Direct Mail

All Your Questions Answered

There’s a lot of buzz around new mover marketing and the best ways to target potential new customers. And with all the attention and noise around it, the topic can get confusing and leave a lot of essential questions unanswered. Today, we’re going to answer all your questions about new mover marketing – and give you some insight into how to start a successful and smart new mover campaign.

Why should I target new movers in the first place?

Easy answer. With over 13% of Americans moving ever year, a ton of new movers are not only new to your area, but are looking for your business. They’re in a stage where they’re starting to develop what will become habitual shopping/buying habits and not looking for a reason to spend, but where to spend. Recent surveys show that 80% of new movers are willing to try new products since they’re in a new market and searching for new businesses and services. Also, how else are you going to replace those long-term, current clients that are moving out of your market area?

In what industries is new mover marketing effective?

Movers moving into a new house spend on average, $9,400 post-move, and that’s split into several different industries depending on the individual. When people move to new areas, they have several new (and already existing) needs that can only be met by several different industries. This means a new grocer, new healthcare provider, new dentist, new restaurants, a new gym… list goes on and on (and on).

Is it possible to segment who I target?

Yes, you can segment who you’re targeting based off age, demographic, and even by household income, to identify your ideal customer profile. The level of available segmentation depends on your new mover marketing partner and the technology that’s provided, but it can (and has been) done.

Can I have more than one touch point across several channels?

Absolutely! We recommend implementing multiple touch points that come from different angles. This means reaching your customers through several different channels, such as digital, direct mail, and email. All of these channels of communication, used together and correctly, are proven to show effective ROI. 

How can I grow my new mover market through direct mail?

With around 61% of customers finding direct mail influential in making purchasing decisions, it’s important to make it one of the cornerstones of your new mover marketing campaigns. Direct mail can be personalized for the consumer, be authentic to your brand, and provides opportunity to be creative with how you market products and services to your consumers. Mailers that typically work best for new movers are dimensional mail, postcards, and bi-folds with incentive items.

How can I grow my new mover customer base with digital ads?

Hand in hand with direct mail, digital ads are excellent in getting your company’s name across your potential customer’s device. Creating display and banner advertisements is an effective way to send customers to your website or to a specific landing page. The power of digital marketing often speaks for itself, so it’s important to have elements of it involved in your new mover marketing campaign to reach all potential customers – not just some.

What kinds of responses should I expect throughout my campaign?

This all depends on the structure of your campaign and what kind of responses you’re aiming for. For instance, if you include a business reply card (BRC) within your direct mailer, your response rate will be based off how many potential customers fill them out and return them. Furthermore, the more aggressive your offer is for a direct response, the greater the response will be. Responses typically vary between industry and how many different touch points are built into your campaign. Response rates can also be determined by digital ads based off the number of consumers that interact with your landing page by clicks or submitted forms.

What’s the best way to track responses from my campaign?

When executing a new mover marketing campaign, make sure the program you’re using can easily track all progress, responses, and data that comes with the campaign. Find a partner with access to technology that allows you to see real time responses for your campaign and gain intelligence from those responses to make adjustments as it’s executed.

How do I effectively set up a new mover marketing campaign?

Picking the right partner is everything when it comes to successfully setting up a new mover marketing campaign. The right partner will provide the right data, the right technology, and a partnership with strong content creators who will represent your brand correctly. Work with a company that understands your markets and has several years of experience.

Looking for ways to incorporate a new mover marketing strategy into your next campaign? Here at Strata, we have years and years (and years) of experience under our belts. We’re here to assist you with all your new mover marketing questions and needs. Contact us today.

Bring Your Campaign to the Next Level

With over 40 million people moving every year, there’s a huge market for new customers moving into your target area. That said, many businesses have no idea where to start when it comes to targeting and reaching these new movers. Today, we’ll give you an overview of what new mover marketing is, the customer journey that a new mover takes, and the best channels and campaigns to reach them. Let’s dive in!

