If nothing else, the past two years have reminded us that acting quickly on emerging direct marketing trends not only keeps you in business but puts you ahead of your competitors. Consumer habits have changed and will continue to change as markets evolve in response to the ongoing pandemic. Take a look at what we’ve seen to be the most impactful trends when it comes to direct marketing and how to achieve success by experimenting with them early and often.
Direct Marketing Feeds on Information
Knowledge is power. The more you know about your prospects, the better the chance at reaching them and turning them into repeat or even lifelong customers. Data collection and enrichment is critical to the success of any ongoing direct marketing strategy . With this information properly organized and analyzed, you’ll gain a better understanding of your target audience and how to reach them.
Gathering data efficiently is key. Hosting online events, such as surveys, webinars, or product launches, is a great way to collect valuable information on your members, donors, customers, and prospects that can be used when crafting offers to them at a later point in time. Build consumer profiles and tailor your direct marketing plans to the behavior patterns that yield the most sales.
Direct Mail Makes a Major Comeback
We know that people spent more time at home last year – a lot more. This gave them ample time to browse through their direct mail and connect with brands in a way they hadn’t before. Although different forms of direct mail can be beneficial, we are seeing an increase in lower-cost direct mail options. Postcards saw the highest usage to get brand messaging across in a cost-effective way, last month the post office expanded the definition of what qualifies as a postcard to include 6x9 pieces. Engaging the prospect with more powerful messaging and less copy, these direct marketing pieces work harder and deliver a higher response rate – all with a lower price tag.
All in all, direct mail often reaches audiences that digital channels don’t. Standout design, compelling copy, and unique shapes and formats can still create a lasting impression. You’d be surprised how often direct mail pieces are saved for later reference. It’s easier to hit delete on a message in your inbox than throw out a tangible item you may need in the future.
Digital + Mail = Results
When creating direct mail campaigns, smart direct marketing professionals use QR codes as interaction tools to promote sales, gather information, or provide targeted information. PURLs (personalized URLs) and email links can tie your campaign initiatives together neatly with triggered emails and landing pages and can be tracked within each step of the mail stream. Test mailings against one another and get detailed reporting for real data on success rates and conversion, proving ROI.
Digital ad spending increased as well. So much more that it surpassed offline/traditional advertising in 2020. The USPS Informed Delivery program has also developed a unique way of bringing the best of direct mail and digital ads together in a synergistic way. Targeted links are accompanied by “ride-along” ad images that appear in a user’s inbox when subscribed to the service. Reports can give a detailed view of who got the ad, who opened it, and who clicked it.
Direct mail is also creating deeper relationships by recruiting social media connections and reinforcing online efforts. Tracking new followers based on mail delivery can give you a good idea as to how well your piece is performing.
Verify Target Audiences
As a result of real estate shifts across major cities, your audience may have made the switch to a more suburban environment. If your lists are geographically targeted, this may mean a huge gap in your current data. Scrub your direct marketing lists and keep them accurate with updated geographical information to receive the most accurate reporting data. Keep your mailing lists up to date by taking advantage of the USPS Address Change Service programs.
Customize, Personalize, and Incentivize
Clear statistics are a critical piece to building consumer profiles and using the profiles for customized content and often make all the difference in reaching your prospects. By connecting your customers with what they truly care about, you build trust and encourage them to take the next step in the marketing funnel. Add in a discount or coupon, and the conversion rate becomes higher. E-books, checklists, and user preferences all create a more defined way of developing content that is specific to the user.
Creating a strong brand image still weighs heavily in a world where image is everything. Podcasts, video tutorials, blogs, and other content that provides long-term value for the user translates as trustworthy communication. Content that educates rather than pushes a “hard-sell” proves more successful, and material that provides convenience resonates more than a high-pressure sales pitch.
More than anything, people have the desire to connect and feel good about their purchases. Therefore, storytelling is such a powerful way to promote your product or service. Explaining how your product solved a problem creates an emotional trigger, leading to a full cart upon checkout or a phone call asking about your service.
Be Agile - Experiment, Measure, and Improve
Along with the strategies mentioned, an overall lesson learned in the past year is that agility is paramount. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches to see what works for your business. Even if you’ve never written an eBook or blog, or created a podcast, what you don’t try won’t succeed. Continue to experiment and test campaigns against each other, while measuring response and making improvements along the way. Because what works today may not work tomorrow, it’s crucial that you try new tactics and apply them when your current strategies stop working.
SnailWorks has built success for its clients by measuring, refining, and enhancing their direct marketing efforts. Designed to tie a spectrum of marketing channels into an easy, user-friendly platform, SnailWorks provides simple and powerful reporting that increases effectiveness. Contact us today to see how we can boost your direct mail response via multi-channel marketing.