What’s the most important part of your direct mail campaign?
It’s not the design, or the time of year you send it. It’s not the copywriting or the offer.
The most important part of your direct mail campaign is simple: your customer.
Even the most stunning artwork and persuasive copywriting will wind up in the garbage if the recipient isn’t a good fit for your offer, so how can a marketer guard against this?
It all comes down to planning. Before you even start jotting down ideas for direct mail campaigns, you’ll need to score your leads and segment the people on your mailing list.
Get Demographic Data to Build Direct Mail Segments
Before you can make direct mail more effective with segmentation, you have to know how to categorize your audience. You may have already done the legwork here, if so, congratulations! If not, here are a few ideas for gathering the additional data you’ll need to start segmenting and scoring your leads:
Use data from your website to track visitors’ behavior. Categorize prospects based on that. For example, a user who’s lingering on your “About” page and your “Services” page is most likely a new lead – while one who’s looking at your pricing and contact pages may be nearly ready to buy. If you have an e-commerce site, take advantage of order history, buyer frequency, and buyer recency to further categorize your customers.
Look at social media data. Who’s liking and commenting on your posts? Are they local or abroad? Are they primarily men or women, Millennials, or Baby Boomers? This should provide you with actionable insights into your inbound audiences.
Look beyond direct mail campaigns. Do specific zip codes or customer types respond better to some mailings over others? Consider assigning a task force to review metrics from previous campaigns to discover new information about what your leads care about and which offers or messaging resonates the most with them.
Align to your ideal customer profiles. Should you use Account-Based Marketing (ABM) or a Target Account Marketing (TAM) approach? Understanding your ideal customers and applying your demographic and psychographic data to your segmentation rules will only further the cause of your overall marketing push.
Choose the Right Categories for Scoring and Segmentation
To get ideas on how you might sort your prospects, take a look at the list of possibilities below and choose the ones that fit your business:
Demographic and Contact Information
Examples: Age, sex and gender, income level, location (city, state, country), primary language, email address, phone number, mailing address, website.
Examples: Job title, role, company name, company size, company revenue, colleague information (who they report to, who reports to them), career level (entry, mid-level, senior management, VP, executive).
Examples: Education level, political and religious affiliation, hobbies, vacation and travel behavior, media consumption, social media channels, family composition.
Examples: Reason for buying, major concerns/challenges, lifestyle, habits, brand loyalties, seasonal buying behavior.
Examples: A food and beverage company may have categories for customers who purchase wholesale versus retail – or chips versus soda. A B2B martech company might have separate categories for marketing managers at large corporations and solopreneurs. An online business for long-term housing rentals may segment customers as either homeowners, landlords, or renters.
Craft Unique Content for Each Customer Segment
It doesn’t matter how flashy or unique your direct mail is. If you aren’t sending content that truly “speaks” to your recipient, you’ll never make a sale. Spend more of your time and budget on crafting unique for each customer segment on your list. Then, consider other components like whether to send a letter, a postcard, a coupon, or a personalized trinket. The ultimate goal of your direct mail campaign is to win a sale, not just to simply “wow” a potential customer.
Adjust Your Design and Writing to Fit Different Audiences
The great thing about segmentation is that you can refine your direct mailings to speak directly to that segment. For example, if you’re separately targeting older female executives and male entry-level coders, you can personalize several aspects of your direct mail campaign, such as:
- The images. Choose images of people that look like your target recipient in age, ethnicity, and style of dress.
- The written content. Use headlines that speak directly to that persona’s specific challenges. Show that you understand what they need.
- The format or type of mailing. If your previous campaigns have proven that executives prefer letters while entry-level coders prefer postcards, adjust your mailings accordingly.
- Dimensional mail. Change the entire contents of your mailing. Sending a swarm of office-safe drones to a team of coders will drive awareness of your brand. A senior manager, however, will appreciate concise, on-target content to help them make a decision about you.
Send Direct Mail Based on Engagement Metrics
In our experience, we’ve seen that direct mail has the most success with B2B tech companies when it’s sent as early as possible in your sales funnel. However, there are plenty of other instances in which direct mail can have an impact – which is why it’s important to look at how your customers are engaging with your business when segmenting them for future mailings.
For example, identify which customers are at forks in their decision path. You may have a segment for those who are deciding whether to take a demo call or not, a segment for those who may be weighing whether to share your company with their manager, and a segment for those who have received a case study by email but haven’t read it yet. A piece of direct mail sent to these segments at the right moment may be exactly the push they need to make a decision.
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