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Direct Mail & Email Workflow Templates For Ridiculously Effective Marketing Campaigns

Dennis Kelly

January 10th, 2018

direct mail email marketing combination

The following stats, facts, and tips support the wisdom of integrating direct mail into email marketing campaigns, as well as provide some best of breed guidelines for effective ways to accomplish this.

Adding Direct Mail to Email Campaigns Makes Good Economic Sense

  • Using the two channels results in an up to a 35% lift over a single channel—IWCO
  • Sending direct mail after email increases effectiveness by 40%—Canada Post
  • 57% of millennials have made purchases based on direct mail offers—USPS

Advantages that Direct Mail Adds to a Campaign

  • People spend more time with physical advertising than digital—Temple University, USPS
  • People have a stronger emotional response to physical ads and remember them better—Temple University, USPS
  • Because direct mail is tactile, it’s harder to ignore
  • You can use QR Code® barcodes, near field communication (NFC), or augmented reality (AR) to link your direct mail piece to your digital campaigns
  • Direct mail comes in a variety of sizes and formats that can be used to attract attention
  • Direct mail offers additional real estate in which to deliver your marketing message

5 Tips for Combining Direct Mail With Email

  1. Consider delivering critical information in both channels to reinforce the message and increase the likelihood it’ll make an impact
  2. Have each communication build on the last
  3. Use direct mail to emphasize a key message or break up the expected routine
  4. Ensure both email and direct mail adhere to the same graphic standards and reflect the same voice so each piece reinforces and extends your brand promise
  5. Use direct mail to initiate a conversation with people whose email addresses you do not yet have, or who have repeatedly not responded to your emails

Recommended Flows for Common Marketing Campaign Goals

The following six suggested campaigns illustrate how you can combine both direct mail and email to strategically accomplish key marcom goals.

Workflow: Skim the Cream Lead Generation

GOAL: Generate leads from paid or acquired email lists. Converting prospects into leads can be challenging. Factors that influence success include the quality of the prospect, the competitive environment, the fit of your solution, and the timeliness of your campaign.

APPROACH: Since these are prospects, start with email, which allows you to “skim the cream” with this more affordable channel. Then, use direct mail in your campaign to try to quickly convert holdouts on your list.

NOTE: As prospects convert, move them out of flow. After week 6, the remaining prospects may be “rested” and set aside for a future effort.

Workflow: The Stay Top of Mind Cadence

GOAL: Optimize sales outreach or stay-in-touch communications. Being in the right place at the right time can lead to new business. Sometimes it’s not easy to predict when someone is ready to buy or repurchase, so the best course of action is to remain top of mind.

APPROACH: Because your goal is to capture consistent mindshare from targets over a certain period of time, one approach is a series of evenly spaced communications that embody both email and direct mail channels.

NOTE: The duration of this campaign may be compressed or extended given your particular circumstances.

Workflow: The New Lead Nurture Stream

GOAL: Nurture warm, new leads that are not yet ready to engage. Warm leads are precious and deserve special treatment on their journey to becoming customers. Communicate with them in a way that makes them feel valued and that highlights your value to them.

APPROACH: Make a good first impression and then continue to underscore it in both email and direct mail. The intention is to be present when you are needed, and to be helpful without being overbearing.

NOTE: When someone is ready to engage, remove them from this flow. Continue nurture campaign after week 8 if ROI is there, or move leads to different flow. Alternatively, send email driving to preference center where they select how, when and about which topics to be contacted.

Workflow: Seal the Deal Onboarding

GOAL: Welcome and on-board new buyers. After a customer buys, they enter the honeymoon period with your company. Cement the relationship, ward off second thoughts, lay the groundwork for a positive experience, and gain referrals or endorsements.

APPROACH: Make your customer feel welcome and feel your presence, send a welcome package through the mail. It will get noticed, can be shared, and will serve as a reminder of the new relationship. During this campaign, validate the choice the customer made, and provide easy, clear onboarding information.

