Maximize Direct Mail Throughout the Buyer Journey

Buyer Journey Image

Direct mail is more than just a top of the funnel marketing strategy. The physical media has the power to influence purchase intent and drive response rates 9x higher than digital advertisements. Recognizing its significance in the marketing mix, many brands use direct mail to enhance the customer experience and optimize interactions in multiple stages of the sales funnel.

Each organization’s journey map is specific to their business and customers, with varying lengths and stages. Yet despite the subtle differences, the goal of each stage is the same -- move your prospects one step closer to conversion. In this article, we will demonstrate how you can maximize direct mail throughout the buyer journey.

Awareness

In the first stage of the journey, your prospect is looking for a solution to a specific problem they are experiencing. Maybe they feel something is simply missing from their lives, they are anticipating a lifestyle change, or they have found themselves in an unexpected dilemma. It is also a chance for you to introduce a problem or opportunity the consumer has not subconsciously considered or previously recognized. As your prospect begins to recognize their need and search for an answer, it is essential your brand is positioned as the solution.

Direct mail is a popular media in awareness campaigns because you can introduce your audience to your organization with informational messaging that speaks to their specific pain point or unconscious desire. By speaking their language and appearing in their lives at the right time, you immediately show them you understand their need while educating them on the products and services that are available to help. Brand recall is proven to be 70% higher when consumers are exposed to direct mail. Send your prospects a piece of mail early in the journey to prime your brand for the sale when they are ready to buy.  

The foundation for awareness campaigns are trigger and predictive modeling mailings. Trigger mailings are “triggered” by a variety of events, such as a recent purchase, social media or web action, or lifestyle change (new home, new baby, divorce, etc.). Predictive modeling mailings are sent to a hyper-targeted audience that was modeled after your key customer insights and data resources. The demographic and behavioral data used to build your list ensures your message is relevant and appropriate for each prospect. Zip saturation strategy is also common to zone in on residents that match your customer profiles, particularly if you’re mailing in support of a particular brick-and-mortar business or event.

Pardot research shows 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a prospect contacts an organization, so invite your offline prospects online with mobile friendly QR codes, AI or PURLs to learn more. Relatable storytelling and interactive design elements can also stimulate a memorable experience.

Activating your offline mailing list to target the same prospects online can improve your campaign response rates by as much as 120%. With a synchronized digital strategy, you can serve your prospects cohesive advertisements via email, social media, online display, video, and even CTV — before, during and after your direct mail in-home window. This integrated strategy will increase your brand awareness, improve campaign performance, and reduce your CPAs.

Consideration

During the consideration stage, your prospect is ready to engage with you. They have eliminated the brands who do not meet their needs and identified only a handful of front runners to research further. Use your mail piece to give your brand the competitive edge and move your audience closer to conversion.

There is a strong probability your prospect has already engaged with you digitally during stage one. Use a direct mail campaign to nurture those leads further into their journey with an offline retargeting strategy in stage two. With pixel to postal technology, you can turn your anonymous web traffic into postal address leads. Reverse-append capabilities allow you to complete fragmented customer profiles with mailing information, even if you only have email addresses or phone numbers on file. Re-engagement strategies for cart abandoners or former customers are also successful during the consideration stage.

Your creative package must leave a great impression when your prospects are the fence. Leveraging variable printing data (VPD) to include personalized elements such as text, colors or images can increase response rates by 135%. Offering free demos, product trials or samples separates your brand from the competition and allows your prospects to experience what it is like to work with you (without a formal or financial commitment).

Decision

In the decision stage, the buyer has chosen a solution and is ready to purchase. They have a thorough understanding of your brand, your product, and your solution, and what separates you from the competition. Make it incredibly easy for them to click “add to cart” by validating their decision to choose you.

Humans naturally prefer the path of least resistance, so use your mail piece to confirm your expertise and the value you provide. Incorporate social proof such as customer testimonials or product reviews in your package to demonstrate your credibility. Lead with an irresistible offer. Make conversion simple with clear and actionable CTAs and consider phrases such as “buy now” or “limited time” to create a sense of urgency. Integrate your e-commerce process for a smooth and cohesive transition between online and offline environments.

Retention

Although the last stage of the buyer journey, some consider this the most critical. You are 70% more likely to sell to an existing customer than to a new one, and repeat customers are also more profitable. Now that you have successfully moved your prospect to a customer, use direct mail to establish brand affinity with a strong retention program.

A consistent cadence is key to keep your brand top of mind, especially with a newly acquired customer base. Segment your CRM to ensure your messaging is personalized and relevant to each audience group. Reward customer loyalty with exclusive offers, personalized thank you notes or triggered mailings to celebrate birthdays and holidays. Encourage feedback on their experience with a coupon or discount code once surveys are completed. Create opportunities to upgrade, expand product use or suggest new products with cross-sell and upsell mailings based on previous purchases. And lastly, use product launch announcements or client testimonials to encourage lost customers to try you again.

 

Direct mail is a perfect example of how brand marketing and direct marketing can work in tandem to build awareness and drive conversions in one fell swoop. Whether your goal is to acquire new customers or retain existing relationships, partnering with a direct response agency ensures you can develop a performing program to efficiently maximize direct mail throughout the buyer journey. Download this free e-book to learn more about direct marketing best practices, or contact us today.