Laying Out the Pros and Cons
We know it can be a long process to research, find, and decide on a marketing solutions company that achieves your objectives. We also know that the full package – good data, quality design, excellent messaging, great customer service, mailing and fulfillment, and quantifiable results – is the goal, but not always the outcome. Since we get asked about it from time to time, in this blog, we’re going to cover why you may want to choose to work with a marketing company over a CRM services company who also happens to strategize and launch campaigns. Before you make your decision, give this a quick read.
Not Always the “Path of Least Resistance”
First and foremost, although it may appear “easier” to partner with a CRM service to launch your campaigns (because they have access to CRM) – they don’t always have immediate access to other capabilities. For example, they likely don’t have in-house creative design, printing, fulfillment, and mailing, and if they do have some of them – they likely don’t have all of them to execute a turnkey campaign. The main focus of a CRM company is usually just that – customer relationship management. Their key offering is their ability to compile and supply lists – which they may be excellent at doing, but what will they provide in terms of other areas of expertise?
Because of the outsourced services they use (such as those listed above), CRM companies can’t always make campaign changes on the fly. They’re usually unable to print on-demand, have their artist make quick modifications, make last-minute changes to the mailing process, or most importantly, optimize the campaign based on results, midstream.
The Marketing Differentiators
So, what’s the alternative? Partnering with a marketing solutions company that offers expertise in everything from implementation to optimization. Marketing companies are often also connected directly to the list compiler, and even more than that, they’re usually more closely if not directly connected to everything else you’ll need and use during the campaign production process – from strategy to printing. Since many if not all of their services are in-house (including design, print production, fulfillment, and mailing), you can always make changes and improvements mid-stream and at rapid speed. They can simply call on their marketing team of strategists, artists, print production associates, and others to change gears, swiftly improving the efficiency of the program while it’s in progress and effectively increasing campaign ROI.
Additionally, marketing companies focus solely on marketing strategy and production, and the more years of experience under their belts of doing so – the better. Marketing execution is not an add-on to marketing companies. It’s what they do, day in and day out. And the right marketing company will be able to simultaneously execute concurrent campaigns, whether single-touch or many, with corresponding digital to (targeted, specified) customers and prospects. If you’re lucky or do your research, you’ll find a marketing company that also incorporates backend fulfillment, seamless management, granular personalization, and attribution, and will be a team of dedicated experts, creators, innovators, and most importantly, marketers. You get the picture we’re painting. It’s important for a marketer or marketing team to also value and provide quality execution and customer care to every client, and ensure you have the reporting, understanding, and peace of mind you need, with 1:1 attribution, automated data exchange, and a detailed dashboard.
Next time you’re debating, think through this blog first. Do you just need a simple marketing campaign with CRM first, or do you need a multi-touch, well-focused marketing campaign with accurate, up-to-date lists and quality attribution?
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.
- 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
Sealing the Deal
More generally, we believe in direct mail because it’s:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
8 Simple Secrets to an Effective New Mover Marketing Campaign
Unpacking New Mover Marketing Opportunities
It’s no secret. New Movers provide Great Opportunities. One in five households in a given neighborhood are new residents. They’ve left the comfort and efficiency of their old routines and now are facing uncharted territory (literally). They have to establish new patterns, identify and test out new local services, and start building their new lives and network of resources. In this article we unpack 8 new mover marketing tactics that will help you capture their attention from day 1, and begin building brand loyalty that can last a lifetime.
Establish Your Brand as the Preferred Local Choice
It’s an exciting time. It’s all fresh and new. It’s an expensive time. New movers spend heavily as they set up their new homes. As a marketer, you are uniquely positioned to help make this process smoother for them, while also profitable for your business. In fact, some businesses craft promotions specifically geared toward new movers.
