How We Helped a Client Think Outside of the Box to Reach their Perfect Prospects at Home
COVID-19 has thrown businesses for a loop, but there are still jobs to be done and innovations to be made.
Let’s talk about the spectrum of what we’ve been seeing.
At Strata, we’ve seen the success of certain marketing campaigns ebb as some business temporarily halt marketing operations. The explanation for that one is pretty obvious — if you’re not marketing, you get no return.
We’ve also seen some business remain stable for other customers, like those primarily marketing through digital channels. As we touched on here, email and digital marketing are remaining relatively consistent and in some cases, experiencing positive trends.
And then we’ve also seen some increase during the COVID crisis, like a recent B2B direct mail campaign, which might surprise you. With a B2C direct mail campaign, people are home and opening their mail, so it would make sense to experience an uptick in return in a B2C direct mail campaign response rate.
But with people out of office, could a B2B direct mail campaign really be experiencing success?
The answer is yes. Thanks to our adaptive strategies at Strata, that’s exactly what happened. In fact, one campaign that’s expected to performed better than both industry and personal benchmarks.
An Idea and a Survey
Our team realized that with decision makers working remotely, B2B direct mail campaigns would fall short, likely reaching their intended recipients too late — or not at all.
To get around this, we pulled data from our B2B data base, identified the decision makers, then matched it against a mailing list used by B2C businesses. This matching revealed the personal addresses of the decision makers, allowing us to send them B2B communications as if it were a B2C direct mail interaction.
This presented an obvious question: if we were to send decision makers B2B marketing materials directly to their homes, would they take this initiative as an invasion of privacy?
We sent a survey to IT professionals and executives focused around that exact question. We found that the overwhelming majority would not mind business materials being sent to their home given the current crisis.
Once we had this information, the next step was to implement the strategy.
Our campaign consisted of highly-personalized dimensional mail boxes sent via mail directly to the homes of top B2B decision makers. Of those that received the campaign mailer, we’ve seen very promising clickthrough rates and an upwards tick in scheduled appointments.
We plan to update this post once final results for this campaign are available.
In the worst of times, successful businesses find ways to adapt and overcome.
Let the above serve as a real-life demonstration. It’s a reality we’ve been harping on since the beginning of this blog program (and certainly since the beginning of the COVID crisis) — the absolute importance of adaptive marketing.
Want to put Strata’s adaptive marketing solutions to work for you? Contact us to see how we can do to help your business thrive as we get through these difficult times.
How to increase the effectiveness of your next dimensional mail campaign
In the world of direct mail marketing, dimensional mail has become the unrivaled king.
A well strategized and executed dimensional mail campaign has the ability to yield consistently high ROI and for your money — figuratively and literally — there’s almost nothing better.
There’s one exception — dimensional mail including a promotional item.
Sure, including a promotional item in your next dimensional mail campaign will be an additional investment, but it’s an investment worthy of your careful consideration.
If you’re like many, you may be having trouble choosing the right promotional item for your next dimensional mail campaign.
Where plenty of marketing is purely data-driven, selecting a promotional item is as much an art as it is a science. The best promotional items not only demonstrate your thoughtfulness, but also showcase your ability to understand your recipients.
We’ve got you covered. Here are our four criteria for picking the perfect promotional Item.
1. Is it Useful?
Make sure your promotional item is genuinely useful.
You have an intimate knowledge of your audience, and when it comes to selecting a promotional item, that’s an invaluable asset. Use it to choose an item that won’t just become clutter.
Remember: A frequently used promotional item will make your business an equally frequent thought.
2. Is it Personal?
Many direct marketing efforts are based on a macro approach — cast a wide net and see what hits. Dimensional mail typically takes a micro approach to marketing, and its primary strength comes from intense personalization.
Skip the generic and use your market research. Don’t be afraid to go niche when choosing promotional items for a highly segmented audience.
