By Virginia Sanders
Adding direct mail to your marketing and sales journey is exciting! This is your chance to make a memorable connection with your future customers.
But how do you strategize what to send and when to send it?
Tactile marketing is infinitely versatile, so figuring out where to start can be intimidating. Simply sending a gift and hoping it gets you that meeting or demo with your prospect isn’t an effective or scalable approach, especially at the top of the funnel.
Direct mail success hinges on five key principles:
- Orchestration with other channels
The rest of this article shows you how to apply these principles to your direct mail at the top of the funnel, before the prospect becomes a sales-qualified lead (SQL).
Your contact is at the Awareness Stage. It’s early days, but you’ve determined that the contact and company fit your ideal customer profile. Now you need to introduce your brand value and keep your brand top of mind so the prospect will be more likely to engage with digital outreach. Your goal is to warm up this lead.
What to send: Start with something small to nurture your budding relationship. For instance, you can focus on driving virtual event attendance. If you’re one of multiple partners sponsoring an online event, follow up with personalized mail to introduce your brand. Take the opportunity to invite the contact to visit your website or watch a video. Your direct mail piece might be a straightforward accordion mailer or maybe something more detailed such as a folded iron cross or an infinity fold.
The strategy behind the play: The customer journey is only beginning — at this early stage, a low-cost mailer is more economical and can still have the desired impact. What you need now is greater awareness to help move your contact through the funnel. If a $10 mailer accomplishes that goal, why spend $50 on a larger kit?
Sometimes you can use the same mailer or box design at different stages for slightly different purposes with PFL’s versatile Creative Collection. Reusing elements, designs, or whole kits increases your ROI and decreases workload.
Your prospect reached the Engagement Stage. Great! That means they’ve shown interest in your brand by clicking one of your email links or visiting a key page on your website. Now that you’re starting to collect behavior history on your contact record, you can even use that data to trigger relevant mail, thanks to the PFL solution’s unique data integrations.
Now that the prospect is warmed up and you have data, it’s the best time to send all sorts of toys and trinkets and goodies, right?
Hold. That. Thought.
Your prospect doesn’t need stuff — they need the solution you can provide. Tactile marketing isn’t about swag. It’s about showcasing your message and brand.
What to send: This is a great time to send high-quality literature about your solution or product. Our go-to Literature Boxes and Promotion Boxes are ideal for sending print pieces. They both have plenty of space to include a thoughtful supporting item to enhance your messaging, and they’re highly customizable so you can display your brand inside and out.
You can also send interactive print pieces. For example:
- A worksheet that highlights problems and explains how you solve them, along with a branded pen to fill it out
- A peel-back or scratch card that reveals a message about your value, some sort of discount, or a success statistic from a current customer
- A simple game to play, such as a bingo card with industry trends that point back to the need for your solution
Don’t forget to use your data! For instance, if you send one guidebook to all recipients, your personalized notecard can call out a specific section in the book. By pointing out content that an individual is already interested in, you help them out and demonstrate your ability to support their needs. (Paycor drives 10x ROI sending relevant content based on nurture streams.)
The strategy behind the play: Your goal is to educate and show value, building a relationship with the individual. Ideally, any items you send should direct your prospects’ attention to how you are ultimately going to help them solve their business problems.
Your prospect has entered the Acceleration Stage when they’ve reached a certain threshold of engagement — perhaps you’ve judged that by scoring their actions for intent. One way or another, they’ve shown a high level of interaction, and you’re ready to get your expert business development reps involved.
It’s time to get this lead into your pipeline, so that means sending something flashy, right?
Hold that thought!
What to send: Now is a great time for something more dimensional and less flat, but with one caveat: it’s still not about sending a high-value item, but instead about the journey. At this stage, you should ensure that you know when the package lands so you can engage your prospect in a timely manner, right when your brand experience is happening. PFL makes that possible with 15-minute delivery notifications when you ship via FedEx. Plus, our 20+ years of experience allow us to work with our customers to send creative, branded dimensional pieces.
Here are some real-world kit examples:
- Arxan, a cybersecurity tech company, sends a kit with a secret message written in invisible ink and a UV flashlight that reveals the message. It’s an effective method to prove a point about security.
- PFL (that’s us!) sends a kit with a Dammit Doll, intended to be a humorous way for marketers to vent their frustrations about low response rates.
Use personalization. Specifically, reference the pain points this individual has shown interest in addressing.
The strategy behind the play: At this stage, it’s about being more personal and still (as always) showing your value. Your main cost should generally come from using FedEx to capitalize on the timing after the piece lands. Then your business development rep will join the fray to guide the prospect into the SQL phase through direct, personal engagement.
Keep in mind: this is not an exhaustive list of strategies, nor is it prescriptive. These are starter strategies for building and expanding. They can be moved around and shuffled into different order, especially as you learn and collect data from completed campaigns.
At the end of the day, you have a lot of options when it comes to direct mail. But the way to really win at creating brand awareness and increasing ROI is by focusing on your prospect’s journey through the funnel.
Here’s the #1 takeaway from all this:
If you ever feel like you’re sending a bribe in exchange for someone’s time, hold that thought. Revisit your strategy and ensure you’re creating a memorable brand experience.
In the next installment of “What to Send When?” series, you’ll get strategies for making stronger mid-funnel connections.