From Movers to Buyers

One of the most important things to realize about new movers is that they’re currently nobody’s loyal customer (yet). They’re a key group to target because they’re open to new businesses and products, and on average, develop 72 or more new business relationships within one year of moving. They’re also 5 times more loyal than your regular customer due to being new to the area. Once they find something they like, they’re willing to frequently buy it with ease. Making up 17% of the U.S. population, you can’t afford to miss these walking (and unpacking) opportunities. So, how are their (frequently loyal) buying habits formed? New movers are heavily influenced by timing. Whether you contact them before or after their move decides how they feel about your communication, and what they’ll do about it…

Pre-Move Buying Habits

Data shows that movers begin to stock up on home items right before they move. Products such as kitchen utensils, light fixtures, and everyday household tools are high on their list during this pre-move time.

Post-Move Buying Habits

After their move, new home buyers are likely to spend an average of $9,400, while renters spend around $4,700. Still, this number varies with age, area and demographic. Most of these buying decisions are made within the first few months of moving, which makes it the best time for your company to make contact, introduce yourself, and showcase your product.

A new mover’s first purchases will depend on their personal needs and priorities. For instance, a mover with medical needs may find a doctor immediately, while a mover with a large family may first find a new grocery store. Either way, they’ll have to find both eventually – and it’s likely they will within the first few months. Thankfully, new movers don’t need to be convinced to buy (they’re already more than ready), you’ll just need to convince them to make the right buy (from your company).

Staying in Touch

It’s not only important to get in touch with these potential loyal customers, but to stay in touch. After making a strong first impression, you’ll want to make more points of contact to ensure your company stays top of mind. It’s essential you have a good combination of marketing across several channels that are strategically picked and placed.

New Mover Marketing Tactics

There are several ways to reach these new movers, first, but since we’re experts – we’ll tell you the best ones. First is direct mail. Direct mail ideally arrives at the same time or a few days after new movers enter your neighborhood. Delivering direct mail that welcomes and attracts the new mover while introducing your business is a great way to begin an ongoing relationship. And the stats back this up – as 40% of consumers try new businesses after receiving direct mail. Direct mail is perfect as a first touch to new movers, as it’s personalized, meets them in their new home, and catches them at the right time.

A great way to ensure this direct mail delivers ROI is through BRCs (business reply cards) or eBRCs with incentives. A BRC is a vehicle that allows a prospective customer to provide information to send back to your business, and if incentivized, can return high response rates and bring you valuable customer data.

What’s the next best channel for reaching new movers? Digital advertising. Hand in hand with direct mail, digital ads can create brand awareness, link to your chosen landing page, and target specific online audiences. Digital advertisement placement and audience targeting are the top optimization tactics used by advertisers today.

Email is next – and combined with both direct mail and digital ads, email can be that final touch that brings your company new customers. Using either the BRC information or engagement with digital ads, emails are easy to obtain, making it almost effortless to add new customers to your automated or personalized promotional email campaigns.

The Visible Influence

New mover marketing allows marketers to influence movers’ buying decisions from the beginning of their move all the way until they walk into your doors. It’s about building immediate and vital relationships – because once a new mover buys from you and your shop, they’re 90% more likely to become a repeat customer.

If you want to dig even deeper, it’s smart to use a program that gives your business insight into your customers – such as live statistics and touchpoint behaviors. These meaningful insights will allow your shop to make enhancements on the fly and improve your campaigns, ultimately increasing ROI.

If you successfully target new movers, create convenient touchpoints that meet their needs, and maintain conversation as they have questions and reach out, the new mover will not only finish their journey as a customer, but as a loyal, repeat one. Looking for ways to incorporate a new mover marketing strategy into your next campaign? With years and years (and years) of experience under our belts, we’re new mover marketing experts. Contact us today.