3. Is it Shareable?
When people hear “sharable” we immediately jump to other words like “viral”, but in this case, we’re not talking about social media — we’re talking on a significantly smaller, but perhaps more meaningful scale.
A good promotional item may make its rounds within the office, as well as between friends and family. This not only gives you the chance to make an impression on your recipients, but their circles as well.
Given the types of people generally targeted in high-value dimensional mail campaigns — think B2B buyers and executive teams — this word of mouth marketing could manifest itself in surprisingly big ways.
4. Can it be Shipped Easily?
This is perhaps the most obvious point on our checklist, so we’ll spare you most of the details, just make sure whatever promotional item you choose is light, not oversized, and isn’t a perishable food item. That said, if you’re willing to invest in extra shipping costs, have at it.
The good news is this: Choosing the right promotional item isn’t that difficult. If you’ve made it this far into a dimensional mail campaign, chances are your audience is already highly segmented. Couple that with our four-point checklist and choosing the perfect promotional item couldn’t be easier.
Want to know more about dimensional mail campaigns and other direct mail best practices? Contact us to learn more.
From Long Sales Cycles to Fostering Loyalty, Dimensional Mail Often Works Best
There is a large number of incredible digital opportunities— automated emails, direct correspondence, pop-up ads, video ads. Yet, there’s a challenge in the overabundance of digital competition.
What do you do when the hottest marketing platform the world has ever known — the internet — presents such a substantial challenge?
A smart and savvy solution is to invest more heavily in physical direct marketing and pair it with your digital efforts. Despite the decades-long digital obsession of the marketing world, tactile and experience-rich direct marketing is continuing to succeed where its purely digital counterpart falters.
There’s a reason most industries — from global technology companies and Ivy League Universities to retail stores and your local pizza shop — run direct mail campaigns as crucial parts of their marketing initiatives.
Here are four reasons why:
Some people refer to it as e-fatigue. Some people have labeled it digital burnout.
While the Internet is an ultra-valuable asset to every flourishing business, it can also be a significant challenge, like when we see too many digital ads. This competition can tire us, resulting in us paying less attention.
In fact, a relatively well-known Microsoft study suggested that between the year 2000 and 2015, our attention span had dropped from 8 to 12 seconds on average.
The challenge with digital isn’t just digital; it’s digital distraction — there are simply too many options immediately available to your audience to compete with.
We can use the idea of a teacher and tutor as an analogy for digital vs physical marketing.
Mass-scale digital marketing is like a teacher trying to educate a large, loud, distracted classroom — he or she may get a few words to especially attentive ears, but most of the students are so distracted by their environment, they’ll likely walk away with nothing.
Physical direct marketing, on the other hand, is more like a tutor that comes to your home, spends one-on-one time with you in an environment with far fewer distractions, and gets you acquainted with the material on a deep and lasting level.
The analogy extends: you don’t only use a tutor, you use a tutor to supplement the teacher — use both digital and physical for best results.
Long Sales Cycles
A place where high-impact physical direct marketing thrives, particularly when digital marketing is used as supplementary technique, is within long sales cycles.
Where digital may be a great way to begin creating brand awareness and invaluable in the consumer learning experience, it can be difficult to close the deal via digital platforms alone.
There are a few contributing factors here. For one, even personalized digital campaigns can lack the personal touch required to build trust and consumer confidence. Rarely does digital alone suffice to propel your audience into the final stages of the sales cycle. Another shortcoming of a purely digital strategy lies in the aforementioned competition for attention online, particularly in the case of social media.
Powerful tactile experiences, especially those delivered in the form of high-value direct mail such as dimensional mailers, can get you over these hurdles by conveying personal interest in your audience. They also keep your product at the forefront of consumer consciousness by entering avenues that competing products may sometimes neglect, i.e. entering their physical realm via the mailbox.
In a long sales cycle, these traits specific to physical direct marketing are invaluable.
Brand loyalty is one of the most challenging aspects of modern-day business. With so much competition, it’s important not only to build a connection with your consumer, but to foster the development of that relationship in unique and thoughtful ways.
