Direct marketing is on the rise and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down. Customers appreciate targeted marketing more than ever. You can see this trend in the growing number of users turning on their adblockers; that number climbed to nearly 26% in 2018. But customers still enjoy sorting their mail and seeing offers that are targeted towards them. When our spam folders are overflowing, it’s nice to sit down and flip through a catalog for a change.
So how do you move the needle on your direct mail marketing success this year?
Every marketing plan should begin with a review of prior performance. As you plan for 2019’s marketing efforts, take a long look at what you did in 2018. What was successful? What didn’t pan out? This is where your RFM segmentation and key codes come into play. Segmenting and coding your list will help you analyze performance and make adjustments to your future circulation plans.
For example, if your postcard campaign targeting parents didn’t get the response you were hoping for, revisit it. Was your message not compelling? Was it insufficiently targeted? Are parents just not engaged with your product? Did you test a new list and it bombed? With this information, you can move forward to create a new, fresh take that will support your 2019 needs.
Companies are moving more and more toward cross-channel marketing. Your company may use email marketing, direct mail, social media, and more, but if you’re taking a scattershot approach to these strategies, they’re unlikely to work as well. Instead of jumping from platform to platform, companies will get better results by integrating and coordinating their efforts. If your brand targets a specific demographic then you’ll want to unify the messaging across the channels. But if your brand sells to both older and younger cohorts, then consider adjusting your messaging and merchandising by channel…especially if one channel skews much younger.
Triggered direct mail, such as postcards, has been around for a few years. If you haven’t tested it yet, then give it a look for 2019. The idea behind a triggered mailing is that it happens in response to something the customer (or prospect) does. Maybe they’ve ordered from your website but haven’t made a second purchase. If they come back to browse your site but leave without placing an order, then receiving a 1st class postcard a few days later (that reminds them of the page they viewed) can help bring them back to complete the purchase.
Many companies do this via email, which is certainly less expensive – but it’s also more likely to get caught up in spam filters and promotional offers, decreasing ROI and your brand’s reputation. Also consider the fact that lapsed customers are more likely to have opted out of email. Every contact you have with the customer should be meaningful and helpful.
Remember to set up a hold-out group to test whether the postcard generates incremental, profitable revenue. Some of the buyers will come back to make a purchase even if you don’t mail them a postcard.
Triggered postcards can also be used to convert website browsers into new customers. If they’ve never made a purchase, then a postcard might be the final touch needed to help remind them to come back and place an order. Make sure your vendor includes a hold-out group to prove the ROI!
Obviously, a mail campaign won’t directly incorporate videos, but if you’re pulling customers towards websites, social media, or other online channels, remember that video is big and getting bigger. Our eyes are naturally drawn towards motion rather than still pictures. You can also convey more information quickly in a video.
Videos are also a great way to build content and give customers a reason to come back and spend time on your site. For brands that sell products to hobbyists or fitness enthusiasts, instructional videos can position your brand as a subject matter authority and video links can shared on social media and forums…giving you even more exposure.
A couple of video-based caveats: always make sure your videos have closed captioning for those who are hearing impaired or deaf. Even hearing viewers will often use closed captions to watch a video without turning on their computer’s sound. This is especially useful when you’re browsing at work. Also, avoid auto-play videos. Chrome blocks them automatically. Beyond that, more than half of your customers dislike them.
Postage rates continue to increase and the old “spray-and-pray” method of sending a postcard and catalog to every household in your database has not been a cost-effective option for years.
Discover how targeted direct mail methods can deliver a higher ROI on a much smaller circulation. If you’re ready to optimize your catalog and postcard mailings, or need help executing tests, contact us today. 2019 is set to be a great year for direct mail!