A Strata YouTube Channel Original

Throughout your workday, you might hear the term “Multichannel Marketing” being thrown around casually, and not have the slightest clue of what it’s referring to. That’s okay! We understand that it can sound like an intimidating subject. While up to 95% of marketers say they understand the importance of multichannel marketing for targeting, only 73% say they hjave a multichannel strategy set in place. At its core, Multichannel Marketing is a simple concept that can help your company’s overall marketing campaigns and execution excel. Read along as we walk you through this falsely intimidating marketing concept.

What is Multichannel Marketing?

In a nutshell, multichannel marketing is a strategy that uses a combination of indirect and direct communication channels. With these channels, you’re able to reach all of your clients, prospects, and customers with a multifaceted campaign that can do wonders for your company. Multichannel campaigns are all about distributing the right content to the right people at the right time. Whether it’s by direct mail, digital ads, social, websites, or brick and mortar stores, multichannel marketing can be anywhere and everywhere so that your customers can take action and respond to the channel of their choice. You basically open a window of endless communication possibilities, and let your customers respond on their own terms. There’s no forced communication, because the advertising experience is controlled by the pace of the customer.

98% of Americans switch between multiple devices in one day. If that statistic isn’t enough to make you believe in multichannel marketing’s power, then we don’t know what is. Traditional marketing tactics work, but multichannel marketing is unique because it meets customers where they are along their journey instead of at one single spot. For this reason, multichannel marketing is never a “one size fits all” approach. It requires marketing readiness on multiple channels, especially since 86% of shoppers regularly channel-hop across a minimum of two mediums.

Ready to Learn More?

If we’ve piqued your interest and you’re ready to enhance your multichannel marketing knowledge, check out our YouTube channel or click the video below. Our Marketing Manager, Caitlin, will give you a quick three-minute explanation on this ever-popular topic, or if you’d like to discuss this concept with one of our multichannel experts, contact us today to get your next (or maybe your first) multichannel campaign started.

“Say it with Print”

In the digital age we now live in, the mindset that digital platforms will drive out traditional marketing can’t be any further from the truth. Today, we’re talking the power of print – and what it can do for your business that digital marketing alone, simply can’t.

Print Resonates

Print Resonates

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it’s no secret that these days, from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed, we’re almost constantly confronted with marketing. Whether that’s in music, television, signage, emails, phone calls – it’s everywhere. 69% of recent study participants said that this tremendous amount of information overwhelms them. These days, creativity’s not only a good thing to have, but a necessary skill as a business producing marketing materials. If you’re going to reach your audience, your message (and the mediums you use) must be unique, eye catching, and stand out among and above the rest. Using print materials may not be your first thought, but these days print’s grabbing the attention of potential customers much more than other channels. Materials like brochures, signage, business cards, flyers, and postcards produce a bit of nostalgia, and break away from the digital noise we’re constantly bombarded by.

All forms of marketing still work in their own ways – and we of course think that every audience has a preference, and every message has its best way of travel. But what sets print apart, are the emotions it can produce. Print engages our senses. We can physically feel the quality and craftsmanship that went into that piece of paper or box, and get a sense of the thought behind it. What paper was used? What colors are on the print? What creative choices were made? Okay, maybe not everyone is thinking these exact thoughts, but our subconscious has a sense of these elements, giving us a new view of a company, or establishing additional trust and loyalty. We know this because 76% of people in the US say the quality and graphics of a print marketing material are what captures their attention. This is especially a belief among younger generations, as Millennials and Gen Z audiences tend to be more driven by experience and personalization.

Why not use this to your advantage? Try incorporating quality images and messaging, striking colors, and appealing visuals into your marketing materials – especially if you’re targeting a younger audience – and don’t forget about what it’s printed on. Sometimes a textured paper or an irregular, surprising shape can make all the difference.

A recent San Jose State University study found that “people reading on screens take a lot of shortcuts – they spend more time browsing, scanning and hunting for keywords compared with people reading on paper.” When you have something important to say, “say it with print.”

