Direct Marketers are invariably searching for the best medium to attract customers. This is coupled with tight marketing budgets. To help businesses compete and see that direct mail is still a powerful marketing channel, we approached local businesses by sending out a personalized letter with an offer and industry tips. We decided test the responsiveness of personalized direct mail to email and came up with some surprising results.
The Republican controlled House of Representatives followed Senate Democrats recently in passing a government-funding bill through the end of the fiscal year. In so doing, they rejected efforts by the beleaguered Post Office to cancel Saturday deliveries as a cost saving measure. The wording of the enabling legislation requires that the postal service continue to offer six days of delivery each week.
Direct marketers, who have been following these developments closely, welcomed the news. Despite the trend towards digitalization and email, marketers view the delivery of direct mail as an important component of any advertising campaign.
Ohio-based shoe retailer, Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) has conducted studies that seek to measure the efficacy of direct mail offerings as opposed to digital offerings. They have found that receiving a personalized offering can be the difference between a customer acting on the offer or discarding it.
Birthdays are an excellent opportunity for effectively connecting with loyal customers on a personal level. DSW mails a personalized birthday postcard to all of its twenty million reward members. The company offers customers $5 or $10 off on a purchase during the month of their birthday. “A customer may love getting an email from us for fashion tips or to let them know about a triple points offer, but their birthday is different,” says Kelly Cook, SVP of marketing at DSW.
The company has tested sending birthday coupons, via email, but these didn’t perform as well as the direct mail pieces. “Direct mail provides beauty,” Cook says. “It’s much more elegant to get something in the mail that you open up. It can be more emotional.” The United States Postal Service appears to be in agreement. Recent studies by the USPS estimate that as many as 55 percent of people are eager to read their physical mail. Addressing them by name can only enhance the experience and ultimately increase campaign conversion rate.
We recently sent out a personalized letter to potential businesses offering a 20% discount on first time list orders. In addition the letter displayed tips on pinpointing target audiences, the best way to capture the attention of clients, and how to save on money on printing and postage. We also sent out an email campaign with the same criteria. Our direct mail campaign saw seven times the response rate of the email blast sent to the same selection set.
Direct mail has dozens of perks that digital marketing cannot accommodate. Direct mail will not be blocked by spam filters, it will not give you a virus, and it will not steal your identity. Regardless of how you dress up email, it will never be as personal as physical mail. Personalization is something highly difficult to convey through any electronic medium. Humans by nature pay attention to attention. We relish exclusiveness and appreciate thoughtful gestures. This is why our direct mail campaign dramatically trumped all email efforts and will continue to do so in the future.
What successes have you had with personalized direct mail?