This article was originally published by Mailing Systems Technology.
In our article in the March/April issue, we provided an overview of the tools to a successful direct mail campaign in 2021. It starts with your own data. Demographics help you understand who your customer/donor is in order to find those best “look-alikes.” Make a compelling offer, be creative, and use advanced matchback techniques to measure your success.
Marketers can, and now need to, integrate and serve messages in email, landing pages, and online display ads to extend the effectiveness of their direct mail. It doubles your marketing power as you improve the customer experience while gaining much more relevant data to inform you of your buyer behavior while adding insight into your customer journeys.
Omnichannel marketing presents marketing teams with new challenges. Now marketers must coordinate multiple touchpoints across multiple channels beyond direct mail — not always an easy task. Now we’ll explore how to do this to complement your direct mail.
Real consumers do interesting things on their journey from the discovery phase to purchase. They float between channels. And, without the right tracking in place, you’ll never know who responded, where they responded, and which channels performed best.
So, what is a mailer to do? How can you possibly track and analyze all that data? The answer is simple, but the execution is complex. You set up your campaign to effectively track your recipient’s behavior across multiple channels and you collect, distill, and analyze all the response data for real business intelligence and actionable insights for your next campaign.
We’ve become accustomed to the idea of mixing mail and email, but there are now many more online options that can be directly tied to your mail, triggered by your mail list, and not dependent upon key word searches. That translates into a method to use a mailing list for targeted, online advertising.
START WITH EMAIL
Coupling your house list with email noticeably boosts your response rates. Capturing emails is a critical step in your marketing program. If you don’t have a tool to capture emails for your house list, service providers can help you append emails to your file – with matching rates typically ranging from 20% to 60%.
In the past, marketers would enter the mailing, then blast an email a few days later, hoping delivery of both would coincide with a few days. Today, email platforms can “trigger” a personalized email based on the in-home delivery date using the USPS Intelligent Mail Barcode delivery scan data. Using your pre-defined business rules, each recipient can receive a tailored email the same or next day that their mail piece is delivered! When a prospect opens the email or clicks on the link, it can also trigger a follow-up email. Depending on your business rules, you can also send a reminder email days after delivery of the mail piece, or if the first email wasn’t opened. Of importance is that both the email and the link are trackable for accurate source attribution.
Marketing campaigns including landing pages are more likely to create engaged leads. Using your mailing list, you can append IP addresses (more on this later), so that those visitors will see a personalized landing page, pre-populated with customized information increasing the odds for engagement. Utilizing email, online ads, or a printed piece with a pURL (personalized URL), the obvious use of a landing page on your website is to capture sales leads, requests, or donations. When you add in the right tracking code to the page, you can capture the IP address, which will be matched back to a mailing address. Your landing page visitor will receive a postcard via the USPS. Responsive landing pages can be optimized to track IP addresses, mailing addresses, and even devices during engagement.
Informed Delivery (ID) is a USPS program that sends consumers images of the mail they will be receiving that day. Each morning, registered consumers receive an email from the USPS that provides a black and white image of each mail piece that is expected in their mailbox that day. The Postal Service allows mailers to replace the black and white image with a full-color image, and ads that link to a landing page. This gives marketers an additional “touch” with their prospects and customers, boosting response and providing a new response path through a clickable “ride-along” ad. Post-campaign summary reporting from USPS shares how many ID emails were delivered for the campaign, how many of them were opened, and how many ride-along ads were clicked. And the best part is – it’s all FREE from the US Postal Service.
Perhaps the most effective way to maximize your direct mail response rates is to integrate your direct mail campaign with the power of digital marketing.
Eighty percent of sales are made between the eighth and 12th contact. An easy way to quickly become memorable to your audience is by generating online impressions.
There are dozens of ways to “get digital” with ads on Google and social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram. Your customer or prospect can receive the mailing, and can have digital ads delivered with the SAME message on their social feeds, even before they visit your website online or receive your direct mail piece.
IP targeting is the process of targeting internet advertising to specific households based on their Internet Protocol address (which is the string of numbers assigned to your internet connection by your Internet Service Provider). Essentially, a postal address is linked to an IP address. Typically, an “IP append” will match 80%+ of a consumer list. With IP targeting, you can target one-to-one down to a specific household or business or include neighboring households. When you’re sending ads through IP Targeting, you’re hitting every device connected to the identified network.
Direct marketing tactics can now include mail, email, and online display advertising delivered directly to the homes you want to reach. Ask a professional mail services provider to help you plan your next campaign to include these powerful strategies.
Gary A Seitz is the Vice President of CTRAC Direct, a MidWest Direct company, who provide print, mail, and digital marketing services to mailers.
This article originally appeared in the May/June, 2021 issue of Mailing Systems Technology.