Print is Personalized

Print is Personalized

These days, services like print marketing lead the way in personalization. In a recent survey, 30% of Americans polled found personalization to be one of the most important features of print marketing – turning it into messaging that really stands out. Not only can you send print marketing directly to your customers in the mail, you can add their name, favorite products, incorporate their pain points, and offer a specific solution to their needs – all possible with the right data. Making your audience feel special with a physical piece of mail, postcard, flyer, or delivery, can really reinforce that they’re important to your brand and company.

Print Inspires Creativity

Print Inspires Creativity

There’s definitely something to be said about physical rather than digital when it comes to creativity. 76% of respondents from Canon’s Print for Action survey said they feel more creative when print is near. And Flora Kessler, strategy partner at Carat UK said: “There’s an element of creativity in print that you don’t always see in digital. So much budget devoted to digital…can soak up the creativity along the way.”

Print is Authentic

Print is Authentic

When companies use print media to display their message, there’s always an underlying message. That message? Stability – of imagery and wording that reflects trust and solidarity. Print can be pinned to a cork board, stuck on your refrigerator, tucked away in your pocket, and taken with you. Most importantly, it doesn’t change without your action. In this way, print is trustworthy, and therefore, much more authentic than digital alone. Print’s physical makeup also provides context. It’s tactile, and provides a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Digital media has no boundaries, and no known ownership. You can’t really be a title-holder, so to speak, of digital work, yet with print, once you pick up a piece, it’s yours to keep. Plus, print has no delete button – so it’s taken much more seriously. A digital work may be read over once or twice, but print work is read, reread, edited, edited again, and then probably goes through several other “final read throughs” and “double-checks” to follow. A printed piece is nostalgic, familiar, and comforting to most. It’s patient and kind, and does not ask you to ever “log in” to access materials.

As time goes on and marketing material options expand, the power and trust of print only grows. We’d suggest that you continue to use it, and intertwine it with digital whenever possible to get the most from your marketing and reach your audience(s) in more ways than one.

Looking for ways to incorporate the power of print into your marketing efforts? With years and years (and years) of experience under our belts, we’re print experts. Contact us today to start brainstorming your next print marketing campaign.

The Proof is in the Numbers

At Strata, it’s pretty obvious that we love (and believe in) direct mail and its marketing power, and think it’s an important touchpoint in any multichannel campaign. We could go on and on about why we think it’s great, but we understand that sometimes it takes some hard facts and solid numbers to seal the deal and make you believe in direct marketing, too. You’ll see – the numbers simply speak for themselves.

The Stats

  • For every 36 emails you receive (on average), you get 1 piece of mail in your mailbox.
  • The average lifespan of an email is 17 seconds, compared to direct mail’s average lifespan of 17 days.
  • 59% of US respondents say they enjoy getting mail from brands about new products.
  • Up to 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to only 20-30% of emails.
  • Per USPS, 98% of people check their mail daily and Americans spend upwards of 30 minutes with their mail on a single occasion.

Source for stats above: Compu-mail

  • 73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read or review the information at their leisure.
  • 41% of Americans of all ages look forward to checking their mail each day.
  • 60% of catalog recipients visit the website of the company that mailed them that catalog.

Source for stats above: Bolger

Direct Mail Stats Infographic

Sealing the Deal

More generally, we believe in direct mail because it’s:

Tangible

Everyone opens mail. Even if you don’t have access to television, internet, or a cell phone, as long as you have an address, you’re reachable through mail. Opening mail is a part of the daily routine for many, and neglected by very few. Direct mail seamlessly integrates into our lives and rituals, so we see it as welcomed rather than intrusive.

Targetable

With direct mail, you can target by geographic location and send your piece to all residences within your selected zip code(s). You have the ability to organize your mailing list by demographics, such as age group, income level, parenthood, pet ownership and more.

Customizable

There are never-ending possibilities when it comes to organizing and developing your content in an effort to present your message to your target audience and lead them to take action. You can use your pieces to inspire immediate purchases by including limited-time offers and copy that conveys a sense of urgency.

Measurable

Incorporating a special offer, online promotional code, or even a website questionnaire into your campaign can make it easy to track responses and measure success. After all, direct mail is proven to be one of the most quantifiable advertising platforms.

