Posts tagged direct mail marketing
Nowadays, life is flying by us all so fast. So many companies, advertisements, and messages – it’s difficult to keep up. However, if companies and organizations knew how to reach the consumer on a personal level, people actually pay attention. You might have the exact product or service a customer desires, but if you do not appeal to their senses and emotions, they may never know it. If you learn to direct your marketing efforts in such a way that creates a spark, even if only briefly, you can create something that grabs a person’s attention enough to focus on your brand. Then, you will have a window of opportunity to take them further into your own brand and connect their emotions and senses to what you have to offer.
Did you know that “61% of consumers feel more positive about a brand if personalized marketing is used”? When a consumer receives an e-mail related to something they were recently researching they are more likely to engage in that email. For example, if a consumer visited a college website and signed up for courses, they may get an e-mail about purchasing textbook for a discount. They need textbooks and you’ve made it easier for the student to reach the ultimate goal of gaining an education.
SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.
Nearly half (44%) of all consumers are less responsive to non-personalized messages. Think for just a moment: if you receive a marketing piece from a brand you have had a personal experience with, and the piece references your experience, you are more likely to engage that brand than if you receive a mass marketing piece from a brand you have never engaged with.
SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.
More than half (53%) of all consumers are very likely to purchase something from a company when a brand personalizes marketing through digital communications. If you’ve been shopping at a particular store and you give them your contact information, they will send you coupons to entice your return. You’ve already been there, so chances are, you’ll be back again.
SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.
Maybe a consumer will get a personalized marketing message that directs them to a website that includes their name in the web address. (Personalized URLs also known as PURLS.) People absolutely love to see their name in lights and companies are well aware of the power of this personalized marketing technique that’s becoming increasingly more popular. Is your company privy to the newest personalized marketing platforms?
From Mail Print’s perspective when we send highly personalized marketing pieces from our company our phones ring the week following the delivery of that mail piece at a rate 25% more than normal.
If a consumer trusts you, they probably love your company, brand, and products or services and may not even know it. Gain their trust and you will likely gain their business. Are you aware that more than half (52%) of all consumers trust brands that enable them to share their marketing preferences more than brands that do not?
If you can put yourself and your company in your target market’s shoes, then you will know exactly what to create and what to avoid. You will save precious time and lots of money also. It’s a marketers dream. Consumers need to trust your brand, know your logo, and feel good about what you offer to them. If you can accomplish all of that, everything else is cake.
SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.
The growth of modern online marketing and its integration with traditional advertising has created a communications overload, in which the average consumer may hear or see as many as several thousand marketing messages every day. Marketers and business owners looking to overcome this ground noise must develop effective cross-media strategies. Cross-media marketing campaigns use different products and properties to promote each other by way of multiple media. This might include direct mail, email marketing, radio, television, podcasts, social media posts, print ad campaigns, landing pages, and more.
The use of direct mail has shown significant positive feedback when it comes to measuring the response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns. According to a recent statistic in Deliver magazine, customers who were sent a printed catalog to the magazine’s website not only logged more time on the website, but also purchased 28% more of the product on average than customers who were not mailed a printed catalog.
This is not to say that direct mail should replace online marketing, but rather that the two should be integrated into a combined marketing campaign. Direct mail is most effective when it drives the customer to a website or landing page. Online marketing is most effective when the customer interacts with an online entity like filling out a form, giving the marketer or business owner product or service leads, or by sharing the site through social media. The key to the successful cross-media marketing campaign is that integration.
Increasing response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. Something as simple as direct mail postcards can help build a business when integrated with online marketing tools.
Two great ways to integrate:
1. Use a postcard campaign to collect email addresses and basic information
Email addresses are a cost-effective way to keep tabs on your current and potential customers and clients. Several popular email services, such as Mailchimp, even allow the user to track email openings and clicks, so the sender can better understand a campaign’s effectiveness. However, you can’t track email responses without obtaining emails and a postcard campaign is a great way to reach out to potential customers who would otherwise never know how or where to register.
