Direct Mail is finally making a comeback after taking a back seat to digital over the last 10 years. So, if you are business that has no mailing expertise, or you are returning to using direct mail, we are going to guide you in this post as to how to make your direct mail campaign a success.
But first, why has Direct Mail suddenly become popular again among many businesses?
Lack of consumer trust in other channels
The Royal Mail in 2017 conducted an excellent piece of research called The Value of Mail in Uncertain Times. They wanted to understand where people’s perception of various marketing channels was when considering the content exhaustion and lack of trust that people now had with the increased prevalence of fake news.
What was very apparent from this report was that mail scored very highly when it came to trust with 87% of respondents considering mail to be believable.
Another interesting take away from this research was that 70% of the audience felt more valued when they received a piece of mail, and overall the feedback given in this report was that mail was seen as private and secure.
In 2017 Irelands National Postal Operator, An Post, commissioned Kantar Millward Brown to conduct a survey on people’s attitudes to mail. Once again the findings were very positive with increases in peoples attitude towards mail when it came to making them feel valued, encouraging them to purchase and increasing their loyalty to a brand.
As you can see this increased positive sentiment towards direct mail is very positive.
Therefore it presents businesses with an excellent opportunity to use the benefits of Direct Mail to communicate a defined message, build trust and over time grow loyalty.
How to Make Your Direct Mail Campaign A Success
1) Ensure Your Database Is Clean and Up To Date
Having a database of customers where you are able to send a communication with their name, address and other pertinent information personalised to them makes that communication instantly more valuable to the customer receiving it.
However, a database that is incomplete, poorly constructed, missing numerous data fields or contains deceased records will instantly stop your Direct Mail campaign before you start.
Always have your database reviewed by data professionals such as DCK. By doing so you ensure that all the data you need to successfully personalise and address your communication accurately will be present, and can be data cleaned to a level that allows for potential decreases in postage costs.
When it comes to data you must be very cognisant of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which becomes law on the 25th May.
While sending someone a piece of mail is seen as a legitimate interest (link this to the DCK GDPR post) and hence you do not have to get explicit consent first, if someone on your database has asked to be removed, or does ask in the future, you must do so to avoid falling foul of the regulation.
Therefore, it will be critical to ensure your data team or if you use an outside mailing resource, stay informed of any records that must be marked for deletion. We would always recommend you develop a proper process so that departments such as customer service have a proper communication chain to flag and communicate any customers who have requested their data be removed.
When it comes to data, nothing is more frustrating than to see 100’s if not 1000’s of direct mail pieces returned due to individuals no longer living at the address or because the database had numerous incomplete addresses.
To solve this issue you need to focus on two key areas. Firstly, ensure that your database is reviewed and cleaned properly by a data expert. Review the data to see if upper and lower casing is required, are there missing or incomplete addresses or deceased records flagged so these are all rectified to the standard required by the postal operator such as An Post in Ireland.
Secondly, ensure that you have a process in place so that any undelivered mail pieces that are returned to you are marked on your database so that they are not mailed again. Doing this ensures you are not wasting budget on both print and postage.
2) Personalisation of your mailing.
To be able to use a name, address and other core information in a mailing has long been an excellent benefit of Direct Mail.
Highly personalised and targeted mail pieces can become very responsive communications because they create real relevance an impact with the recipient.
As mailing experts DCK has always recognised that personalisation is critical for a successful mailing campaign.
Therefore, we have consistently invested in technology and solutions to ensure that personalisation on multiple variables and both words and images inside a mailing can be personalised ensuring a rich and impactful experience is had by the target audience.
3) Develop A Detailed Critical Path
This is a very important element that a lot of businesses tend to take for granted when starting to plan their direct mail campaigns and becomes particularly vital when your mailing is time sensitive.
Car insurance renewals, mailings celebrating specific occasions such as St Patrick’s Day & Christmas, fundraising mailings and legal financial mailings all hinge on your mailing dropping in the letterbox of your target audience within an agreed time frame.
