Cost is often a large factor in business decisions; everyone wants to get more for their money. A clean mailing list, whether for email or print, can save you a lot.
If your mailing is going to 2,000 recipients and 10% of the addresses are no longer relevant, why send something to them? Our data analysts can clean and organize your data as needed, as well as verify the addresses with the USPS. Whether a simple data clean up, or a an in-depth update to your list, we’ve got the knowledge and tools to make your data work for you.
Below, we’ve compiled some tips for your mailing lists and we hope you’ll find them useful. We’ve also made a basic data template available for download here. Your account executive is also more than happy to help with any questions you may have about databases. If you do not have an account executive, please contact Jason Schultz at 216-634-5117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips for mailing lists
1. The software used by the United States Postal Service is specific. When it comes to addresses, when it doubt, spell it out.
2. For the deliverability of an address, you can check here.
3. It’s important to include words like east and west if they’re part of a street address.
4. Make sure you’ve checked zip codes as well as state abbreviations to make sure they’re complete and correct.
5. If you’re shipping to an international address, make sure you provide the country names and postal codes.
6. Always put address fields into individual columns in Microsoft Excel.
7. When providing a list of email addresses, make sure they are current and properly formatted.
Want to ensure that your direct mail is in line with today’s best practices? Here are 5 items that should be on every marketer’s “must do” list.
1. Focus on relevance, not volume: Marketers are moving away from commoditized, undifferentiated direct mail. They are leveraging customer demographics, purchase patterns, and preferences to increase response rates and drive revenue growth. According to a March 2014 study from Adobe, “personalization” ranked #1 on marketers’ lists of priorities this year.1
2. Sometimes less is more: By focus on creating relevance, not volume, this often means smaller, more targeted mailings. Only with personalized, relevance-based marketing can you mail less and get more.
3. Think efficiency: Better data cleansing and updating of mailing lists (eliminating UAA, or “undeliverable as addressed” mail) not only increases marketing efficiency, but it saves on postage, too.
4. Use triggered mail: Marketing effectiveness increases when you are mailing at the very time the customer is ready to buy. “Triggered” messaging does just that. Take an automotive manufacturer that sends out 1:1 mailers to alert customers when their vehicles are due for scheduled maintenance based on their last service call. Or a florist that advertises discounts to customers with family members with birthdays or anniversaries that week. Triggered mail magnifies the impact of personalization.
5. Be willing to stretch yourself: Don’t get stuck in a rut. In the same Adobe study, 54% of marketers said they believe the ideal marketer should take more risks and 45% hope to take more risks themselves. How will you know what works best for you if you don’t stretch yourself by trying something new once in awhile?
Talk to us about new ideas and new techniques for personalizing, using triggers, and increasing the relevance of your campaigns to boost your results.
1 “Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves” (Adobe, March 2014)
As a marketer, you may not know that there are many tools and technologies available to help your company execute successful direct mail efforts. You may be able to Using tools such as variable data printing, personalized URLs, and personalized QR Codes can easily create measurable campaigns.
If you are looking to personalize direct mail pieces for your customers, here are three ideas worth considering.
Consider the location of the recipient and design the materials accordingly.
By taking a look at the recipient’s location, you should be able to identify a data element that could be converted to personalized content. For example, if you are sending direct mail to promote your retail store, gym, or another physical location, you could personalize the piece to show just how close the person is to that spot. This could be represented graphically, via a map, or simply in text (i.e. “you are less than 2 miles away!”)
If you are targeting previous customers, appeal to that and possibly reference the product or service they purchased.
If we are sending direct mail pieces to our existing customers, we truly have no excuse not to personalize our materials. Take the time to look at their purchase history. With that data, you should be able to ensure that the promotions and offers on your direct mail piece are truly relevant to them.
Based on demographics, select color(s) that may appeal to each group.
This one may take a bit more research and creativity. But there certainly are studies out there regarding the effect that certain colors may have on different groups of people. If you can find a way to use the right ones for the segments inside of your target audience, you should be able to increase your response rates.
When you are planning on sending a direct mail piece out to your target audience, make sure you include measurement components into your marketing strategy. That way, you can see which marketing methods are the most effective!
Use Google Analytics to Benchmark Direct Traffic
Prior to sending out the direct mail piece, monitor and record the Direct Traffic that Google Analytics reports on your corporate website.
Then, monitor those numbers as the direct mailer starts to land in recipients’ mailboxes. While this is not going to tell you exactly how many people hit the website because they saw your URL on the mail piece, this approach may help you to gauge if the needle moved at all.
Yes, it may sound simple and less than scientific… but it’s something that should and can be done by anyone.
Use Personalized or Unique URLs on the Direct Mail Piece
Rather than printing your corporate website URL on the direct mail piece, use a custom or unique URL that will only be promoted to the people receiving the direct mailer.