2. Have postcards point potential consumers to a landing page
Landing pages are critically different than a website’s homepage in that a landing page lists only the information necessary for your selling point, whether it’s an offer, special, or product promotion, whereas a homepage often lists more products and information that might be otherwise distracting. Websites allow browsing, landing pages are a direct sales pitch; they guide the customer through a sale or intended interaction
The two major benefits of direct mail:
1. Ability to target the ideal consumer
Few products and services are attractive to everyone. By outlining the characteristics of a company’s best customers, a model of who best to target in a direct mail campaign can be achieved. This could mean targeting by gender, age, income level, and more, allowing a mailing campaign to reach the people who might be most receptive.
2. Increase your responses
While yes online marketing strategies are awesome, great response rates of cross-media marketing campaign consistently point to the necessity of direct mail. This is because direct mail continues to be opened at greater rates than email advertisements.
Whether you are in the marketing business or are a business owner looking to increase company marketing effectiveness, integrating direct mail and online advertising is the best way to influence response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns.
For years, companies have been capitalizing on the power of print advertising to attract customers in cross-media marketing campaigns. Cross-media marketing helps companies take advantage of the variety of different media formats that are available for modern advertising: of these media components, print media is supreme in many regards. Although email marketing is popular today, there are key areas where print mail is still much more effective at helping a company increase response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns.
Improved Response Rate And More Competitive Costs
Because print media provides a physical piece of advertising that buyers can hold in their hands, it enjoys a better rate of response than email. According to a study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association, direct mail campaigns to existing customers have a response rate of 3.4%. Similar email campaigns had a response rate of only 0.12%.
In the same study, the DMA showed that printed media also had a better cost per lead or order. Print mail campaigns had a cost of $51.40, while e-mail campaigns had a cost of $55.24 for each lead. This is especially important for businesses that have a set budget for their cross-media campaign and want to ensure that they stay inside of this budget, an issue that is paramount in the minds of today’s business professionals that want to raise response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns while keeping costs down in a struggling economy.
Advantages In B2C Marketing
For B2C marketing, an arena in which many organizations both small and large operate in, print media has many advantages over email marketing. According to a survey performed by Target Marketing, 34% of direct response marketers reported that printed mail campaigns delivered the best ROI in terms of customer acquisition, compared to email, which was selected by just 25% of those marketers as being best for B2C. This is in part because of the ability to personalize printed media through handwritten notes or signatures, something that email cannot do.
Printed media is also effective to improve response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns because of how many people still rely on printed materials mailed to them to either decide where they will go for a purchase or actually make the purchase. Integris marketing cites a study by the U.S. Post Office, which reports that 80% of consumers view and/or read their direct mail, and 50% of households have ordered products from catalogs. Conversely, many people have spam filters that keep out marketing emails, or simply do not even bother opening these types of digital messages and just move them right to the trash.
More Resonance Among The Highest Earners
Even for companies that do not market B2C, they are often targeting a specific business owner or high level executive for B2B media marketing campaigns. For these top-earning Americans, print media is extremely important. Adage.com reports that 93% of this population read hard copy magazines, while less than 30% read them online. Similar statistics were shown for the reading of newspapers. This means that if you are targeting wealthy business owners or financial officers, you are more likely to increase response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns using print media than digital media.
Sales professionals and business owners have numerous options when it comes to pursuing new business through media. Despite its age, print media remains a hugely vital aspect of any advertising effort. Use print media wisely in tandem with other media elements today so that you can grow your sales by improving the response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns.
You may be questioning your general approach to your print marketing campaigns in light of the fact that there are so many new ways consumers are being bombarded with information. Response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns are proving cross-media is not only successful but measurable meaning you can benefit from print in a traditional way by adding the benefits of personalized marketing in less traditional ways.
Personalized marketing campaigns are seeing solid results compared to standard, flat or static campaigns. Response of cross-media marketing campaigns are successful as they combine online and offline marketing. This allows you to use an initial small response rate to eventually drive a higher response.
By speaking to your audience numerous times in numerous ways allows you to maintain contact and remain top of mind. You are using repetition in a more innocuous way because the consumer is not being hit over the head with the exact same method. Cross-media marketing offers a constant reminder using direct marketing to invite the consumer to visit your website with a personalized URL that leads them to personalized information and messaging tailored directly to them.
