were not able to get to. So we wanted to address them in this blog post. If you have your own questions feel free to reach out and ask them.

Last week, during my IMV15 presentation for “Direct Mail Is Back” we had some questions that we were not able to get to. So we wanted to address them in this blog post. If you have your own questions, feel free to reach out and ask them — or leave them in the comments below!

Here are the questions we didn’t get to:

URLs on the mail piece: We used to be able to use “friendly” URLs, but our webmaster has discouraged it due to the way search engines penalize the site with multiple URLs landing in the site. What kind of URLs do you include?
We create and register a new site for each campaign. That way, the multiple landing pages are not part of our normal website. We do offer links to materials on our regular website to drive traffic there and provide more content. This is sometimes referred to as a microsite.

What would you recommend as a price point for a good direct mail piece as far as expense is concerned?
This is hard, as so much of the cost depends on what you are doing. So, instead of giving you prices that may not reflect what needs to be done, let’s look at what is the cheapest direct mail. That would be a postcard mailing to local recipients all near each other. This gives you the low cost of a card and the low cost of local postage. Specific prices will vary depending on your service area and your provider.

Are there metrics available that demonstrate a significant lift using DM as a precursor to digital follow-up (i.e. email) that justifies the extraordinary increase in costs when using DM?
That can be a challenge, as every list will have a different result. Your best bet is to run a test on your list. Knowing your results from your last campaign, you can then see if you had an increase in response or an increase in purchase amount. Who your recipients are and your offer are going to be major factors in your statistics, and can be dramatically different than a quoted statistic. Here is a case study on adding email to direct mail.

• Where can we learn more about augmented reality in marketing?
Check out these sites for more information on augmented reality:

  1. http://www.dmnews.com/augmented-reality/topic/8147/
  2. http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/35895.asp#multiview
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYd0by0PbNI
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDNzTasuYEw

Augmented reality can be really fun for recipients, as a couple of the above examples show. The cost to start this is very high, but if you do it right, you have the potential to reach many more people than you had on your mail list.

• Are QR codes really utilized much today? I feel like they are outdated already and no one uses them anymore.
It really depends on your audience and your offer. The two states with the most QR Code scans are California and Texas. So if you are mailing there you know that people are open to the idea of scanning a QR code. The best way to know if they are going to work for you is to test them. On your next campaign add the QR code and see what happens.

As direct mail is back in favor with many marketers now, you need to be even more vigilant when creating your direct mail. 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.

To QR Code or Not to QR Code?

Does a QR Code add value to direct mail? Well, yes it can. However, before you go put a QR Code on every direct mail piece you send out, let’s discuss what works and what does not. Before you even start down the path of adding QR Codes, what are you trying to do? Why would a QR Code help you do it?

Does a QR Code add value to direct mail? Well, yes it can. However, before you go put a QR Code on every direct mail piece you send out, let’s discuss what works and what does not. Before you even start down the path of adding QR Codes, what are you trying to do? Why would a QR Code help you do it? If your answer is because you think you should, well, you better rethink that.

When to use a QR Code on direct mail:

  • Drive online engagement
  • Facilitate a phone call
  • Provide a coupon
  • Provide access to additional information
  • Place an order

If you are placing a QR Code on a direct mail piece and it is not doing one of the four things above, is it really benefiting the recipient? What is in it for them to scan it? When you are planning out your QR Codes, make sure to look at it for the recipient’s perspective. QR Codes have good scan rates when used correctly. Another thing to consider when designing your QR Code is to have a little fun with it. You can use color as well as an image or logo to make it stand out.

Best Practices:

  • Instructions: Always include instructions on how to scan and why the recipient should scan it.
  • Buffer Zone: Include 1/16 inch of white space around the QR Code
  • Size: For direct mail, keep your QR Code between a ½ inch and 1 ½ inches for easy scanning and placement
  • Small URLs: Use a URL shortener to keep scanning time short.
  • Mobile Landing Pages: Since the user is going to be using a mobile device to access your content make sure that the landing page is setup for mobile use including the checkout page.
  • Test It: Scan the code in all different types of lighting and using many different mobile devices as well as scanning apps. You want to spot problems before recipients get them.

