Direct mail remains a vital component of marketers’ programs. Direct mail is becoming more sophisticated and is capable of delivering higher results. Late last year Randy Spurrier shared his thoughts about ways to improve mail’s results in a post on IMedia Connection. Some direct marketers are transitioning away from “blast” campaigns and are moving toward highly integrated, direct mail-meets-online formats that combine relevant mailers, personal URLs (PURLs), triggered and targeted follow up communication, variable content, and more.
Creating a relevant dialogue with customers is becoming crucial today. Response rates for relevant mailers, are typically 2-4 times higher than non-relevant ones. When customized direct mail is combined with interactive elements such as PURLs, triggered follow-up, and additional relevant communications timed at just the right intervals, response rates can climb up to 10 times.
It’s fairly easy to transition from an un-targeted direct mail program to a next-generation, relevance-based one. Most marketers have all the data they need to create fully automated, relevant direct mail-meets-online programs today. The way to leverage this data painlessly is to implement technology. Solutions allow marketers to set up, run, and optimize marketing programs automatically.
Here are a few strategies to get you started.
Automate from the get-go. One-to-one marketing programs, of course, would be out of reach from a cost and time perspective if you had to manually change messaging and set delivery parameters for each individual person. To get started with there are ways to harness technology to send customized print mailers (each with a link to a PURL with relevant offers and recommendations), and then, depending on the customer’s actions, automatically send timely follow-ups all throughout the purchase process.
Get the message right. The segmentation modeling used to determine whom to mail to does not determine what to say to those people. How do you know what they want to hear? Implement rules and technology to leverage your data to guide a relevant message and individualized offer for each prospect. Use propensity-to-buy modeling and purchase analysis to identify topics of interest that will form the basis of your relevant messaging. This will be used to deliver relevant and personalized messages.
Maintain the dialogue. Guiding your customer through the purchase process at every step is key to boosting conversions, especially when it comes to considered purchases. Communicate at timed intervals with automated touches, PURLs with engaging advice and recommendations, and even outbound sales calls. Keep your marketing engine rule-based, allowing you to deliver data-driven messages and automatically “trigger” new touches based on customers’ interactive feedback.
For example, your marketing technology and rules should be able to trigger timely touches based on customer responses, inquiries, or purchases. Say you send a customized mailer with a link to a PURL to a prospect. If they don’t visit the PURL after one week, you could send a follow-up mailing. If they visit the PURL or phone the call-center but don’t close within five days, the engine would send a second follow-up print touch offering an alternative video recommendation or a more compelling promotion. The PURL could be updated to reflect the new offer or product recommendation communicated in each follow-up touch.
If you send your prospects relevant and fully-customized mailers — integrating technology — they’ll not only keep your mailer out of the recycling bin, they’ll reward your efforts by making more purchases.