Direct mail isn’t just for pre-sale. In the same way personalized direct mail helps nurture a sales relationship to a successful conclusion, it can effectively support your post-sale partnership. The multichannel buyer’s journey continues, and at PFL, we make orchestrating that journey a cinch. That’s why the “What to Send When?” series is diving into customer marketing!
We’re starting in the most logical way possible: how to welcome new customers.
The best time to engage a new customer is right after they sign, not when you’re asking for a renewal. Start off right with a warm welcome that ensures your customer will:
- Feel excited about what your product or service can do for them
- Trust and rely on your brand
- Use your product or service skillfully and continually
The “when” of this type of direct mail is obviously meant to happen right after signing the contract, but read on for the deeper strategies and thoughtful ideas for what to send.
Welcoming a new customer doesn’t always have to involve a dimensional package. Depending on your business case, a flat mailer might be just right.
What to send: Flat mailers include things like postcards, letters, or even (to be extra memorable) one of PFL’s Interactive Mailers. Our Interactive Mailers are engineered for an extra level of engagement.
When do mailers make more sense than a kit?
- When your message is simple: The medium should match the message. If you want to convey respectful professionalism, a letter does the job very well.
- When the sale was transactional: If the sale was more of a transactional nature and less about ongoing partnership, a mailer is often a more logical choice.
- When email isn’t an option: If you normally send welcome messages via email, do you have a backup plan? When you have a mailing address but no email address, or when someone has opted out of email contact, a physical flat mailer becomes your only option. (Fortunately, PFL can trigger sending based on any data variable in your system of record, so the higher-value mailers go out only when necessary. More on that in a moment.)
- When budget is tight: Oh, to have an unlimited marketing budget. Because such a thing isn’t possible, a flat mailer makes sense when you want to deliver a tactile, personalized welcome message without dipping into the red.
- When welcoming end users: If you’re providing a new solution, such as a software platform, to numerous end users, consider sending postcards to warm them up to your brand. You can include tips and shortcuts to boost later onboarding efforts.
Vivint is a company that provides smart home solutions. They came to PFL with a problem: the company wanted to reduce waste by sending a printed welcome letter only to customers without an email address. Whenever an email addresses was in place, they preferred to reach out digitally. PFL made it easy for Vivint to configure direct mail from Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Not only that, but the letters are personalized with names, dates, monthly payments, and more. Vivint saw a 98% savings with this program while ensuring they could continue warmly welcoming their customers via the most effective channels. (Find the complete case study here.)
The strategy behind the play: A welcome letter or other flat mailer is courteous and professional. You’re demonstrating the level of service that your new customer is about to receive. It’s also a great opportunity to thank the customer for selecting you and boost their confidence that they made the right choice. You can use your mailer to introduce a dedicated customer success representative and make the transition away from sales. Other goals for your mailer might include outlining next steps or asking for customer satisfaction feedback or a public review.
If you choose interactive mailing formats such as Slide-and-Reveal or Infinity Fold, you give customers a reason to keep your brand on their desk just a little while longer to play with the piece, keeping your brand top of mind.
Many business deals go far beyond the transaction level. When signing the contract means it’s time to dig in deeper than ever to align goals and start chasing after milestones, a welcome kit shows your commitment.
What to send: The contents of your kit should match the message you’re sending, and you should always personalize the message.
Welcome kits commonly include one or more of these:
- Essential items, such as membership cards
- Informational materials, such as user guides
- Branded goods, such as mugs, pens, stickers, socks, or notepads
- Thoughtful, celebratory, or practical products such as coffee, champagne, or a computer headset
We have a lot of great customer examples, so rather than take my word for it, check out what some of them are doing:
For MedAire, a welcome kit goes far beyond being just a “good idea” — it’s downright essential. MedAire provides services that mitigate risks to owners, crews, passengers, and guests on yachts and private aircrafts. Their welcome kits to the owners are both luxurious and practical: they include a padded folio, a letter from the CEO on high-quality stock paper, and enough membership cards for everyone aboard the craft. For a long time, MedAire managed multiple vendors to provide each element in the kit and fulfill the orders, but recently they turned to PFL as their single source of truth. PFL not only provides the software solution that makes automation possible, but we also manage each kit component and even the fulfillment. And thanks to our integrations with MedAire’s CRM, we can make sure each kit includes the right number of membership cards. All of that means smooth sailing (and less manual labor) for MedAire.
