Look Here! Technology and Personalization for Improving Direct Mail Response Rates

Personalization. It’s a buzzword you hear time and time again from marketers and those in the printing industry.

What does that word even mean? Does it mean simply slapping a person’s name on a piece of mail and hoping that it boosts your response rates into the teens? Would that make you any more likely to act on an offer you receive?

Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

Personalization is so much more than just featuring someone’s name in a unique font or as the focal point of the communication they’re receiving from your brand. It’s taking what you know about an individual, such as a consumer’s name, a product space, or a geographical location, and using it within your direct mail piece. With today’s technologies, there’s no shortage of options.

Custom Imagery Creates Relevance

Say you are working to build brand loyalty for a hotel. What better way to make your communications relevant to a recipient than by using imagery that reflects his or her upcoming destination? You wouldn’t see the same flowers in Florida as you would in Hawaii. Play that up!

Or take some inspiration from a campaign created by Lowe Roche for a Porsche dealer in Toronto, Pfaff Auto. They created a direct mail piece that featured a brand new Porsche sitting in the mail recipient’s driveway. The campaign generated a 32% response rate! Learn more about the campaign in this video.

Need Help Getting Data? Let Me Introduce You to Custom URLs

The effectiveness of personalized communications is only as good as the data you use. But what if you don’t have any data, or simply don’t know where to begin with the data you do have?

Custom URLs (also known as personalized URLs, or PURLs) are an excellent way to gather the information you want to know on consumers.

PURLs bridge the gap between your printed piece and the web. They allow you to personalize online images and copy to each mail recipient, and even prepopulate forms with information you already know, such as name and email address. By prepopulating the form, it takes less time for the recipient to respond.

Less time to respond = a boost in your response rates.
It can also help you cleanse your database. In addition, you can deploy email communications based on a recipient’s activity or inactivity. Jane Doe hasn’t responded to her direct mail piece? Send her a reminder email that the opportunity is almost over. Give your mail recipients the chance to respond in the medium that is most relevant to them.

All this data would be a lot more helpful if a member of your sales team could access it quickly, wouldn’t it? You can also send all form responses to a prospect’s sales representative (or even a call center rep) to make sure the inquiry is followed up promptly. Beyond being an excellent engagement tool, PURLs enable you to track your direct mail efforts. In addition to knowing how many people showed interest in your campaign, you know exactly who showed interest in your campaign. Monitored over time, this can reveal new opportunities to expand your relationship with targets.

This is Great, But Why Should I Be Personalizing?

Personalizing makes your message about more than just you. It makes it about the person who matters – the consumer.

A lot of brands are already segmenting. They understand the value behind getting to know what their customers want and catering their communications to a group of like-minded targets.

Personalization is segmentation on steroids. While complex, there are so many tools in place today to make the customization of messaging a smoother process than ever before. When you take a piece of mail and make it relevant to someone, you’re building an emotional connection with that recipient, and emotional connections evoke response. Personalized campaigns that are done well not only help to harvest these strong connections, but they also help you boost response rates, and ultimately drive your bottom-line.

The real question isn’t why should you be personalizing; it’s why aren’t you personalizing?