One of the best ways to build brand loyalty is through physical direct marketing efforts. This is particularly true when it comes to promotional items delivered via dimensional direct mail. We’ve touched on this before: a dimensional mailer consists of direct marketing materials that come in a box or another, 3-dimensional vehicle.
Not only do these tactile direct marketing experiences – through their dimensional presence – have the power to cut through the static, but they also have the ability to offer unique gifts or other promotional items. For instance, a “thank you” campaign sent out to valued customers can include everything from key chains and water bottles all the way to tablets and other high-end electronic accessories.
This kind of thoughtfulness and unique mailer does something that digital struggles to — it builds a real connection between brand and consumer. It speaks to a brand who truly values a customer and their business.
Influencing Silent Decision Makers
With virtually limitless information so readily available on the internet, more and more buyers have become silent decision makers. This means that most buyers aren’t reaching out to businesses to learn more about their products, instead relying on user reviews and independent research to form their opinions.
Physical direct marketing once again shines here, giving your brand the opportunity to stand apart and reach silent decision makers via a less competitive channel. If you can separate yourselves via physical direct marketing and convert that into an additional opportunity to make your case, you stand a good chance of making a lasting impression.
When it’s time for the silent buyer to pull the trigger, that impression you made with physical direct marketing may make all the difference.
An Invaluable Tool
With physical, experience-rich direct marketing’s ability to bypass digital channel overload, it’s no wonder why marketers consider it an invaluable tool. It possesses a unique ability to retain consumer focus through long sales cycles, building brand loyalty and influencing silent decision makers.
Are you working on a new product launch, looking to close a stalled deal, or simply want to strengthen existing customer relationships? Contact us to learn about our innovative approach to capturing mindshare, enhancing loyalty, and driving more high-qualified leads to the pipeline.
Helpful Tips to Generate Response from Your Next Postcard Mailer
An effectively designed, well-thought out direct mail postcard can net response beyond expectations. Create a postcard that’s going to stand out – rather than get tossed out – with these suggestions. (Note: incorporating some of these tips will depend on your goals and budget).
- Consider Going Big
There are a few reasons to consider an oversize postcard format:
- A larger size naturally attracts more attention.
- Oversize postcards have been shown to perform better in terms of response rate, according to recent Data & Marketing Association reports.
- They are less likely to get lost in the shuffle.
- Extra space means more room for impactful design and messaging.
However, you’ll want to consult USPS mailing guidelines for postcards. Postcards that exceed 4.25-inches by 6-inches in size are classified as a letter mailing, and will cost more to mail.
- Design to Draw the Eye
To have any chance of competing for attention in the mailbox, postcards need eye-catching design that also works to support a campaign’s messaging and goals.
- Avoid an overly busy design. Rather, design around a focal point using visual design hierarchy principles.
- If your postcard needs to feature several products (e.g., weekly sale items), use a grid layout to achieve an organized rather than chaotic appearance.
- Choose the Right Paper
Paper weight and texture can communicate volumes about the value of your mailing – something to think about investing a little extra in, depending on goals and audience:
- A thicker weight feels sturdier and more dependable and will stand up to the mailing process.
- A too-thin paper risks coming across as flimsy and getting damaged in the mailing process.
- Textured paper adds a tactile element, another way to draw attention.
(Again, USPS guidelines are a factor: a thickness greater than 0.016-inch will cost more to mail.)
- Try Unusual Formats and Print Techniques
As with paper choices, these attention-grabbing features can increase project costs, so ROI will come into play when making these decisions.
- Try a die-cut format for an unusual, eye-catching shape. Tie the shape into your company’s product or service offerings for added resonance.
- Perforated tear-off coupons can add sizzle to your offer.
- Including a simple giveaway (e.g., a magnet) will add noticeability and value.
- Printing techniques like foil-stamping and embossing can instantly draw the eye. They may be best used for higher-end mailings – think invitations to a new location’s open house, introducing a premium product or service, and other similar promotions.