The Bottom Line

Direct mail is effective because of its seamless integration into our lives, yet strong presence on our counters. It catches our attention while giving us control as to what we’ll do next as a current or potential customer. That’s why we think, well…we know it’s one of the most effective marketing tactics for reaching large groups of consumers.

Ready to get the most out of your direct mail? Contact us to create a highly successful marketing campaign that incorporates the latest direct mail tricks and trends.

Make Your Direct Mail Thrive with Tracking, Enhancing, and Attributing Results

We’ve said it time and again – direct mail really works. In fact, direct mail open rates can reach up to 42%, which is a lot higher than most e-mail open rates. Recipients of direct mail also “purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more money than people who don’t get that same piece of direct mail.” While these are excellent stats, we know it’s not always that easy to track and measure ROI from physical mail in the same way you track ROI from your digital strategies. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you out. We believe in not only the importance of direct mail, but in its results – with the right tools and resources.

Be Consistent

First and foremost, consistency is key when it comes to direct mail ROI. To get the most out of your direct mail, make sure it isn’t just direct mail. What do we mean? Weave digital touches into your direct mail – like your social media, digital ads, and website – and make sure everything is connected. With the right direct mail partner or resource, you can take mailing addresses and match them with social accounts, IP addresses, and more to really understand who your audience is and what actions they’re taking. Weaving in digital information can help you share your message before, during, and after your direct mail is sent out – making the chosen brand message consistent and more impactful to your audience.

Not convinced this is all necessary? We are, because combining offline and online tactics is proven to really work. In a recent study, a whapping 68% of marketing respondents saw that combining digital and direct mail increased visits to their websites. Considering the multichannel experience and the customer journey while creating your direct mail will not just increase website visits, but many areas of ROI.

Track

When it comes to getting the most from your direct mail, it’s important to ABT – Always Be Tracking. Not only tracking information and results from your direct mail campaign like you would your digital ones, but tracking the delivery of your mailers – just like you would a package. This will help you know when to prepare the recipient with other messaging before delivery, and when to follow up with them to make the greatest impact. Take it a step further by working with your direct mail partner or resource to send the recipient an “informed delivery” message by USPS to make them aware of their mailer’s arrival, and send them direct links to ROI-rich landing pages. If you haven’t noticed already, every step we’re highlighting truly combines the traditional and digital worlds of marketing.

Attribute Results

If you’re still with us, you’ll see that we’ve created an experience for the recipient along many steps of their customer journey, tracked their direct mail’s physical journey, and have notified them that there’s a special something waiting in their mailbox. So, what’s next? Reporting, recording, and attributing. Without these, you won’t know how to improve upon your direct mail and increase your ROI for next time. Your recipients may respond or perform an action by phone, BRC, personalized landing page (PURL), or in another way, so it’s important that the information is correctly recorded in real-time. The best way to record and store this information is on a platform’s dashboard specifically made for tracking. There are many out there – so find whatever works for you and make sure you use it to your advantage. The chosen platform can help you store names, addresses, ages, and other helpful demographics to assist you in understanding and targeting your true target audience.

You may have some recipients who will visit your website but will not directly respond to your mail. That’s why it’s important to use identifiable URLs that you can easily track, like UTMs, PURLS, or specified QR codes. If these recipients aren’t quite ready to reach back out to you or make a move, you’ll still have a gauge on their interest, and will be able to send them digital ads or e-mails reminding them of your product or service until their ready to take the next step.

Stop Wondering

Instead of continuing to throw mail like paper planes to your audience, track and know if your mailers make an impact. Make sure you’re always examining your data and attributing it. You’ll quickly realize it’s easier than you expected to see what’s working, what’s not, and where you can improve on your direct mail campaigns.

As one of our specialties at Strata, we know that direct mail can be uber effective when using the right processes and tools. The key is always combining traditional and digital to catch your audience’s attention before, during, and after direct mail is in their hands. And, like we said before, never stop tracking and modifying.

