True Personalization in Direct Mail
Personalization is defined by the marketing software company Emarsys as the “implementation of a strategy by which companies deliver individualized content to recipients through data collection, analysis, and the use of automation technology.”
Marketers are calling 2018 “the year of personalization” -- in fact, in 2017, 96 percent of marketers said that they believe personalization helps advance relationships with customers. Consumers themselves have supported this notion -- in 2015, 56 percent of consumers said they would rather buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, and 58 percent would rather buy from a retailer that recommends options based on past purchases. More recently, in a 2017 Epsilon study, 80 percent of consumers said they would be more likely to do business with a company if the company offered personalized experiences.
In a lot of marketing strategies, personalization means incorporating elements such as addressing a person by their individual name (particularly in email and direct mail marketing) and recommending a product based on past purchase behavior. You know the ones:
This type of personalization has become the gold standard. And it does work.
But here’s the truth: most people know that organizations send marketing materials to a group of people en mass, and offers and incentives are rarely individualized. Simply using automated tools to insert a person’s name in the greeting doesn’t go far enough.
Modern personalization has to take it a step further. And it doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s all about taking marketing back to the only reason why marketing has ever really worked… creating an authentic sense of connection between an individual and a brand.
We’d argue that being relevant, useful and authentic to your audience is at the core of modern personalization. And direct mail, in particular, is uniquely suited to take full advantage of that opportunity. Don’t get us wrong -- you should definitely be using your customer’s name in the copy of your direct mail piece -- but there are other ways to personalize that may build a more solid relationship with your audience.
Consumers engage with direct mail in a different way than they do with any other marketing method. In 2017, the Data and Marketing Association reported that the direct mail household response rate was 5.1 percent — compared to a 0.6 percent response rate each for email and for paid search, and a 0.4 percent response rate for social media. There’s something about direct mail that is uniquely compelling and resonant. It’s making its way directly into the home of your audience. Utilize that fact and consider how to take the consumer expectation of personalization to a higher level than the standard.
Personalization should begin and end with knowing your audience. If a mailer is distributed with a personalized name but no other unique differentiation or message, it’s likely not going to resonate on a personal level with the individual members of your audience - and will therefore not be as effective as it could be.
Segment your audience based on past behavior and align the copy, offer, or call to action to reflect each person’s unique experience with your business or organization. For example, nonprofits could segment donors into “Recent Donors” and “Donors That Haven’t Given in a Year or More.” Recent donors could receive a mailer with copy that thanks them for their donation and includes statistics about the impact of their gift. Less recent donors could receive something that elicits more emotion—like a postcard with a compelling photo and story of a person that has been aided by your nonprofit, who has experienced change in their lives—along with copy like “Your Donation Makes a Difference.”
Dividing up your audience in this way helps ensure that each person is receiving the message that will personally motivate action.
You should always attempt to provide value to your customers and constituents before asking them for anything. This builds trust and makes your audience more likely to respond in the future. If you run a small market that sells health foods, for example, you could send the people in your area a brochure of timely recipes (using your products, of course) at the start of a new season. If you’re a career coach, send out a mailer with a link to a video of you giving three actionable tips for career success.
It’s that simple: ensure that customers are familiar with your business as a useful resource before asking them to spend money (or visit your store, or join your loyalty program).
Customers are desensitized to robot-writing. A postcard blasted to your entire audience with bland, impersonal copy causes them to lose trust — because, again, consumers are aware that they’re not the only person receiving your mailer. And they’re ok with that. But authentic, honest copy will delight them and increase their feeling of personal connection towards your business or organization.
Determine a consistent voice for your company and then stick to it. Make it distinguishable. Write in a sincere, conversational way. Write like a human. Don’t be afraid to be straightforward with your audience while talking to them like people. They will trust you for it.
True personalization means remembering your audience as the individual people they are. Use these strategies in your next mailer and you’ll attract an audience that trusts you and feels like you’re talking only to them, in a useful and real way — which is what this personalization thing has always been about.
Once you’ve created the perfect authentic and useful mailer, QuantumPostcards can help you easily and efficiently deliver mail to customers with a streamlined postcard service. We make it simple to plan an entire campaign, from finalizing your mailing list, designing your mailer and sending it out —all with next-day business turnaround. Visit here to learn more about our postcard service, and upload your next mail piece today so it’s in the mailstream to your audience tomorrow.