Direct mail strategy is to reach as many people as possible that have a need or desire for your product or service.
But when you want to increase your response rate and elevate your direct mail campaign performance, personalization is the best and most common strategy—especially if you’re trying to reach a target audience of customers who have bought from you before.
To Spend or Not to Spend the Extra Campaign $’s
Before undertaking a personalized campaign, though, there’s one point you must understand, Personalization comes with a higher price tag. As a result, you have to evaluate your acquisition cost [your cost per thousand pieces mailed (CPM)] then ask yourself whether your intended result from the list of people you want to contact warrants that cost.
If you’re committed to a personalized campaign, that higher price typically means you’ll take a middle ground approach and opt to personalize only some campaign components and allow a lot of elements to stay generic. So, while you’ll likely personalize your salutation, you’ll keep the images and the information in the body copy static.
For example, in the nonprofit world, when writing to a former customer or donor, you’ll likely want to create some personalized copy around a call to action in your PS, referencing their last purchase or last gift and upping your ask string by about 10%.
High Speed Inkjet Printer a Game Changer
This middle ground approach is a good tactic for small print runs on digital printers. In the past, the traditional digital press had limitations due to cost per piece for high volume printing but developments with high-speed inkjet printers have saved the day for personalization, making print run cost increases minimal, and keeping prices fairly well contained. Ink jets can move as fast and offset variable imaging capabilities like the digital but at less cost.
Overall Amazing Tech Development Increases Personalization
The high-speed inkjet printer may be the biggest technology development to date. Yet the overall rollout of new tech has increased personalization 10-fold in incredible ways. Here are a few:
Mapping Software – Tools like office mapping software can create data that prints the address of the recipient and includes a map that shows the addressee’s proximity to a business. It’s a really cool function that’s used by some national companies and large health providers to elevate their campaigns.
Personalized QR Codes – What’s more, data can be stored to create personalized QR ink codes that can link to a personalized landing page for every single recipient. With sufficient storage in a data file to reference 2000 mailing list QR codes, this development has largely replaced the personalized urls that included recipients’ names.
Variable Data Printing – Variable data printing (VDP) enables you to place personalized variable images to custom ask strings. For example, if you’re a cruise company you have a customer data file that can personalize the mailing to show a photo of the last cruise ship you traveled on, thus enticing you to take another cruise.
Personalized Reference Codes for Special Offers – Ink Jet Technology enables a personalized reference code on the back panel of a mailing that corresponds to your customer’s address and references a landing page that communicates a particular customer’s special offer.
Data Is Your First Checkpoint
These developments provide tremendous opportunities for you to market your business. But one important point you cannot overlook is data hygiene. If your data is not clean, you won’t be able to reference individual recipients and “talk” to them to add personalization. In fact, you’ll handcuff your overall campaign if you’re a business or nonprofit that hasn’t had the capacity to collect and clean your data.
Helping Hand of a Direct Mail Partner
For smaller shops that lack the experience or staff resources, it’s difficult to take on data processing which makes the case to seek out a direct mail partner. Direct Mail Firms like Ballantine ensure their clients data security—a compliance imperative that maintains data secure links when sharing customer and donor files.
Our track record in direct mail and our knowledge of the industry enables us to help you carry out your campaign with effective personalization. We can also introduce you to new ideas, powerful technology and the right vendors that can up your direct mail ROI.
Give us a call and explore the personalized marketing opportunities available to you.
I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!