That URL may simply serve as a redirect to the corporate website once it’s entered. Or maybe it points to a landing page that is embedded into one of your site’s pages.
This activity should help to serve as a good indicator if the mail piece made an impact.
This approach is often simple to execute and can result in solid data… but it’s often overlooked. In the contact forms that are provided on your website, add a question that asks people how they heard about you.
Also, train and encourage sales reps to ask new prospects that request more information if they received the mailer and then record it.
Of course, direct mail’s impact isn’t necessarily measured only within the few days it arrives at the recipient’s house. People may store and return to that mailer at a later date — perhaps even weeks later. Thus, keep an eye on website traffic over the long-term to see if the impact of the mailer is still being felt.
To truly capitalize on advancements in the worlds of marketing and communications, businesses must find ways to make print work with new channels.
Here are three ways that print can be made interactive:
Use QR Codes to Drive People to Mobile-Optimized Sites
The numbers behind the growth in mobile marketing truly are impressive. More and more of your customers and prospects are visiting websites on their mobile phones. By adding a QR Code to your printed materials, you will be able to reach that mobile audience. QR Codes truly can make print interactive. By driving people a mobile-optimized site where they can watch a video, learn more about a product, or sign up for future alerts, you will further build your database and increase brand awareness.
Promote Social Media Pages for a Company or Product
Companies of all sizes and across all types of verticals are turning to social media to help better serve their customers and interact with prospects. However, they need people to know those pages exist to truly maximize the impact. One way to do this is to promote the social media sites on printed materials. Many people use their smartphone to hop onto sites, such as Facebook or Twitter. They may do the same thing after learning that your company has something to offer on those sites.
Use SMS/Text-Messaging as the Call-to-Action
While we may place less phone calls on our cell phones than we did two years ago, SMS/Text-messaging usage seemingly continues to rise. A number of companies have found ways to engage their fans and build their mobile marketing database by inviting people to send a text message to opt-in for a special offer.
There are plenty of tools and channels to choose from when trying to make print interactive, so see what works best for your audience and take it from there!
We all recognize that companies no longer rely solely on direct mail and print to try to reach their customers and prospects. But as long as it remains an effective channel, businesses will use it.
Here are three ways that you can use effective direct mail efforts for your business:
Personalization and Segmentation: Data was meant to do more than simply be imported and exported. Find creative ways to segment lists by the criteria that you may have. Then, tailor the message, content, and/or graphics to appeal specifically to each group.
Complement the Effort with Other Channels: How many touches does it take to make a sale? If there really is a magic number, the bottom line is this: the answer is not typically 1! Rather, it may take multiple efforts through multiple channels to truly make an impression on a prospect. Use channels such as email, social media, and mobile marketing in addition to the direct mail piece to truly deliver an integrated, cross-channel campaign.
Test Multiple Designs & Offers: Testing multiple offers does not indicate that you are not sure of what you’re doing. Rather, it proves that you are truly supporting your marketing efforts and that you’re determined to ensure that your marketing & educational campaigns are the best they can be. Try testing multiple mailers with different wording and graphics. Then, present the reports to your team to show them what’s working the best.
If you need help with your campaigns, let us know!
While it sure can be fun to generate personalized URLs and QR Codes and then put them on a piece of printed material (direct mail, flyers, brochures, etc), the real enjoyment can come from the time you spend actually tracking and measuring how things are working.
Here are four metrics that may help you do this effectively:
- The number of people that scanned or clicked: Half the battle of launching a successful marketing effort involves simply getting someone’s attention. How can you make your message stand out from the clutter of other messages that the recipient may have received? Well, pay attention to the group that at least takes some action on your response mechanisms. Even if they do not actually respond to your questions on the landing page, the act of scanning a QR Code, typing in a URL, or sending a text message involves effort. That bit of effort may indicate a bit of interest in your message; thus, those people should be treated differently than those found a home for your printed materials in their waste basket.
- The number of people that responded: Yes, we love these folks. They took the time to visit your response page, enter some contact information, and perhaps answer a few questions. Make sure that you are ready to embrace these leads quickly. Of course, pay attention to the data that they provide to you! If they shared preferences on how they prefer to be contacted or in what they’re interested in, make sure that you respect and honor that.
- Where are the responders in the sales pipeline: At some point, leads are handed off between marketing and sales departments. However, marketing’s job is to support sales the entire way through the pipeline. Thus, marketing folks should have the ability (and the desire) to see where the leads they’ve generated have moved down to in the sales funnel.
- Actionable intelligence from the responders feedback: We often tend to look at each response and lead as its own entity. This is good and understandable. However, we should also look at the data from a high-level perspective. Take the time to look for trends — when do people click? When do they respond? What answers are being provided/selected by the majority of folks?
Answers to these four metrics should certainly help us to grasp whether our current printed materials are effectively reaching our audience. But more importantly, they should also help us to create and launch better marketing efforts in the future.