Move over, old-school direct mail. Marketing automation gave you a new lease on life. Did you send direct mail to everyone on your list and those big, fat response rates you were promised never appeared? Sorry, but you were sold a bill of goods. The truth is, batch and blast direct mail doesn’t work for most B2B companies. It is a great tool to reach unknown B2C consumers but it’s the wrong way to use modern direct mail for B2B marketing. What it is, is easy to set up. Don’t fall for it! You might as well just shovel your direct mail budget into a dumpster and light it on fire.
If you’re using a marketing automation platform, then you can use direct mail to intelligently target prospects, leads, and customers at the right time. When you orchestrate direct mail, you send less dof it and it is more efficient, that’s the simple math behind the significant ROI direct mail delivers.
This article will arm you with best practices to use direct mail marketing in unique ways.
6% of consumers who responded to direct mail went online or
visited the physical store. (Info Trends)
Direct mail marketing average up to 37x times
more responses than email. (Wall Street Journal)
When asked, “Which is more effective at getting you to take
action?” 30 percent of millennials said direct mail, 24 percent
said email. (DMN News)
The Direct Mail Renaissance
Only a few years ago, the best you could do was send direct mail to a specific list and hope it worked. Now, you can send different types of mail to different customers based on their behavior. Here’s what you need to know about modern, data-driven direct mail.
Smart direct mail is fueled by customer behavior. Behavioral data captured from your digital marketing programs can be used to send direct mail only when it will be the most effective. Send direct mail when a prospect’s response rate falls, after a milestone such as a discovery call or when they reach a certain lead score.
Smart direct mail is personalized. Use customer data to change anything (or everything) about your direct mail. Change artwork, copy or even packaging based on the specific prospect, customer, account or cohort data. Personalized direct mail isn’t as expensive as you’d think and a range of products can be personalized, so you aren’t stuck with just a notecard that says ‘Hello John.’ You can send John a fully tailored, customized kit stuffed with swag he’ll like. Now, of course, you need to know who John really is.
Smart direct mail is scalable. Choose the right vendor and your direct mail can be produced, packed and delivered at scale. Scalability problems usually crop up when you start leaning into personalization with direct mail. It doesn’t have to, just pick a vendor with the right equipment and experience to crunch your customer data.
Direct Mail Campaigns: Best Practices
So how do you get started with a smarter, more evolved direct mail campaign? Start with data, make it a core part of your multi-channel marketing strategy and measure it properly. Here are the details:
Make data a priority. Hopefully, you’re already capturing as much customer data as you can to drive
digital marketing. That same can be used to personalize, trigger and measure direct mail. This is the core concept for creating intelligent direct mail. It’s what raises it above the one-size-fits-all approach of the blast and batch method.
Go evergreen. Eventually, make direct mail a permanent part of a program.
Because it is triggered only when it is needed, evergreen direct mail programs often lower final costs and boost ROI.
Measure direct mail properly. Modern direct mail uses customer data as a digital channel, but it can be a struggle to understand how it is working. Define clear KPIs for direct mail programs that give you a true idea of success for the channel. Here’s an article all about measuring the true impact of direct mail.
Orchestrate! If you forget everything else, remember this: direct mail success depends on orchestration. The real power of direct mail will be seen within your digital channels. Direct mail is like adding nitro to your digital program but to reap the rewards you have to have multi-channel orchestration in place before you print a single piece. The front load effort of orchestration can be a challenge, but it will make all of your marketing programs more effective.
Multichannel Orchestration: Best Practices
Use a data-driven approach to anticipate customer touchpoints.
• Know when, where and why a customer touches your brand. Be ready
for their next move and place the message on the right path.
• Example: Don’t retarget e-commerce shoppers with items they
browsed by didn’t add to their cart, instead target them with direct mail
referencing items they added to their cart but didn’t purchase.
Focus on omnichannel strategies and technologies.
• Purchase, build or borrow the tech you need to create a cohesive,
predictable experience wherever your customers are.
• Respect customer demands about privacy and messaging preference.
• Use data-driven insights to include the right marketing mix.
Make Sales and Marketing alignment top priority.
• Orchestrate your human capital with clear, consistent communication.
• Be biased toward cross-functional teams.
• Set a routine and stick to it.
Plan resources for testing and optimization.
• Make quarterly, annual and bi-annual plans for auditing and testing.
• Don’t skimp on good A/B testing solutions.
• Set clear KPIs but be flexible and curious about unexpected insights.
Batch and Blast Direct Mail Has It’s Place
But if you’re focused on highly targeted, personalized B2B marketing, it’s not going to perform well. Why? A personal touch is more important in B2B marketing – just look at the dozens of martech vendors that are appearing in the landscape: they are all focused on personalized, engaging customer experience. Direct mail must do the same thing if it’s going to work for a B2B organization. But it is worth it to reach those incredible response rates across all channels.
Remember, direct mail works best in an orchestrated, multi-channel strategy. Focus on developing a smarter, more responsive, and vastly more personalized direct mail campaign.