This is far more valuable than a general message that may or may not apply to them. A personalized survey can then collect information that is saved in a general customer data base that alerts your sales team via email that a potential client is on the radar screen. They then have a legitimate reason to contact the lead with good background to get things started. At the same time, the information is tracked and stored for future CRM use in your system.
Response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns continue to show solid results. An analysis done by MindFireInc of 1,856 cross media campaigns in 30 cross vertical markets showed that an average visit rate of 6.5 percent and an average response rate of 4.5 percent. Results for some markets included:
- Education: 3.3 percent visit rate and a 2.1 percent response rate
- Non-profit: 5.3 percent visit rate and 3.5 percent response rate
- Financial: 4.6 percent visit rate and 3.1 percent response rate
- Insurance: 5.6 percent vist rate and 3.6 percent response rate
- Arts, Media and Entertainment: 7.3 percent visit rate and 5.9 response rate
As you can see despite the varying vertical markets the response rates of cross-marketing media show solid results. The visit rate also demonstrates the opportunity to collect information for future CRM campaigns.
Marketing firm Epsilon Targeting found that 6 out of 10 Americans preferred to get information via direct mail. Response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns demonstrate success and direct mail plays a role. The findings of Epsilon detailed that regardless of preference through email or post, the reason people enjoyed either was due to the ability to refer back to the info when convenient. However, of those citing this reason 73 percent were pro postal versus 45 percent for email. This means that direct mail as an initial contact will impact the response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns in a positive manner. Further proof of this was reflected in these findings:
- 62 percent enjoy checking their mail box for mail
- 59 percent enjoy getting mail about new services and products
- 73 percent found they were getting email they never open
- 67 percent said they get too many emails each day
Cross-media marketing campaigns are making marked progress in customer response compared to traditional means. Cross-media marketing also allows you to use the response rates of cross-marketing media as a way of saving money for future print campaigns by allowing you to focus only on those with proven interest.
The evolution of digital printing has transformed the world of direct marketing. No longer must the same static messages be sent to every customer on your mailing list. Instead, the use of customer information databases and variable data printing (VDP) allows a business to completely tailor the content of their mailing to each individual customer.
Complex variable data printing may sound difficult to implement, but with the right partner and the requisite data, it can produce an effective and profitable direct mail campaign that delivers superior response rates.
The VDP process starts with information. In fact, customer information is the real key to creating highly personal messages and delivering significantly higher results than traditional direct mail campaigns. With the use of multiple databases, a VDP campaign allows a company to combine the name, address and particulars of a customer with an ad specifically targeted to their needs and interests. The result is an ad that provokes a far higher response rate than traditional non-variable marketing pieces.
In addition to using the actual name of the recipient, VDP should also reference their geographic area, the past purchases, their buying behavior, personal interests and other specific traits. The key is to collect a lot of information on your customers or prospects and use that information to create a personal experience for the recipient. In this particular application, content is certainly king as it can grab the attention of the recipient and ultimately lead them to respond.
While words are the ultimate closer in a marketing piece, images are the attention grabber. Imagine that at a basic level a car dealer can send pictures of sports cars to the 18-25 demographic and sedans to the 40-50 crowd, but let’s add another layer of insight. The car dealer sends a piece that is designed around the age, past purchase history, family status (whether children are present in the household), and income. So now instead of just sports cars vs. sedans, we can target the right level of sedan and even offer a loan package based on general credit information. This differentiation can mean the difference between a direct mail piece being read or being discarded – in other words, the difference between success and failure.
The Follow Up
One of the more powerful benefits of VDP is that it can be constantly updated and customized to every potential client. Each time you send a mailing and get a response, the database is updated. In other words, you are constantly qualifying the desires and needs of your clients. With enough perseverance, you will build a true image of your client and be better positioned to convert them into a paying customer.
The Bottom Line
Variable data printing is a 21st century technology that no successful business can afford to be without. Utilizing the combined power of databases and the technological advances of digital printing allows companies to select, target and market to an incredible variety of customers on a very personal level.