- Make Copy Work Hard
The space constraints of a postcard mean you need to choose words wisely. Write to focus attention on the action message – what you want recipients to do.
- Craft an attention-commanding headline that builds curiosity.
- Include very minimal supporting information – just enough to tempt recipients to follow through on the call to action, or take advantage of your offer.
- Use copywriting “power words” – words that spark interest and action. Check out a list here.
- Be clear, don’t confuse your readers, and be action-oriented: Tell recipients how to take the next step.
- Make It Personal
Relevant mail is far more likely to be saved and acted on. With the depth and breadth of data available today, the sky’s the limit regarding personalization. Here are a few pointers:
- Personalize with an offer on products you know a recipient likes based on purchasing history, or include an image of a product recently viewed online.
- Include region-specific maps for your businesses closest retail location of office site.
- Use personal URLs (PURLs), a form of personalization that incorporates a prospect’s name into the landing page web address, to instantly capture attention.
Investing in marketing automation software greatly boosts efficiency and accuracy in executing a personalized campaign. Also, make sure to choose a printer with variable data print capabilities.
- Partner with a Direct Mail Expert That Can Tie It all Together.
Developing an effective direct mail postcard campaign becomes much simpler when you work with a vendor that provides professional design, printing and mailing services. With expert guidance on the creative points discussed above, plus someone else to handle the print and mailing details, you get more time to focus on big-picture goals and strategy.Plymouth Meeting, PA-based Strata Company specializes in data-driven direct marketing and technologies that help companies create more relevant, personalized marketing. A leader in direct mail marketing for nearly two decades, Strata has experience helping businesses create highly targeted multichannel marketing campaigns. Contact us to learn more.
Helpful Tips to Make Your Box Mailer Stand Out
Box mailers (also commonly referred to as box mailers or 3D mailers) can command high direct marketing response rates. With their bulk and size, they rise to the top of the mail pile.
Due to their nature, however, box mailers also come with a higher price tag. They’re typically used for efforts such as:
- Small mailings to targets with decision-making power
- Follow-up on “hot” leads and priority prospects
- Converting prospects where a notable return can be expected
When executed correctly, three-dimensional mailers can communicate that your company – like the mailer itself – stands out and offers real value.
- Be Savvy to Boost ROI
- Consider streamlining dimensions
- The larger the mailer, the more expensive it will be.
- Even a small bulky item will accomplish the mission of standing out, so going big might not up the impact enough to justify the extra cost.
- Select a vendor who can guide you on mailing options.
- Your print vendor should be able to advise you on batch size and package dimensions for optimal postal rates.
- Select your Premium Item Carefully
- Consider audience demographics, including age, gender, and industry. What’s something they’ll actually use?
- The item also should make sense within the context of the mailing, aligning with message, creative direction and end goals of your campaign.
- Brand the item with your company’s logo and website.
- Take it a step further and personalize it with the recipient’s name for extra staying power.
- Design and Message
- Plan ahead so that your copy and design will work cohesively on the multiple pieces of your mailer. A three-dimensional mailer will typically include:
- An outer box
- Inside packaging
- Any labels and/or outer sleeves used
- Area around the premium item
- Any inserts included, such as a postcard or business card
- Work closely with your printer to ensure you have the correct dimensions for design purposes.
- Go for minimal copy. Be personal – aim to tap into emotion, and connect with your targets.
- Include a strong CTA.
- Maybe it’s an offer you want them to take advantage of: a free consultation or trial. Or sign-up for an event or a mailing list.
- Drive leads to a landing page, where you can track response.
- Send recipients subsequent emails or direct mailings to follow up.
Plymouth Meeting, PA-based Strata Company specializes in helping companies create more relevant, personalized marketing. A leader in direct mail marketing for nearly two decades, Strata has experience helping businesses create highly targeted multichannel marketing campaigns. Contact us to learn more.