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3 Ways to Use Direct Mail Postcards for Building Leads

September 2, 2013

Direct mail isn’t what it used to be—boring and impersonal. Thanks to digital printing capabilities, new marketing technologies like QR codes, and an integrated multi-channel approach, direct mail today can be interactive and meaningful. As a result, marketers are recognizing this medium as a critical part of lead-generation campaigns.

Here are three ways savvy marketers are using direct mail to build, qualify and nurture leads while saving time and money.

Spreading the Word Offline to Get People Online

Social Media PostcardBusinesses are quickly starting to realize that social media marketing is not a passing trend but a valuable way to find prospects and nurture leads. Participating in conversations with consumers online is now a necessity for influencing the public’s perception of brand and their purchasing behavior.

With this in mind, how do marketers capture the attention of new prospects that aren’t already online and get them to join the conversation? They use targeted direct mail to drive new leads to websites and social networking profiles.

Use direct mail to:

  • Announce a webinar, whitepaper, online social event or contest
  • Direct consumers to a downloadable coupon, available in exchange for data
  • Inform consumers about a website, blog or a social media profile
  • Say “hello” to existing clients and ask them to provide feedback through online platforms such as Twitter, Yelp, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Promote participation in surveys that allow marketers to learn more about their client’s needs and fine tune future campaigns, products and services based on feedback

Once prospects are online, marketers can use eNewsletters, videos, social networking, etc. to nurture them.

Using Direct Mail and Multi-Channel Marketing to Pre-Qualify Leads

One of the challenges in many lead-generation campaigns is getting more consumer data, not only for follow-up efforts, but also to determine if the respondent has the right elements to be considered as an optimal lead. By including compelling, actionable promotional offers such as coupons, whitepaper downloads, or free service consultations on direct mail pieces, marketers can succeed in increasing campaign response rates and obtaining more information about a potential lead.

A study conducted by Coupons, Inc. noted that more than 70% of users would provide basic information about themselves like email address, first and last name, and would even answer survey questions, all for a $2 coupon. This same principle applies for B2B marketers that care to offer prospects a whitepaper or valuable information in exchange for more data.

An Affordable Way to Stay in Front of Prospects

Many books used to teach marketing suggest that it takes anywhere between seven to 12 impressions, or touches, to forge memory of a message and/or to motivate action. Of course, that range is debatable—especially in today’s highly saturated and media-rich environment. Arguments can also be made as to effect based on the quality of touches. Therefore, many marketers are turning to a new strategy of assigning a point system to different interactions, or touchpoints. I found a great explanation of this method from Greg on LinkedIn:

First of all, a series of impressions must be made within a repeatable time frame. In fact, the more predictable the frequency, the more the impression creates impact. Time between impressions should not exceed approximately one month, unless the impression is a powerful one.

In one business, we could very reliably predict when a customer would buy based on a point system for impressions. The goal was to get to 36 points.

--A warm email counted as 1 point

--A personal card counted as 2 points

--A highly targeted direct mail piece… was worth 3-6

--An item of value might have a range; but, typically we used 6 points

--A face-to-face meeting at a gathering is 6 points, and a face-to-face 10

There is nothing wrong with going for one big impression, win or lose, in some cases. I sent a prospect on a vacation once; that left an impression, let me tell ya.

The exact points don't really matter. If you're playing a numbers game, one simply needs to understand that you can make either—many small impressions, several moderate impressions, or one gigantic impression—and achieve success.

Well thought out direct mail pieces that are part of a consistent string of communications DO get noticed by prospects and leads. Here are some ways to pepper direct mail postcards into your lead-generation campaigns:

  • Use direct mail as a primer before emailing or calling a prospect. This will not only give the recipient a heads up, it can also serve as a talking point to help ease into conversation.
  • Send a personalized postcard to a prospect directly following a call thanking them for their time. Digital printing allows a marketer to create and mail a one-of-a-kind, personalized piece within a matter of minutes.
  • Use AutoMail to schedule monthly, quarterly, or yearly direct mail touchpoints in advance. Automation helps to relieve pressure on busy marketers and ensure no prospect is left behind.
  • Pre-schedule birthday messages, communications that mark major holidays, or other general events.

Need more examples? See how QuantumDigital used direct mail as part of an integrated, multi-touch campaign that led to a 51% response rate AND conversion of prospects into leads into actual business.