To learn more about how to create successful direct mail, check out our direct-mail-focused blogs, “Dimensional Mail: Four Criteria for the Perfect Promotional Item” and “7 Ways to Make Your Postcard Stand Out”, or simply contact Strata. We’ve been doing this for years and would be happy to help you get an ROI rich direct mail campaign started.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Direct Mail

Are you a kindle girl, or a paperback jack and hardcover lover? It may be nice to “always have your books with you” with a digital user interface, but you really can’t beat the touch (and even the smell) of a real book. Ain’t nothing like the real thing. Who knows the journey it’s been on – whose hands it’s been held by? It’s exciting, authentic and holds a story, literally and figuratively. These, among many reasons, are why people ultimately prefer physical books. “67 percent of Americans have read a paperback in the past year, and 39 percent of people only opt for print. Contrastingly, 29 percent of readers use both formats, and only 7 percent exclusively consume books digitally,” (Oprah Magazine).

Does this idea transfer over to the physicality of direct mail? You bet. Unless we’re somehow completely avoiding technology (which these days is impossible), we’re constantly bombarded with digital ads and emails. To be specific, Americans receive an average of 605 emails a week, compared to only 16.8 pieces of mail. Basically, for every 36 emails coming in, only 1 piece of physical mail is received. Physical postcards, packages, pamphlets, or whatever else people can get their hands on all work to cut through the digital noise.

Pages…Chapters…No, Books of Stats

Not only does direct mail stand out among digital mail and ads, but its’ impact lasts much longer. “The average lifespan of an email is 17 seconds, compared to direct mail’s average lifespan of 17 days,” (Compu-Mail). What’s more? Direct mail has some serious ROI…

Direct Mail for Dummies

Here are some best practices if you’re new to direct mail or looking to improve:

Economize Words

As humans, we don’t like to read more than is absolutely necessary (unless we’re looking to get lost in a good book). The best direct mail uses clear and concise points. And, when in doubt, ask one simple question: Is this sentence absolutely crucial to the point/pitch? If it’s not, cut it. The best mailers are short and sweet.

Prioritize Graphics

The best parts of your favorite childhood book were the enjoyable illustrations and unique pictures. The same goes for eye-catching direct mail. Clean, attractive graphics can convey complex information while cutting down on copy. And, don’t forget to keep your brand standards in mind when picking graphics. It will help to remove the guesswork for your recipients.

Consider the End Product

While you’ll want to focus heavily on images and copy, remember to carefully consider format, envelope, finish, feel, etc. – and don’t be afraid to think outside the box (or in this case, the envelope). Remember, humans are tactile beings, and first impressions are lasting ones. Give them that nostalgic feeling they have when physically turning the page, or opening up an envelope or package.

Recommendations & Specifications

Trying to economize mail expenditures and use the most cost-effective option? If so, it’s best to follow the Post Office’s guidelines for postcard mailers:

Must be…

  • Rectangular
  • At least 3.5” high x 5” long x 0.007” thick
  • No more than 4.25” high x 6” long x 0.016” thick

Want to stand out and attract attention?

Consider opting for:

  • Larger postcards (6’’ x 9” or 6” x 11”)
  • Bi-folds, Tri-folds, Iron-cross formats, or Extra-large (9’’ x 12”) mailers
  • Dimensional mail that use boxes or bubble envelopes

Final Edits

A lot of writing, editing, rewriting, and finalizing goes into a good book. The same goes for direct mail. It’s only as good as the considerations you make before sending it. Here are some questions and considerations to keep in mind when creating your next piece of direct mail.

Questions

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What would resonate most personally with my audience?
  • What could I do with direct mail that hasn’t been done already?
  • Am I taking full advantage of personalization?
  • Can I convey my message faster/more clearly?
  • What tangible offering would best capture the attention of my audience?
  • How will they respond or access more information?
  • What response mechanisms will best serve my organization?

