personalize direct marketing

Today’s marketing has many facets. Some companies employ an in-house marketing department, while others outsource all marketing efforts. Many will chase technology in an effort to provide the latest and greatest digital marketing techniques, and still more rely on time-tested tactics like direct mail marketing. However your company reaches customers, one thing is clear: Nothing is as effective as personalized, customized content.

Consumers report that personalized ads are more engaging and memorable—not to mention, they save time and money. When ads specifically target buyers according to individual preferences, those materials are less likely to be ignored or discarded. To that end, many marketers have adopted digital marketing strategies and forego direct mail completely in an effort to save even more money and resources.

The problem is that digital marketing on its own just isn’t as effective as some other marketing tactics. You will see results, of course, because of the ability to personalize your message. However, all types of direct mail achieve better responses than email, display ads, and paid searches. In fact, the only form of marketing that sees better results that direct mail is still the telephone.

So, how can you harness the power of personalization while achieving the results of direct mail? Here’s a step-by-step list.

Collect Data

Words like “collect data” sound cold and impersonal, but they are paramount to the personalization process. Before you can personalize anything, you need to get to know your customers. Any interaction you have—whether it’s a response to one of your digital marketing campaigns, a purchase they made in the past, or the pages they have visited on your website—should be noted.

The collection of data doesn’t just happen in an instant, either. This requires commitment from you, the marketer, to truly build a relationship with your customers. Just as you do not learn everything about someone on a first date, so will you need to take your time gathering information on your buyers.

Segment Mailing Lists

As you gather more information about your customers, you must segment your mailing list. Keep in mind; segmentation is so much more than separating according to gender, age, or location. There are literally dozens of ways you can segment your mailing list to make sure your customers get the information they want to see.

In addition to the usual segmentation, consider addressing your customers according to their education, household income, and interest levels. You can also provide different information to buyers according to where they are in the buying cycle. Customers who have not yet engaged with your company should not see the same mail your loyal customers receive, right? This is the importance of mailing list segmentation, but far too many either ignore or are unaware of the impact on their marketing efforts.

Variable Data Printing

Once you have the information you need to segment your mailing list, you will need to rely on variable data printing to make sure the right messages reach the correct customers in the most cost-efficient way possible. Variable data printing allows for mass customization of your marketing materials. In other words: The more you make the direct mail piece about that particular prospect, the greater the likelihood they will buy from you.

Customers who have visited particular pages on your website or shown increased interest in certain services will receive direct mail that targets what they have shown interest in and their position in the buying cycle. This means quite a few things for you, the marketer. First, because the message is relevant, buyers are less likely to ignore it. Second, mail that reaches buyers won’t find the garbage can, which means less waste—of your money, time, and resources. Finally, when your marketing is timely, you’ll see increased conversions.

With these tips, you can revolutionize your direct mail marketing campaigns. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll continue building powerful relationships with your customers, and building relationships is what your marketing should really be about.