Direct mail is as relevant as ever. The channel has been in use for over six decades, and despite predictions that it would become redundant, the reverse is true. Studies show that recipients respond to direct mail; it stands out among the noise of inboxes and social media. The channel is evolving, with personalisation and technology reinvigorating it.
In 2016 UK businesses invested more than £1.5 billion in direct mail, and it accounted for 13.9% of all advertising spend. So once you have decided to utilise direct mail, how can you ensure that you achieve the best results? We have put together 9 tips to help you boost your return.
1. Target the right people
Once you have outlined your campaign goal you will be able to identify which prospects or customers you need to reach. Defining your target audience is a crucial step. Careful segmentation of your database is essential, whether choosing new leads, customers or lapsed buyers. Clean and segmented data will reduce print and post wastage costs, and improve conversion rates as your mail reaches the correct audience.
Plan what results you want to achieve from your campaign – how many leads or sales do you need to make it a success? Tailor your campaign and make sure it hits the right people.
2. Make it valuable
Offer your audience something of value that will encourage them to respond. For example, retailers often offer discounts and vouchers, or invitations to special events. B2B businesses may offer industry insight, or the opportunity to download new research and information. Integrating off and online activity works well in this instance.
Increasing brand awareness is great, but persuading people to react is the ultimate aim and will boost your campaign.
3. Stand out
Don’t spend your entire budget on what’s inside the envelope and forget about the envelope itself. You need your mail to be noticed and opened, so appearance matters. First impressions are formed from the moment the recipient looks at your mail, so consider overprinting and include a compelling message.
Or, for low volume mailings, you could even handwrite and stamp envelopes – a personal touch sure to generate curiosity – ‘who has sent me this letter?’
4. Be creative
Once opened, hit your audience with a creative design. Experiment with different formats, shapes, and sizes; there are many folded, die cut and pop-up options to help you get noticed. Ensure that the design is on brand with clear, impactful images and strong headlines. Bright colours and interesting visuals can help to emphasise a great offer.
5. Write compelling copy
Grab attention from the start with a striking headline and easy-to-read copy. Encourage your audience to read on by showing that you understand their problem, or hook attention with an interesting fact or statistic.
Make it easy to skim read – break up text with bullet points, graphs, images, and quotes. Be relevant and keep it brief – if you have lots of information direct prospects to your website to find out more.
6. Use personalisation
Thanks to social media, today we are well used to interacting with brands in a personal way. We can chat to brands online in the same apps as we chat to friends. It comes as no surprise then that personalisation can make a huge difference to open rates and responses.
Variable printing allows you to tailor your offer, and add relevant key details within the message, such as purchase history, location, job title or company. This creates a much more personal offer and makes the reader feel valued rather than one of many.
This approach makes clean data even more important – so don’t waste money on launching a campaign without getting your data checked first.
7. Include a clear CTA
92% of all direct mail received is opened, so now it’s time to make the reader act. What do you want prospects to do after reading your mail?
Make sure your objective is clear and include one relevant call to action. Like email campaigns, one clear CTA will boost conversions, whether you want people to visit your shop or your website. Experiment with power words such as guarantee, you, results, limited or exclusive.
We all respond – subconsciously – to being told what to do, so make sure your CTA is simple and compelling.
8. Use multiple channels
For best results, integrate your campaign across a range of channels. Consumers now expect a multi-channel experience, and this gives businesses more opportunities to interact and build personal customer relationships.
When used as part of a wider strategy, direct mail complements other channels – directing recipients to websites, event registrations, store openings and so on. Technology such as QR codes and augmented reality provide further opportunity for integration.
Whenever possible, always follow up with a phone call too. It can increase conversions by over 100% and is one of the best and easiest ways of maximising ROI.
9. Analyse your results
As with any marketing activity, it’s essential to test, measure and analyse your campaign to understand what works and what doesn’t. Direct mail can be easily measured, by using personalised URL’s, response telephone numbers or source codes.
Implementing our simple but essential tips will ensure that you can boost your ROI, whilst tracking and testing your campaigns will enable your direct mail to evolve.