Considerations

  • Creativity counts – think about what will stand out in a crowded mailbox.
  • You’re only as good as your data – reliable list compilers make a difference.
  • Response is a direct reflection of the offer – make sure it’s enticing and engaging.
  • Provide as many options for response as possible – PURLs, QR Codes and BRCs are all great options.
  • Tie in a corresponding digital ad component when possible – multiple connections maximize results.

The Paperback & The Kindle

Remember when we mentioned that people saw some serious ROI from combining digital and direct mail? That’s because it’s the best of both worlds – the old nostalgic world, and the new fast-paced world – combined. Marketers have noticed some remarkable returns from the combo, like 40% conversion rates, 68% increased website visits, 63% increased response rates, 60% increased ROI, and more.

So, are you ready to get the most ROI out of your direct mail and cut through the digital noise? Contact us to start brainstorming your next campaign today.

Say Goodbye to Duplicates and Hello to Increased Campaign Success

As marketers, we do everything we can to streamline our campaigns to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. In the never-ending quest for peak performance, one of the most consistent frustrations we deal with is data quality.

We all know bad data is frustrating to deal with, but beyond that, the reality is that bad data represents wasted effort, and wasted effort represents a loss of money.

We have access to a ridiculous amount of data, and in many ways, that’s a good thing — more data translates to more targets, a better understanding of those targets, and more avenues by which we can interact with them.

The problem is that all data is not created equal. In addition to generally corrupt data, duplicate data is prevalent, including name and address, household, and family (if multiple families live at the same address). 

So, how do we ensure that in a world of abundance, we’re separating the wheat from the chaff?

Step 1: Educate Yourself with Regulative Processes

It’s worth doing some exploring and familiarizing yourself with postal address regulations and how they affect your deliverability rates. Luckily there are numerous services and mail management software that can help you through this.

For example, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) is a USPS developed software that ensures mailing addresses are complete and accurate. In other words, it determines if an address actually exists. CASS also standardizes an address into a format the USPS prefers, which is an invaluable tool for creating easily comparable data points when checking for duplicates.

Another great resource is the National Change of Address (NCOA) registry. The NCOA is a dataset of permanent address changes filed by individuals, families and businesses, and can be important for weeding out which address to keep — and which to toss — in your datasets containing multiple addresses for the same customer.

Step 2: Double Check Mail List Data for Common Errors — By Hand

While it’s easy to be lulled into the convenient trap of relying too heavily on software solutions, it’s important to comb through your data — yes, manually — for common errors. Even the most advanced mail management software still requires human interaction and understanding for optimal outcomes.

How? It’s not uncommon for things like commas, missing spaces, or data simply entered in the wrong field to throw CASS off. Simple mistakes can cost you big when it comes to getting rid of duplicate data sets.

Once you’ve used software to get your data into a great starting point, it’s important to remember that that’s all it is — a great starting point. It’s up to you to do the manual work and ensure the data is uncorrupted beyond that.

Step 3: Remove Excess Info from Your Files

Since we’re solely talking about mailing, it’s important to remove as many variables as you can from your mailing lists, and that means dumping the excess information.

This excess information includes things like email addresses, phone numbers, revenue, years in business, etc., all of which aren’t pertinent to your direct mail vendor.

In short, avoid the clutter and dump the details for your mailings. Keep it simple and save that info for later.

Step 4: Choose Your Direct Mail Vendor Carefully

Much like data sets, not all vendors are created equal, and some will prove to be nightmares to work with. This speaks for itself. You want to consider attributes like experience, referrals, and knowledge of the postal regulations.

A good tip? Make sure you’re working with a vendor who proactively takes initiative when it comes to cleaning lists.

Step 5: Enjoy A Job Well Done

Cleaning and getting rid of the duplicates in your mailing list can be a process, but one that is well worth the effort. When it comes to direct mail campaigns, remember: the better the data you put in, the better the data you get out.

Need a hand with your direct mail marketing? We have the knowledge and experience to help you every step of the way. Contact us to see how we can help you design and execute and effective direct mail program.

