create direct mail that converts

How to Create Direct Mail That Converts

Posted by Alayna Frankenberry on Jul 10, 2017

In our increasingly digitized world, there’s a reason why so many successful brands still deliver direct mail marketing campaigns: because they work. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

  • 77% of people sort through their physical mail as soon as they get it.
  • Recipients spend an average of 25 minutes reviewing the direct mail pieces in their mail pile.
  • 67% of people say physical mail is more personal than digital messages.
  • 70% of customers have re-started a relationship because of direct mail.
  • 66% of people have made a purchase because of direct mail.

While email campaigns are valuable, direct mail response rates blow them out of the water. Direct marketing campaigns receive an average response rate of 4.4%, compared to the 0.12% earned by emails. Of course, these percentages are only a baseline. Your direct mail response rates can climb even higher when you follow these direct marketing strategies for better conversion:

Focus on Your Mailing List First

creating direct mail that convertsThink about the last direct mail marketing campaign you completed. How many recipients were in your mailing list? Where did they come from? How were they segmented? If you can’t easily rattle off the answers to these questions, you’re not alone. In a rush to promote a new product or offer, many marketers neglect the most important step of direct mail marketing: refining their mailing list.

Easy Ways to Refine Your Direct Mailing List

  • Limit permissions for list editing. Who can edit contact information within your lists? To ensure up-to-date data is saved correctly and corrections aren’t deleted, provide limited access to sales and marketing teams. When cleaning a specific list, assign the project to one person to avoid confusion.
  • Integrate email bounces. There are many reasons why an email might bounce. One of the most common, especially for B2B marketers, is a job change. When a contact changes companies, they usually abandon email accounts. They also abandon their physical mailbox in the company mailroom. Double-check direct mail addresses connected with hard-bounced emails to ensure you’re not sending direct mail to an empty office.
  • Update changed addresses. USPS has a National Change of Address (NCOA) service that’s an invaluable tool for direct mail marketing. Start here, but don’t be afraid to do your own detective work online. Double check corporate addresses and even personal websites for mailing info.
  • Reduce waste by removing duplicates. Have your mailing services provider remove duplicates from the mailing file for you, to save the expense of mailing to the same person twice, and consider whether you want to send only one piece to a household or to all contacts in that home. 
  • Segment in more ways than one. You wouldn’t want to send a mailing introducing your business to a customer who’s been loyal for years. In the same way, you don’t want to advertise a product in one city that’s only available in another. Gather and update as much information as possible to ensure each list you pull is targeted to the right contacts.

Think of your mailing lists as the foundation of your direct mailing strategy. The more time and effort you put into creating and refining your lists, the more successful your direct mail campaigns will be.

Boost Open Rates With Hand-Addressed Envelopes

When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? In today’s digital age, even wedding invitations and personal thank you notes are being mailed in printed envelopes. In a sea of printed mail, handwritten envelopes stand out from the pack. The novelty of these cards and letters excites recipients and encourages higher open rates.

Of course, most companies don’t have the time or fortitude to address thousands of envelopes every day. Luckily, digital handwriting technology can help! Unlike script or printed fonts, digital handwriting styles rely on intelligent glyph usage. The result looks like natural handwriting instead of a computerized replication.

Learn How to Save Time, Money, and Stress on Your Next Marketing Campaign

Simplify Your Message

If there’s one quality all direct mailing campaigns should have, it’s simplicity. Recipients want to know the “point” of their mail as quickly as possible. While some companies try to bury the lead, these efforts often backfire. Readers who don’t instantly grasp the value of a mailing are quick to toss it aside.

direct mail that convertsEnvelopes that over-promise what’s inside by shouting “FREE MONEY INSIDE!” don’t pass the customer sniff test. Increasingly skeptical customers may throw these envelopes away without even opening them.

There’s nothing wrong with creating interest through envelop messaging, but make sure your offer isn’t intentionally vague, and don’t bait and switch recipients or use grandiose language. “Free offer inside” is much more effective than “You won’t believe this AMAZING offer!”

These tips aren’t just for your direct mail envelopes. Make sure all your content is concise and clear. Focus on a single offer, or highlight only a few features and benefits. Your direct mail collateral shouldn’t teach the recipient everything they need to know about your company. It should entice to learn more.

Personalize and Target Direct Mail With VDP

Personalizing and targeting direct mail is easier than ever before thanks to variable data printing (VDP). In the past, each version of a postcard or letter needed to be run separately. Not only did this add to production time, it also wasted hours on design and limited exactly how personal a message could be.

Now a campaign can include thousands of completely unique messages. VDP printers, like MSP can produce these messages within the same “job.” They can also print smaller batches for use in automated marketing campaigns. These campaigns are triggered by specific events. When it’s time for a customer’s dog to visit the vet, for example, they can receive a reminder to make an appointment.

These targeted, personalized messages can have a huge impact on conversion. According to PODi and DMA, while response rates for non-personalized mail pieces average 2%, personalized pieces have a response rates of 6%. That’s an increase of 300%!

Why Direct Mail Marketers Love Variable Data Printing

Use Direct Mail to Send Recipients to a Landing Page

While direct mail pieces may have a higher ROI than email messages, they lack many of the tracking capabilities that come with emails. For example, using analytics from Google or Hubspot can help marketers track exactly who’s opened an email, which pages they visited and if and when they converted. These data points can help track and score leads, and nurture those who don’t convert right away to convert in the future.

While it may not be possible to track exactly who read your direct mail postcards or letters, you can track who read your pieces and decided to visit your website. To do this, simply highlight a specific url in your mailing. Make sure the web address is unique and connects to a dedicated landing page. This way, when digital tracking tools show a visitor for this page, you’ll know that visit was a recipient of a specific direct mail campaign.

Remember to review this tracking data and make note of which campaigns were successful and with which market segments. What you learn will help you define and refine your direct marketing strategies.

As you continue to develop your creative marketing strategies remember this: physical mail provides a unique opportunity. It creates a physical bond between company and consumer, and forges a lasting connection. Don’t miss the opportunity to form that bond by sending direct mail that’s cold, irrelevant, or outdated. Use these tips to excite recipients, boost conversions, and form lasting relationships. 

Ready to create a direct mail campaign that converts? Schedule your free consultation today.

Topics: Direct mail, variable data printing, Direct Mail ROI