Back in August, we published an article about avoiding common mistakes in your marketing campaigns. We followed it up with a piece on trading ineffective newspaper ads for high-response media in your marketing mix.
This time we want to cover a topic that goes to the heart of our field of expertise – developing a successful shared mail strategy.
With over 30 years of experience bringing our clients success, we’ve learned there are several considerations that play a role in the shared mail component of your integrated marketing campaigns. We’ll take a closer look at the big five considerations you’ll need to focus on for sustainable success.
Mailing Frequency is Numero Uno
How often you run your ads in the mail is likely the most important consideration when it comes to shared mail campaigns.
What’s the right tempo?
You’ll probably ask yourself this question many times. But here’s the thing, and we’re sorry we can’t give a definitive answer, but mailing frequency is one of those things that will vary depending on a lot of things including the kind of industry you operate in, what you’re trying to accomplish, what your target audience is like, and so on.
Asking about how often you should mail is almost like asking how often Joe needs to work out at the gym to lose 20 pounds and get a six-pack. It just depends. And his ideal gym frequency might be less than Jane’s – or more than hers. Either way, if Joe and Jane are both going regularly and doing the right workouts while they’re there, they will have great results.
It’s a lot like that with shared mail – you’ll only hurt yourself if you don’t mail enough. Or if you mail enough but are implementing the wrong strategy. Or, to use the Joe analogy, you’re doing every exercise you can except the ones that will help you achieve your goal of dropping 20 pound and getting six-pack abs.
If you’re still in doubt when it comes to mailing frequency, here’s a baseline: Studies have shown that campaigns running between 3-6 months are most successful. The repetition will help you stay top-of-mind and beat out competitive offers. So, start there and tweak as results become more obvious. If you’re looking to really grow your customers, you may want to consider mailing more often. Research tells us businesses not using direct mail as part of the mix only saw 37% customer growth. But businesses mailing 11-15 times per year saw 71% customer growth.
Did you know that personalizing a mailing can increase response up to 44%? <Bold these words please: personalizing a mailing can increase response up to 44%> In industries where churn and switching levels are high, personalization is a very productive way to target individual households with specialized offers to increase retention and new acquisition.
We recommend personalization and impact postcards if you want to pattern-match new potential households to your current high-value customers. This strategy is especially powerful for those providing Home Services and Medical, Health, or Vision Services.
There is a 57% increase in response when matching household ethnicity to the image and message.
Be Intentional with Your Design
People are sorting their mail quickly and you will need to grab their attention right away.
How? Well, here’s what we know.
- There is an 80% increase in response when matching family images to a family household.
- There is a 57% increase in response when matching household ethnicity to the image and message.
- And there is a 47% increase when addressing the consumer by their name.
Beyond making your mailing piece easy to read and eye catching, we have a few more suggestions. We recommend ensuring your lifestyle images resonate with the profile and avoid overly generic stock images. Choose clean, legible text that clearly show price-points, offers and call-to-action are key. Avoid aspirational copy and stick with the facts. Our award-winning design team is here to help make your mailing piece eye catching!
Picking a Product 101
Don’t overthink this – it’s our job to match you up with a shared mail option that does what you need it to do and works well with your budget.
Still, we can give you an idea of what kind of fact-finding questions we’d ask. Like what’s the level of targeting you want to do? If you want to reach an entire market and achieve saturation, we might recommend the Wrap. If you want to get down to household level, personalizing your ads, our Impact Postcards are a good choice. If you want to mail frequently but you’re on a tight budget, our value sheets are a cost-effective way to maintain regular presence and visibility.
Although all the choices can seem overwhelming, it’s great to have many different options so you’re getting exactly what you need. Allow us to guide you through the product selection process and eliminate the guesswork.
Doubt and skepticism thrive in the absence of facts and analysis. But let’s be honest – even though measuring results is one of the most important things to do in marketing, it’s also one of the more difficult parts of our job.
But, and we can’t emphasize this enough, it must be done.
The depth of analysis will depend on aspects such as the type of POS system you use, the types of call-to-actions, and the vendor’s access to your data. Partnering with your vendor to ensure tracking capabilities are pre-planned and accessible will be imperative.
Developing a close relationship with your agencies and vendors will allow you to quickly gather results, make changes, test, and ultimately maximize the ROI for your business.
A key suggestion here is to ask your vendors to track and deliver analysis regularly on the campaigns they run for you. They should be able to provide regular campaign results and insights, which will help you evaluate progress and maximize campaign success.
This may all seem like a lot just to send out a bunch of ads. But, from our vantage point, the marketers who take the time to really develop their strategy, even down to their direct mail campaigns, have the best results. The thing to remember is that, with us, it’s a partnership – so don’t hesitate to take advantage of our expertise. Integrated marketing can be complex but if you’re working with people who can understand the broader goals of your integrated marketing program, they can help you align your media to perform how it needs to in a truly sustainable and cost-effective way. We are happy to show you how this can work. In the meantime, check out our latest eBook on developing your shared mail strategy.
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2017 DMA Response Rate Report,
Bain & Company
2017 Everything Marketing