12 Tips to Nail the Modern Direct Mailer

Drive Higher Response with the Right Mix of Creative, Data and Technology

Direct mail is just as relevant now as it was in the pre-digital era. Today’s most successful modern direct mailer goes beyond superior creative strategy and execution to get response. They succeed with sound data practices, efficient technology and a multi-channel strategy to maximize outreach and results.

Use these 12 tips, and banish the generic stand-alone mailer that gives recipients no reason to open or act.

Design and Copy: Creative Formats that Capture Attention

  1. Get Creative with Size, Shape, Color and Paper Selection
    Possibilities abound to help achieve strong visual presentation: textured paper, oversize mailers, bold colors, embossing, dye-cutting. The more the piece can pique curiosity, the more likely recipients are to open it. Formats such as the Iron Cross or a 3-dimensional “box” mailer are modern approaches that stand out. (Make sure your piece adheres to postal regulations, however.) While these elements might cost more up front, the investment often pays off in terms of a response.
  2. Include Elements that Add Perceived Value
    Give recipients something to keep – e.g., a magnet, sticker, wallet-size card – to keep your brand and URL within reach. And remember to tease the included item on the outer envelope.
  3. Create a Compelling Outer Envelope
    Make opening your mailer irresistible. Tease the offer, and also consider including copy that signals something of value is inside. For example, labeling a mailing as a “kit” or including a “Do not bend” line can result in higher open rates.
  4. Include a Strong Offer
    Promote an offer that entices recipients to connect with your brand. Maybe it’s the opportunity to obtain a free sample, discounted service or complimentary consultation, or an invitation to a private brand event. Remember, a direct mail piece alone may not be sufficient to sell your product or service … but if you can sell an offer, you’re a big step closer to winning a customer.

Data: Engage the Right Audience at the Right Time

  1. Segment and Target
    Analyze your data to identify niche segments among overarching demographics. For example, perhaps you’ve broken out a list by household income. Segment that audience into subsets based on life stage – e.g., single, household with young children, approaching retirement age – and hone your message and imagery accordingly to drive relevance.
  2. Personalize
    Create a more authentic connection with individual recipients. Tailor offers and coupons according to previous purchases, shopping habits (e.g., in store or online?), and anything else useful you can glean from your data. Personalization matters, and it works.
  3. Use Software for Purchasing Data and Managing Direct Mail Lists
    The degree of success among purchased lists varies widely. Software is out there that can help you make the best decision regarding the lists you purchase, and also to help you maintain clean lists – essential to direct mail success.

Technology and Digital: Streamline and Track Efforts

  1. Use Variable Data Printing (VDP) to Produce Highly Personalized Pieces
    If you’re going to create data-driven, personalized pieces, you’ll need a printer with VDP capabilities. With VDP, artwork and text can link to predetermined data points so you can tailor the printed piece to an individual recipient.
  2. Incorporate Landing Pages and PURLs
    Landing pages are a great tool to drive lead generation, and they also provide a way to track response. Personal URLs (PURLs) – personalizing the landing page address with the recipient’s name – can dramatically increase response rates.
  3. Achieve a Sleek-running Campaign with Marketing Resource Management (MRM) Software
    MRM provides a more streamlined way to create and distribute direct mail. With centralized storage of assets and automated workflow management, MRM increases consistency and efficiency. MRM helps speed time to market, standardizing campaigns and reducing costs.

Go Multichannel: Amplify Reach and Impact

  1. Carefully Select Additional Channels
    Direct mail should not be an isolated effort. Determine the channels that will be most effective for the campaign goals and your audience, and use them to complement your direct mail campaign.
  2. Incorporate Several Touch Points
    Remember that it can take more than 10 touches for your message to break through and inspire action and brand engagement. Use your direct mailer to encourage social media interaction, or to drive recipients online to learn more. Supplement with a series of email touches. Consider wrapping digital advertising into the media mix.

Need Help with Your Next Direct Mailer?

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.

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