Workflow: Raise the Dead Cold Lead Touches

GOAL: Reactivate cold leads. Cold leads are frustrating, because they demonstrated interest at one point—yet failed to convert for reasons that are typically unknown. However, there is often life in a percentage of them.

APPROACH: Because they likely ignored your last emails, start with a short letter in an envelope. This will get past any B2B gatekeepers as well as attract more attention than an email might. Follow up with a series of emails interspersed with direct mail to create a double-barrel effort to reactivate these leads.

Workflow: Prime the Pump For Events

GOAL: Communicate with registrants for an event. Registrants (and even invitees) for an event you’re participating in, can be well-qualified prospects. You will want to communicate with them—early and often. Expose them to your brand, get them familiar with it, and prime them to connect with you at the event. However, you may not have access to their email addresses.

APPROACH: Send direct mail to drive people to a landing page to capture details about them, like their email address. Then create a concentrated, multi-channel campaign to engage them before and after the event.

NOTE: The campaign assumes you’d begin contacting people a month before the event because anything less may not provide enough time to build familiarity and anticipation. If desired, start the campaign earlier, and then heavy up on contacts as the date draws closer.

Direct Mail Tips and Techniques

Following are some key best practices for acquisition, customer deepening and retention direct mail, as well as 10 steps to more effective direct mail creative.

Top 3 Direct Mail Acquisition Best Practices

#1 – Remember the 40/40/20 Rule. 40% of a mailer’s success will come from the list (targeting the right prospects at the right time); 40% from the offer (compelling and relevant offers are the best); and 20% from the creative (the copy and artwork must be attention-getting and motivating).

#2 – “Eye Magnet Words” like announcing, introducing, new, now and free have been scientifically proven to attract above average readership. And the words easy, quick and improved have been shown to lift product sales. Use them.

#3 – The Principle of Social Proof states that when people are uncertain about what action to take, they do what others like them do. Therefore use techniques like customer testimonials or stating the number of satisfied customers a brand has. This will increase the mail piece’s response.

Top 3 Direct Mail Cross Sell/Upsell Best Practices

#1 – Use what you know about customers, their past behaviors and their preferences to inform subsequent communications and frame new sales opportunities – always taking a programmatic approach vs. a series of unrelated one-offs

#2 – Leverage the Principle of Consistency. Social scientists have shown that once someone makes a decision, they will want to act in ways that are consistent with it. Remind customers that they have already made the decision to buy from you. It increases the likelihood they will buy again.

#3 – Don’t try to sell another product or service. Instead, sell a solution to a problem, because that’s what people buy.

Top 3 Customer Retention Best Practices

#1 – Use the power of exclusivity. Offer “customer only” discounts, “charter membership” opportunities, “not available to the general public” sales. Having this kind of “preferred access” deepens loyalty and spurs additional purchases.

#2 – Communicate on a regular basis. Reinforce the customer’s smart decision to buy your product. Inform customers of news, product enhancements, etc. before the general public.

#3 – Surprise and delight. Provide unexpected offers or services (ex: send a birthday message and percentage off coupon). Show and tell your customers that you appreciate their business.

10 Direct Mail Creative Best Practices

  1. Balance the rational and the emotional in your messaging
  2. Identify the prospect’s main buying barrier and build in the argument to overcome it
  3. Write a headline and lead sentence that really grab the reader
  4. Be personal, relevant and target-focused
  5. Keep layouts clean and copy easy to read (avoid thick paragraphs)
  6. Remember specifics out-pull generalities
  7. Make sure heads, subs and copy blocks track
  8. Maintain a visual hierarchy that guides the reader through the piece
  9. Use reverse type sparingly (in body copy it reduces readership)
  10. Pop a strong, single call to action

Also published on Medium.

About the author

Dennis Kelly

Dennis is the CEO of Postalytics - the leading all-in-one direct mail automation tool. Dennis builds companies, typically having something to do with technology. His roles span product development, sales, marketing, finance and HR. Dennis started off life as a sales guy, spent time building products, running data centers, and has been a 3X CEO of angel and venture backed startups.

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