Don’t be left behind when contemplating your next direct marketing campaign. Whether your business targets range from banking, insurance or casinos to non-profits and educational institutions, variable data printing can provide a very focused solution that generates excellent response rates, superior conversion and a whole new set of potential clients.
The Response Rates of Cross-Media Marketing Campaigns still support the need for “hybrid marketing”, better known as cross-media marketing techniques. Digital media and direct mail actually complement each other, and because of this fact, there will continue to exist a strong need for direct mail marketing in the indefinite future.
The integration of print and digital media is still generating leads at a superior ROI and, particularly in some specific types of organizations, this will continue to form a reliable part of marketing strategies. Not only that, but tying the two channels of direct and digital marketing together can form a powerful vehicle for improving a companies client base. At the moment, this combination is essential for laying the foundation for mobile and video communication-based campaigns in not a few industries. Response Rates of Cross-Media Marketing Campaigns depend largely on how intelligently direct mail is integrated into existing strategies. Used insightfully, direct mail is a reliable tool for boosting response rates and setting the foundation for long-term client commitment.
Response Rates of Cross-Media Campaigns in cases where direct mail marketing is used, are influenced by two major factors: which types of businesses use them (which is a very flexible determinant) and/or how they are used to complement existing inbound marketing strategies. Banks, universities and colleges, casinos, insurance companies are the organizations benefiting from and will continue to benefit from direct mail marketing because they are able to continue increasing their client base at a cheaper and more effective rate through personalized marketing techniques than static ones.
There are neurological reasons for this. Research conducted at Bangor University shows that physical media effects human memory differently as it creates a more profound emotional response. This in turn, will hypothetically cause for more positive brand-associations – something of particular importance where the above-mentioned industries are concerned. Since clients are often being asked to entrust large sums of money with them, trust is of a premium.
As to understanding the more pertinent question: whether or not cross-media is more useful for generating more leads, the research that has been singularly helpful in understanding the various Response Rates of Cross-Media Marketing Campaigns are as follows:
- Reports from the DMA (Direct marketing Association)
- The PODi report (carried out by the Digital Printing Initiative.)
- The CMO (Chief Marketing Officer’s council) report.
- A collection of other reports stored in the MindFire Inc database.
What these reports have indicated is that personalized marketing techniques have a vital place for marketers, while static campaigns (those allowing for no flexible integration between direct marketing and digital platforms) are simply not as effective in terms of ROI performance.
The conclusion then, should be clear: the shift towards increasing digital marketing has not changed the need for direct-mail marketing. In fact, direct mail marketing is still pivotal as a launching pad for digital marketing campaigns, and will continue to be so in future.
Before the new millennium catalogs contained info products and pictures to spend the weekend looking through, dog-earing and talking about with your neighbors.
You could read ample descriptions about each item and then call an 800 number to chat with a never-rushed customer service rep to get all your questions answered before she gently walked you through the order taking process of collecting your item numbers, colors and quantities.
It was an expensive and time consuming process that worked great in the day.
Flash forward to today. Rather than becoming extinct, like some people wagered with the advent of the Internet and digital catalogs, print catalogs have proven the power of pictures and touch by remaining an unbeatable means to get consumers to place orders online.
Print catalogs influence twice as many consumers as both Pinterest and Twitter for both in-store and online purchases, according to Baynote’s 3rd Annual Holiday Online Shopping Survey.
Print catalogs influenced 81.9% more in-store purchases and 42.9% more online purchases than Facebook, according to Baynote’s survey.
Ecommerce Causes Catalogs to Change with the Times
The Internet, iPads, and smart phones changed everything for catalogs. They became skinnier, more targeted and with just as many coders as call center people on staff as they shift from clicking through a transaction replaced being talked through an order.
Catalogs today allow us to shop around the clock without ever speaking with a customer service representative. The Internet has empowered us to gather information and place a transaction with complete freedom and ease. And while this may appear to be to our advantage as a shopper, it’s actually all well planned (and manipulated) by the catalog’s marketing team. They’ve spent months, perhaps years, laying a digital trail they want you to follow and they know every spinoff route you may take and are waiting for you there, too, with more incentives and reasons to buy from them now.