But it’s also a tentative time, in which they must find their new favorites – the new “reliables” they’ll turn to for the goods and services they need on a daily basis. They’re actively seeking stability; to establish the patterns and connections they lost by moving out of the routines they lived in their old neighborhoods. They have a lot of information to gather… but they’re open; they’re creating new shopping and buying habits and the time is ripe for your business to generate awareness, build your brand presence, and make a connection. Take for instance, Home Depot’s approach. They’ve developed a trove of information to help new movers settle in, establishing themselves as a go-to resource, so when those movers are buying gallons of paint and all of those new home essentials, they are more apt to consider Home Depot over a competitor who may not have developed a robust strategy that speaks directly to them.
So, what are other ways to market to new movers? Chances are, the decision to select the neighborhood they’ve chosen has to do with access to amenities they already have identified as important to them: schools, banks, supermarkets. Proximity plays a big role, so choose your demographic accordingly. But there’s much more to marketing to new residents than buying a list of zip codes and sending out a flier.
The Tried and True Channel That Moves Movers to Act
That’s not a dig on direct mail – on the contrary. Done correctly, direct mail is a powerful driver for everything from engagement to acquisition, and to this day it continues to produce strong results. And, if you’re tempted to bypass ‘snail mail’ for an all-digital campaign, keep in mind that according to statistics reported in Direct Mail News, average response rates for direct mail can be up to 40 times higher than email blasts. Which makes even more sense for new homeowners whose mailboxes are still relatively empty, so something eye-catching and valuable has the best chance to end up in their hands. Be first in their mailbox with a friendly “Welcome to the Neighborhood” greeting. By being there immediately, you stand out from the competition and help ensure Yelp is not their only resource.
8 Housewarming Tricks to New Mover Marketing
- Start At The Beginning
Identify clearly, or revisit and validate, your objectives and strategy. Refine your message as needed, and connect audience, message and components to your agenda.
- Target Your Target
Spend the time and money up front to identify the correct new movers for your service. For example, if you’re a hospital or health system marketer focused on connecting new patients with pediatricians in your network, families more so than single adults may be a more targeted approach to consider. The return on investment is worth the extra effort up front, to gain a potentially lifelong patient or customer.
- Target Your Data
It can be worth your while to partner with a direct marketing company who specializes in building the best new mover list for your target audience and strategy. It’s a quality vs. quantity approach; data-driven marketing can pay off exponentially, vs. “shots in the dark” across a less defined audience.
- Target Your Message
Take the time to carefully craft a campaign that will resonate with your audience. For example, a local restaurant could offer new movers a discount on a deal tailored to those who want a break from unpacking boxes. If you’re targeting a family, you could specifically reference kid-friendly menu options.
- Be Generous
New movers are spending heavily – statistics suggest anywhere from two to five times as much is spent by new movers in the first months of residency than established residents spend over the course of a year. Study results showed that 80% of new residents gratefully redeem gift certificates from local vendors. Offer $50 off free groceries, or 5% off of a medicine-cabinet or other home-stocking trip to your pharmacy.
- Establish Trust
New movers are changing everything. They have severed routines and relationships from a network they leaned on and trusted. Convey compassion and offer stability in an accessible and trustworthy way. For example, the local branch of a bank might talk about special savings and checking accounts with low introductory minimums or ATM fees; a pharmacy might focus on personal touches and connections with clients.
- Stay Top Of Mind
You won’t be the only business trying to entice them to make these kinds of connections. So reach out more than once. Response rates for single touch direct mail campaigns tend to yield an industry standard of 1-2% but we have found with a second, highly targeted touch – particularly for our healthcare new mover marketing campaigns – clients have enjoyed response rates up to 5-6%.
- Measure and Optimize
Use your data, not only to carefully select your target new mover audience, but to glean insights from your audiences’ responses to refine future campaigns. For example, if a particular demographic responds best to “Buy One, Get One” offers rather than “Percent Off,” you can utilize this to streamline efforts going forward and serve up exactly what they want.