What’s Working, What’s Not, and How to Adapt

COVID-19 has been impacting us all, and it’s true what they say — we’re all in this together.

To put it positively, it’s been “interesting” to see the impacts this has had on business and marketing.

COVID-19’s General Impact

First and foremost, COVID-19 has impacted the ways consumers purchase — for the time being, they’ve shifted to a recession mentality. On a macro level, this means consumers are temporarily passing on the premium brands in favor of brands offering greater value.

That’s not to say premium brands are doomed in a COVID-19 world.

Premium brands will get through this by aggressively defining their audience and adjusting the ways they engage that audience. As the average customer’s channel mix shifts, brands need to reach the “at home” individual — for the next few months, ditch your OOH efforts and focus on getting to the consumer at home.

Focus on direct mail, email and addressable geofenced digital ads as the primary players in your channel mix.

Making Direct Mail Work for You

There’s a reason direct mail is a marketing standby — it’s effective. It’s also what many brands will lean on in the months ahead. Let’s look at two scenarios in which COVID-19 impacts this high-value channel — B2C and B2B campaigns

In a B2C campaign, COVID-19’s impact on direct mail is actually a boost in visibility. With limited distractions and an audience spending more time at home than ever, direct mail is front and center.

In a B2B campaign, the way COVID-19 impacts direct mail is a bit more complicated — with no one at the office, a standard B2B campaign can fail. Fortunately, with a little extra data prep, they don’t have to. You can contact decision makers directly at home by working with a data source to match your business dataset against a consumer database and send business communications to personal addresses.

And if you’re worried about reaching people at home, don’t be. People want business to continue — in fact, in a recent survey that we conducted, 90% of consumers said that they’d be comfortable receiving B2B solicitations at home.

Finally, a parting thought on direct mail: use it as an anchor in line with other cost-effective strategies, like digital and email marketing. While effective as a standalone, the performance of direct mail is exponentially increased by including it in your omnichannel strategy.

Utilizing Digital Ads and Email Marketing

Speaking of omnichannel strategy, another place where advertising is thriving is within the digital realm. Things like ad space on social media, commercial spots with streaming services, etc. continue to burn hot. The reason for this is pretty obvious — more people are relying exclusively on screens for news and entertainment.

Digital advertisers are also looking at this crisis as an opportunity to assess effectiveness, clean house and reflect on their digital brands. In short, metrics are talking, underperforming strategies are going out the window, and most of the content smart businesses are putting out is routed in engagement and messaging, not new acquisition.

Email marketing, particularly in retail, is still a go despite COVID-19. In fact, some research points to negatives like unsubscribe rates going down while positives like click rates are going up or at least roughly maintaining pre-COVID levels. With that in mind, now is an excellent time to develop and execute your email marketing campaigns either in house of with a trusted vendor.

Tailoring Your Messaging

In the early days of the outbreak and subsequent lockdown, it seemed utterly bizarre to see the marketing world carrying on as usual, running commercials featuring large groups of friends out in public places, while viewers cringed at home, counting the times the actors touched their faces.

Then, almost all at once, there was a major shift.

Marketers began taking on tones similar to PSA’s, reminding people to wash their hands and stay at home while focusing on aspects of their products that aligned with sentiments like “togetherness” or “looking towards the future.” Messaging also began to focus on the ways that purchases helped support the economy and maintain jobs during a time of economic hardship.

At the end of the day, it’s important to recognize that people are bored, anxious and looking for comfort and your messaging, engagement and branding should align with that.

Let’s Face it, COVID-19 is Weird

A grocery store full of face masks is weird. Cleaning products being hoarded is weird. COVID-19 as a whole is weird.

It’s tough to navigate such a strange new landscape, particularly in the business world. Of course, we’ll make it through this — we always do — but it’s going to require adaptivity, confidence and reflection.

At Strata, we’re here to help you with that. If you’re looking for ways to put your brand’s best foot forward, whether that be with direct mail, digital outreach or anything in between, contact us to see what our solutions can do for you.