PitchBook, a financial data software company, wanted to drive adoption of their software immediately after launching with new customers. The marketing team decided to experiment with sending welcome kits using the PFL solution. After performing rigorous A/B testing, they launched a US-based kit for welcoming new customers. The kit includes a personalized notecard, a Yeti mug, and a detailed story about how the individual who funded Yeti used PitchBook to make the funding decision.
The results? Users who received the kit showed:
- 47% higher activity with the software
- 75% increase in profile views within the software
- 211% increase in downloads of the Google Chrome extension
The kit was so successful that the marketing team expanded it to EMEA.
The goods in your kit are not the point of the kit. They are there to support your message. When our customers use the items in their kits to support their stories, they invariably generate excitement for their brands and see big wins.
KELL Partners is a strategic consulting firm that helps non-profits and higher education institutions effectively adopt and use Salesforce. They wanted to create a kit that would celebrate closed deals while also building ongoing partnerships. Their “Success is Brewing” welcome kit includes a KELL-branded mug, roasted coffee beans, and a personalized notecard thanking the new customer. The notecard also helps smoothly transition from the sales stage to the project stage. KELL went to extra lengths to ensure the kit contents and kit packaging were sustainably sourced and eco-friendly, which is important both to KELL and their audience. (Sustainability is also very important to PFL.) These kits have earned extremely positive reactions. They generated buzz when KELL took samples to live Salesforce events. Now while people are working from home, KELL’s new customers have been happy to share their addresses to receive the kits. Some have even showed off their mugs on video calls.
The KELL marketing team designed their kit so that account executives could decide how best to use it, either for prospects or new customers. The messaging about partnership stays the same, but some kit details and the personalized notecard change to match the situation. We’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again: repurposing kits saves savvy marketers time, energy, and cost. Way to go, KELL Partners!
The strategy behind the play: Your welcome kit can help you transition from sales to service, deliver critical materials, increase/accelerate adoption, and generate excitement. After all your hard work building momentum through the sales process, sending a thoughtful, personalized direct mail package not only continues that momentum but increases it.
The line between a “welcome kit” and an “onboarding kit” can get blurry, but the key difference is purpose. The main purpose of a welcome kit is to deliver a celebratory message of welcome. The main purpose of an onboarding kit is to support and improve the onboarding process. A welcome kit might include onboarding materials, and an onboarding kit might include a thank you or welcome message, but how you measure success will be different. The success of an onboarding kit is measured in the speed and completeness of implementation and/or adoption.
What to send: Onboarding kits may or may not include branded items, treats, or toys. Those aren’t essential. However, they can help generate the excitement for the effort to do the onboarding work. If you include goods, make sure they support or speak to your main purpose, which is getting your new customer up to speed with your service and/or software.
The real heart and soul of the onboarding kit is your informational material. Guidebooks, checklists, and roadmaps — that’s the way to go.
Doing research can help you make a killer onboarding kit. Find out from your customers what types of blockers tend to stall their progress, and then include information in your kit to combat those challenges.
Drift is a tech company that provides conversational marketing software — if you’ve ever used a website chat popup, you may have used Drift. Launching an automated chat feature requires upfront effort, which is why Drift considers onboarding to be critical. Their customer marketing team tracked onboarding progress for customers in Salesforce. When they realized customers consistently stalled at 50% to 60% complete, the team partnered with PFL to accelerate progress and increase the quantity of successful adoptions.
Drift orchestrated a multichannel journey tying together an email newsletter, a piece of direct mail, and a follow-up call from the customer success representative. Their direct mail? A guidebook with a section devoted to implementation, plus a personalized notecard referring to that section. Other digital communications also refer to the implementation portion of the guidebook, drawing attention from multiple avenues. These sophisticated marketers are using all channels to direct audience members to look precisely where Drift wants them to look.
The strategy behind the play: Your onboarding kit is all about increasing adoption and retention, with a focus on the actions the customer needs to take. This kit is the best sort of enabler: it enables your customers to help themselves, which ultimately helps you. Increasing the success of onboarding reduces costly technical support, saving time and resources. Furthermore, when you accelerate the training and adoption process, customers can more quickly reach the point where they see ROI, and greater ROI means happier customers.
PFL can help you welcome and onboard your new customers by making it easy to orchestrate the entire customer journey, straight from your CRM or marketing platform.
We would welcome you to check out our solutions!