- An effective direct mail campaign can stand out, get noticed, and enable brand owners to reconnect with their valued customers.
- By adding marketing messages to their statements, companies can build their brands and develop a deeper connection with their audience.
- Now more than ever, businesses are seeking answers to their problems.
By Karen Kimerer
Particularly during the COVID era, brands must find effective ways to connect with their customers so they can stay top of mind. Although it might be tempting to wait things out during these uncertain times, successful businesses tend to forge ahead rather than retreating. According to the Ogilvy Asia agency, "Brands that sustain their exposure throughout a crisis can achieve three times more market share during downturns, and also rebound faster and stronger during the recovery periods."
Getting Noticed with Direct Mail
In today’s business climate, it is more important than ever for businesses to engage their customers and prospects via a channel that gets noticed. Although e-mail might seem like the easy choice, today’s digital inboxes are being inundated with messaging. As a result, many consumers are suffering from digital fatigue. Meanwhile, an effective direct mail campaign can stand out, get noticed, and enable brand owners to reconnect with their valued customers.
Although the tried and true direct mail channel can be a solid strategy, it’s important not to get too comfortable. Like any other channel, direct mail must be used intelligently to be effective. Author Seth Godin is known for stating, “you make things better by making better things.” Some businesses have an outdated perception of direct mail, and this may be due to the lack of effort that is put into certain print campaigns. Research has consistently shown that well-executed direct mail campaigns can be critical to creating a better customer experience. Even in today’s digital age, strategic printed communications can drive new revenues.
According to Keypoint Intelligence’s Transactional Communications research, businesses understand the value of enhancing their transactional statements. In fact, over 60% of respondents always or frequently include marketing messages in their transactional mail pieces. By adding marketing messages to their statements, companies can build their brands and develop a deeper connection with their audience.
Transactional print is only one example of direct mail—postcards, flyers, and catalogs can also be used to enhance and strengthen the relationship between the brand and the customer. Print service providers have an opportunity to help businesses keep their brands top of mind right now, so don’t be afraid to leverage the power that your technology can deliver! With today’s digital presses, PSPs can enhance the appearance of a direct mail piece with clear toner, elevate a marketing message with bold neon colors, or encourage engagement by including interactive elements on a printed piece.
Catalogs are at the heart of brand building, and businesses depend on them to strengthen the customer experience and build loyalty. Incorporating personalization with an interactive element in a catalog can deliver a great customer brand experience. Companies of all sizes are finding that printed catalogs serve as a powerful reminder and motivator to place an online order. Moreover, response rates from catalogs continue to increase. According to a February 2020 Harvard Business Review article entitled Why Catalogs Are Making a Comeback, physically printed products like catalogs linger in offices and homes long after e-mails are deleted. This helps increase top-of-mind awareness.
Key Elements of a Successful Direct Mail Campaign
There is no doubt that our industry has changed as we continue to navigate COVID-19, but the three key elements of every successful direct mail campaign remain the same. These include:
- The List: You probably already have access to a list of your current customers, and in many cases a keen awareness of their business needs. If you’re concerned that your existing list seems too small, don’t worry! The most effective direct mail campaigns typically target a fairly small number of recipients.
- The Offer: Given the state of business today, your best offer might not be a product or service. Consider delivering a series of educational moments to your customers’ mailboxes. Now more than ever, businesses are seeking answers to their problems. Modify your messaging—rather than communicating about your print capabilities, share what you know about print and how it can be used during challenging times. Direct mail can stand out in the crowd if the offer is meaningful and personalized to the recipient.
- The Design: An eye-catching design gets noticed, and you can really make it count by incorporating an interactive component! An interactive element might be as simple as a QR that enables the recipient to request a free calendar, note pad, or to-do list. By incorporating easy-to-use and engaging elements, you can gain access to a quick tracking solution that helps determine campaign performance.
Regardless of whether your campaign is a short-term series of mail drops or a permanent marketing effort, you will have a new story to tell. The results of your own campaign will likely be very enlightening!
The Bottom Line
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has proven tough for many, challenging times also bring opportunities. Don’t overlook the golden opportunity you have to make a genuine connection with your customers. A well-executed direct mail campaign can always position your business for success, but it is especially important during uncertain times.
Karen Kimerer of Keypoint Intelligence has experienced the many challenges of expanding current market opportunities and securing new business. She has developed a systematic approach to these opportunities, addressing the unique requirements of becoming a leader in our changing industry. She is well-versed in 1:1 marketing, web-to-print, direct mail, book publishing, supply chain management, data segmentation, channel integration, and photo products.