This lean and mean sales trail they’ve sent you down reminds me of the sales model “traps” builders assemble. You know the ones where you pull up to a new subdivision to view model homes and after you sign in you are sent to see three model homes that are conveniently gated off forcing you to go through them in the order they want you to and you end up right back in the sales office for the Realtor’s pitch?
So even though you think you’re free to roam, each page you open or link you click has been finely orchestrated to help you come one step closely to typing in your credit card number and all these is done online without the need for physical sales people on salaries or more call center staff taking up physical space or cost.
How Catalogs Have Changed and Adapted
Like any business, catalogs have changed with the times to survive. Here are the biggest changes direct mail catalogs have made.
Less Pages. Can you imagine the cost of mailing the size of the former Montgomery Ward catalog to one million addresses? Nor could any cataloger thus the reason J.C. Penney went from an annual large catalog to a monthly Look Book and why IKEA first points new customers to its digital catalog before adding them on its print catalog mailer. Catalogers have learned how to shave cost by printing and mailing less or more targeted catalogs to customers who are prone to order the most. They’ve fine-tuned the formula of mailing less bulk and generating more bucks.
Less Copy. Mail order catalog copy has shrunk because you can read a 50-word description and go online for a complete whitepaper or brochure or call a sales rep to get your questions answered. Plus you can see better images, often in 3D that eliminated the needs for wordy descriptions when you can see the product at every angle and in every color with the click of a button.
More interactive. There are more interactivity points — landing pages, ecommerce portals, macro, micro and review sites — all before calling the 800# (that is if you ever choose to speak with a person).
Augmented Reality. Moosejaw Mountaineering released an app, called X-Ray, for its customers to use with their smart phones upon the receipt of its catalog. The app used augmented reality that allowed customers to see a hidden layer of images in the pages of the catalog. Customers that scanned catalog pages saw the underwear the models were wearing underneath the Moosejaw outerwear.
Moosejaw’s app showed new technology and extended sales to the company’s underwear line.
SOURCE:“Catalogs Find a New Role as Ecommerce Traffic Drivers,” Multichannel Merchant, May 2013.
Triggered Mailings. Catalogers and ecommerce merchants now have the technology and customer data to mail when a potential sale looms such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, or when a new home is purchased. Even the five largest catalogers, Sears & Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, Spiegel, J.C. Penney and Alden’s, didn’t have personal data scrubbed, ready and cued up in CRM systems in the 70s to mail triggered mailings. Technology allows this today and triggered mailings can drive open rates into the double digits and response rates over 50%.
SOURCE:“Increase Open Rates & ROI with Deliverability Analysis, Frequency & Triggers,” Lyris HQ.
Is your company driving sales to its products through direct mail, catalogs, or multichannel campaigns? Are you using all the tools and technology to stay far ahead of the competition and forecasted changes coming in our digital world?
Triggered Orders. Catalogers can count on the phone ringing as soon as they drop their printed catalogs at the post office. According to a study, 58% of the 817 consumers surveyed said they look at catalogs as soon as they are received, with 92% indicating they have made a purchase from the catalogs.
SOURCE:“Catalogs Find a New Role as Ecommerce Traffic Drivers,” Multichannel Merchant, May 2013.
Two-thirds of the survey’s respondents also said that if catalogs were to become too expensive for the catalog companies to continue producing that they would still request them.
Don’t let the pain of changing keep you from your digital rewards. Offline messages delivered through mediums such as catalogs continue to drive online actions. In fact 67% of online actions are stimulated by offline messages.
Don’t complain about the rising costs of postage if your company didn’t register for last year’s USPS business discount by using QR Codes® (deadline was August 12, 2012). This is the third year in a row the U.S. Postal Service is offering discounts to encourage businesses to use new technology such as QR Codes to improve their mailing results.
This year the USPS is upping the ante by including a scan-to-call component to its QR Code promo. This means when a prospect scans the QR Code with their smartphone that they will be connected by phone to the business that did the mailing. And that business will get a 2% postage discount, which could mean hundreds of dollars in savings per mailing.