The way to minimise delays and issues is to plan out each element of your campaign from design, printing of physical mailing pieces, data cleansing, personalisation, mail enclosing and posting.
We would suggest that a preliminary briefing should occur in which all stakeholders involved in the mailing meet. This allows for each relevant party to flag potential issues or concerns up front. For example, if you were working with DCK we can advise you if the mailing date could be compromised if the data is not received from your data team by a certain date, or, if stock from your printer does not arrive within an agreed time frame.
The key thing to remember is that all parties should have an input in agreeing the key dates to be met on the critical path so that there is no confusion, ambiguity or issues with the mailing date.
4) Keep your mailing house in the loop on the creative
When it comes to creativity, direct mail can be a brilliant medium to deliver impact.
However, it is vital that you work with your mailing house to ensure that the creative direction you wish to proceed with can be fulfilled with your mailing supplier’s equipment.
In DCK we have an in-house design team that are experts and fully understand the various intricacies of design when it comes to direct mail, and by allowing our team guide you it will ensure no issues arise down the line.
For example, a simple printed letter can become problematic if it is printed on paper not compatible with a laser printer. The size of the letter, where it folds, does it have a die-cut all can be areas that can cause issue. Our advice is to always plan a testing phase with test stock to ensure that before you go to a live print situation your piece to be personalised can be accepted.
Another area that catches people out is the envelope. For large mailings automated enclosing of your mailing elements is the fastest and most cost effective way to have your mailing packed.
However, specific envelopes are needed when using machines so always ensure you work with your envelope supplier or mailing house to ensure the correct envelopes are produced.
5) Always Print Overs of Your Stock
This is a common problem that a lot of people tend to forget. For example, you are mailing 20,000 people so you print 20,000 envelopes, letterheads, brochures etc. In theory that sounds right but in practice causes issues.
When enclosing your mailing by machine you have to allow for both setting up the machine as well as spoilage and jams during the enclosing stage. By only giving the exact amount the chances that potential recipients on your database will not get a mailing becomes increasingly high.
We would always recommend you order 3 to 5% overs on all your mailing stock elements. The cost is very small from your print supplier point of view and by doing so you remove this risk that there will not be enough stock to complete your mailing.
6) Have you allocated enough postage budget?
This is another area that can catch you out. Both the size, weight and postal destination of your mailing can impact your final postage cost.
Work with your mailing house to ascertain the possible postage cost by testing upfront with a sample pack. You may need to reduce the weight or thickness of a mailing to reduce the cost so knowing this before you go to full production of your mailing elements would be key.
Also ensure that you have agreed with your mailing house as to the preferred postage method you want to use. Will you want to your mailing to be delivered in one day, or are you happy for it to take up to three days.
Depending on your requirement will affect the price.
Direct Mail is making a very positive comeback in a world that for so long has been dominated by digital.
Each day the various age sectors that we now class as Gen X, Y and Z are bombarded by digital ads, social interactions and multiple emails prompting content overload where one message blurs into the next.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a firm believer in social media but like everything too much of a good thing is bad.
People are responding to Direct Mail again because there is an effort required to craft a message that is personal to the recipient which then drops through their letterbox.
Because every interaction and transaction these days can now be done on mobile, the sight of a physical piece of mail on the floor, or through the letterbox, with your name on it instantly grabs attention.
No single communication medium is the silver bullet to your marketing challenges, however direct mail, both on its own, and integrated strategically with other mediums, can really create a wow factor and spark a positive reaction to create and build a new customer relationship.
As mailing experts and one of the leaders in Ireland DCK work closely with many clients on their mailing needs to ensure that the key tips outlined above are always actioned.
This ensures that every mailing is produced to the highest standard with every deadline met.
So, do you need help with your next Direct Mail campaign? Why not book an appointment with me to discuss your requirements so that I can show you the real potential direct mail could bring to your business.