QR Codes will not be right for everyone. Look at who your recipients are, not just what you want to do. Sometimes they may surprise you, so test one out with a good offer and see what response you get. Many times QR Codes are used in conjunction with PURLs, that way you are providing two ways for them to access the landing page. They can scan the code or type in the URL. This also gives you a chance to see who prefers what method. You can use this information for future mailings.

Your mail service provider can work with you to create a mail piece that incorporates both QR Codes and PURLs. They can also help you with tracking. Compiling reports for your mail delivery dates, QR Code scans and landing page hits are easy and extremely helpful. It’s time to create your direct mail with QR Codes and track your results.

QR Codes Can Make Your Direct Mail More Effective

Direct mail is an effective way to reach prospects and customers. But, we have to admit that both customers and prospects are becoming more mobile and therefore digital content is becoming more important

Direct mail is an effective way to reach prospects and customers. But, we have to admit that both customers and prospects are becoming more mobile, and therefore digital content is becoming more important. QR codes are simple 2D barcodes that can be scanned by a smartphone or tablet to create a bridge between direct mail and digital content. To be effective, QR codes need to be easy to scan, so make sure that you leave room for the barcode.

Your direct mail is already in your customers’ hands, which means you have their attention. It’s the perfect opportunity to encourage further engagement by using a QR code to invite them to connect with digital content. You want your QR code to work for you—simply linking to your homepage isn’t enough. Your code needs to offer something valuable to your customers/prospects that will catch their interest and encourage them to get in touch, make a purchase, sign up for information or come back for more.

Here are five examples of ways you can use QR Codes to add value for your customers/prospects:

  1. Link to exclusive or time-limited content.
  2. Provide specific information about you, your products, or services.
  3. Connect your customers/prospects with media such as a video or gallery.
  4. Direct your customers/prospects to a landing page, email sign up form, or even dial a phone number.
  5. Send out special offers such as coupons or discounts.

As with any kind of marketing campaign, there are do’s and don’ts of using QR codes. Knowing them will help you make the most of your QR codes. Check out four of each listed below.

QR Code Do’s:

  1. Offer An Incentive to Scan
    QR codes are a fast and easy, but people still need a good reason to grab their phone and scan your code. Make sure scanning the code is worth their while by offering them information or an offer they won’t want to miss.
  2. Make Your Destination Mobile Friendly
    When scanning customers/prospects will need to use their smartphone or tablet, so make sure the place they’re headed to is optimized for mobile viewing. If you don’t, they’ll click away and your opportunity will be lost.
  3. Include a Call to Action
    Treat your QR code as you would any marketing materials, with a clear call to action that lets your customer/prospect know what they should do next, and why. Tell them why they should scan your QR code, for example “scan here to receive your free gift” or “scan to watch our two minute marketing 101 video.”
  4. Test It
    Just like everything else you send out, your QR code tells your customer something about your business. That means that as well as offering value and being convenient to use, the QR code destination needs to work, too. Make sure it’s tested for functionality, quality, and mobile compatibility before you send it out to your customers.

QR Code Don’ts:

  1. Assume Your Customers Will Scan the Code
    It’s unlikely that your customers/prospects will scan your QR code just out of curiosity. It’s up to you to encourage them to scan the code by making doing so just a little bit irresistible.
  2. Link to Information That Could Be Easily Found Elsewhere
    If your QR code links straight to your homepage or Facebook profile, you’re not making the best use of it. Use it as a shortcut to something informative or exclusive.
  3. Make It Hard to Scan
    QR codes need to be as easy as pie to use. That means making them at least an inch square, clearly printed and positioned so as to be accessible.
  4. Waste It
    QR codes provide you with an opportunity to track customer/prospect activity and find out what they like and respond to. By tracking how customers/prospects respond to your QR codes you can see what works best and what doesn’t. This information will help to make your next QR code campaign even better.

QR codes are an effective way to make your direct mail more interactive, connecting your customers with digital content that they won’t want to miss. When you bridge the gap between offline and online marketing you provide a better experience for your customer/prospect. This in turn will provide you with better results.