If you’re looking for quick, effective ways to raise awareness and acquire new customers, a New Mover marketing campaign offers great opportunity. At Strata, we specialize in data-driven, ominchannel marketing campaigns that produce some of the highest response rates in the industry and deliver quick wins for leading marketers in healthcare, grocery, restaurants and similar industries with strong ties to their community.
Contact us to learn how our direct marketing team can help you generate new traffic, build long-term customer relationships and accelerate revenue.
Technology and Data-driven Strategies in Modern Direct Mail Campaigns
Applying modern principles and a multi-channel approach for direct mail that drives measurable bottom line benefits
In today’s rapidly changing, technology-dependent environment, successful direct mail campaigns have to go beyond traditional print mailers, email blasts and isolated ads. A truly informed approach builds upon traditional analog elements, implementing more advanced data driven techniques and incorporating digital components.
There are a variety of modern and creative ways you can enhance traditional direct mail with digital elements to better target and engage customers. Implementing such methods allows for deeper insights gained through response tracking, analysis and measurement, and enhances your lead scoring efforts.
Utilize the information you have on your consumers at every point along your campaign. Start with clean mailing lists, and personalize each element you send. Go beyond basic profile information and look at all the data to truly customize your approach. Analyze user behavior, product preferences, location and life stages to create a highly personalized and interactive campaign, and significantly improve your response rates. Implement plans and processes for the management and optimization of additional data you acquire as a result of multichannel, integrated campaigns.
- Modern Mailers:
Distinctive, highly personalized mail with customized offers and easy-to-use response mechanisms are still an effective way to connect with customers and prospects. But modern direct mail is not an isolated, print event. It’s a holistic, integrated communication strategy with multi-channel elements that take your target audience down a progressive path, engaging them further each step of the way. The fact is, direct mail remains competitive with digital methods, continuing to deliver 3.7% average response rates.
Email continues to be one of the most effective, and certainly cost-efficient, channels, but only if your message is relevant. Ensure your messaging is placed within the framework of a larger strategy and integrated with other campaign efforts. Enhance print pieces with corresponding emails that expand your message and continue to engage recipients. Linking direct mail to your marketing automation efforts is a value add tactic that can measurably improve response regardless of where the contact is in the buying process.
Incorporating digital elements like personalized landing pages not only increases the opportunity to inform consumers about your offering or products, it provides rich data you can use to further fine-tune your current and future campaigns. For new contacts, you’ll acquire data you may not have previously had. You can add these respondents to marketing workflows should they not have responded to other tactics, or where emails were not linked to landing pages or forms.
Consider adding mobile as an element in your direct mail campaign. Again, integration is the key: for example, combine direct mailers with personalized coupon offers and provide recipients with an easy way to redeem them via a mobile phone. Make it easy for them to request an additional 5% off, while also collecting their data without requiring too much information from them. Mobile can continue to be wrapped into the other channels used in the campaign; after completion of a landing page form, a next-step call to action and additional offer can prompt respondents to provide mobile information they may not have provided before.
- Marketing Resource Management (MRM):
With the advent and explosion of technology options, there are a myriad of applications to help you streamline and synchronize your direct marketing efforts. One in particular is Marketing Resource Management software. By centrally managing your direct mailers, email templates and ads, you get a holistic view of all of the elements that can be utilized in a campaign. With all of the assets centrally stored it makes it easier for those executing the campaigns to expedite the process. MRM’s inherent ability to drive consistency and coordination makes this more effective approach to direct marketing highly attainable and efficient.
Direct mail continues to be an evolving and effective tool for everything from acquisition and engagement to loyalty and retention. Figuring out how to best incorporate modern digital elements to enhance your efforts is now a non-negotiable, rather than a nice-to-have. But it has to be done in an informed, strategic way. Top Marketing Performers go beyond the trends and find ways to maximize their data, utilize personalization and leverage multiples channels, including the latest technologies. The result are powerful direct mail-driven marketing programs that drive measurable response and contribute directly to your bottom line.
Contact us to learn more.