For example, a business that normally would have paid $14,750 for mailing 25,000 bounce-back coupons with QR Codes that cost .59 each would only pay $14,250 for postage with the 2% postal service discount.
That 2% would equate to $500 in postage savings. This is more than enough to pay for a celebration dinner for a marketing department when the mailing brings in $652,000 in sales by generating 1,000 purchases (4% of mailing) of a $652 product.
September 30 is the deadline to register your business to receive a 2% discount on mailings you send using one of three emerging technologies shown below:
Augmented Reality Component: Augmented Reality (AR) is a live view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input, such as sound, video, graphics, or GPS data.
Authentication Component: Authentication describes the process of verifying a unique customer using a combination of authentication factors (at least two).
Near Field Communication (NFC): Near Field Communication creates a two-way communication link between two devices with Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) capabilities.
Want a Deeper Understanding of Postal Changes and Discounts?
Pitney Bowes has produced a series of great webinars and slideshows that summarize the myriad of changes and rewards the postal service has to soften the pain of change.
I recommend starting by reading Pitney Bowes overview slideshow: Understanding the USPS: The Rewards for Change.
I hope by embracing the new technology and the discounts available to your business for doing so. If so you’ll be even more prosperous in 2013.
* QR Codes are a registered trademark of Denso Wave.
The direct mail list is the most important component of any direct mail campaign. Some studies indicate that it determines 60% of your mailing’s success rate. Before your nonprofit even starts on the creative aspects of the campaign, start with the nuts and bolts of securing the best list to bring you more donors.
If you’re supplementing your existing donor database by also buying an outside list, know that there are two types of lists (1) compiled lists and (2) response lists.
A compiled list is a database of names and records that have been compiled through public records such as vehicle owner registrations or mortgage loan applications. These lists can get dated quickly so it’s important to ask the list broker about collection dates and updates. Also be sure to always purchase a small test list. It’s the best way to be judicious with your organization’s dollars.
Response lists are compiled based on data from people who have responded to some other offer such as an advertisement, purchased from a catalog or entered their name and information in a drawing. If leasing a response list ask how recent these records were compiled. Frequency and the dollar spend are key factors in the solidness of the list you are negotiating to lease.
Test the List First
It’s wise to ask for a small list to start with – 1,000 to 20,000 names depending on the size of your mailings. Some list compilers have a minimum order of 5,000 records. You may want to shop around for a list partner with more flexibility or ask them to comp the test group of names in order to win your future business.
Make sure to build in enough time in your campaign to test the waters. Fine-tuning the list could save you thousands of dollars in postage and increase your donor acquisition twofold.
The Standard Fair of List Compilers
List compilers usually lease their list for a single use unless you negotiate otherwise. Prices range from $65 to several hundred dollars per thousand records and are available in a variety of formats. Depending on how many variables you add to your list request, the price goes up. Niche market lists can sell for upwards of $1000 per thousand records.
You should ask about spoilage or what part might come back undeliverable. A guaranteed delivery rate of 93% may sound good. In reality, 10% and sometimes up to 20% of your mailing may go to the wrong person and still never returned. Look for deliverability guarantees of 95%, 98% or even 99% because they are out there, according to direct marketing experts and blogger Jeffrey Dobkin of the Danielle Adams Publishing Company.
Other Sources of Mailing Lists
Trade and Membership Associations are excellent sources of mailing lists. There are nearly 8,000 trade associations listed in the National Trade and Professional Associations of the United States. Association lists are also available through the Encyclopedia of Associations by The Gale Group and online through Lexis-Nexis.
SOURCE:“Places to Buy Mailing Lists,” by Jeffrey Dobkins, The Danielle Adams Publishing Company,
Don’t neglect to inquire with your local Chamber of Commerce if you’re searching for good, local business names. You can select by business size, number of employees and government industry classification code (often referred to as the SIC).
You can find even more sources by searching the Internet. Just make sure to ask relevancy, accuracy, and integrity questions about how the list was compiled and insist on a small list to test first.
Remember the best list is a house list, your organization has compiled slowly and meticulously by gaining permission to add donors to your list, but it never hurts to augment your list from the sources mentioned above.