Wednesday, March 11 2009
As consumers move their media preferences toward customized, one-to-one vehicles such as iPods, satellite radio and TiVO, marketers are challenged in managing multi-channel messaging opportunities, according to direct marketing experts at Pitney Bowes. As spam is auto-dumped from personal computers, traditional mail has regained and maintained a great deal of relevance, usefulness and profit potential in the marketing mix.TheWiseMarketer.com).
According to the Cable & Telecommunications Association, 70% of American consumers prefer to receive advertisements and promotions by mail. Letters, including transactional mail, constitute a US$36 billion dollar industry in the US alone, and the entire global mailing industry - including shipping packages - tops some US$900 billion.
According to John Schloff, vice president of marketing for Pitney Bowes Document Messaging Technologies, mailstream marketing - the direct mailing of marketing materials that lead to other channels - is arguably the fastest way to optimize both B2B and B2C customer communications management. Printed mail, whether postcards, letters, catalogues or brochures, can all be used as catalysts to drive web site traffic.
Proper customer communication management is necessary for effective one-to-one marketing with mixed media that merges digital and physical channels. Direct mail today already comprises data-rich systems and processes that provide mailers with options for making their customer, production and channel intelligence more comprehensive and more precise than ever before.
Brands that use the traditional mail channel have a particular taste for highly personalized, relevant marketing to current clients. Financial statements, mortgage bills, credit card statements, insurance premiums, even drivers' license renewal forms, all arrive directly through the consumer's front door to deliver timely and useful information.
Five Direct Mailing Best Practices To Optimize Mailstream Marketing Efforts
1. Leverage customer intelligence
Use your data intelligently to create more personalized messages that enable cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, and to ultimately foster customer loyalty.
2. Deliver only relevant communications
Your message is traveling with an important personal document (e.g. a bank statement, or an insurance policy's explanation of benefits). Be respectful of the medium by keeping the marketing message aligned with the purpose of the document. In addition to content alignment, a relevant document is always accurate.
3. Apply the highest data quality practices
The shortest route to the waste basket is a wrong address or a misspelled name.
4. Mandate the highest mailing accuracy and integrity
... especially with personalized transactional mail and inserts. Misdirected mail can put customers off the brand completely. The wrong marketing message - or worse, the wrong personal document to the wrong person - is a far greater problem than just creating a bad impression.
5. Practice event marketing
Be opportunistic about events in your target customer's life such as birthdays, graduations, home moves, weddings and births. Sending helpful promotions around life events can create close connections with customers.
What emails yield the highest open rates, and which are relevant to your campaigns success?
Let's begin by addressing the "Open".
It's not enough to get the email solicitation (for lack of a better word... perhaps informational piece? Nah.. we all know it's a solicitation...
Any email deployment company can promise high open rates, but if they aren't opening the message for the right reason it will yield limited results. We have tested this time and again.
Example Market Test:
We deploy an email campaign with the subject line: "What do you think of Candi's new Bikini?", and yield an impressive 15% track-able open rate. Not bad ... if that's my only goal... We'll call that subject line "A".
We launch another email to the same business prospect list, this time with the subject line "B"; "Dealers add profit with Security System Installs". "B" yields a mere 2.5% open rate... but wait...
Now you may think the first subject line is the way to go, however let me share further results...
Test Subject line "A" received 5 click-throughs to the landing page with further details and order options.
Test Subject line "B" received 200 click-throughs to the landing page with further details and order options
The question is.. what are we trying to sell? Security Systems? or "Pictures of girls in Bikinis"...
Which yielded the best return?....
The fact is, "it's not all about open rates"... It's about relevancy. Now.., what could we do with the contact records of those who "Opened" our email based on a relevant Subject Line?.... We now know they are in the market or have a need or interest in what we have to offer, based on the fact that they opened, our relevant subject line... and what could we do with the contact records... the knowledge of which business prospect took further action; i.e. clicked through, based on that 'relevant" subject line?
This leads me to the final word in my headline...'initially"... Once an email is opened based on a relevant subject line....action was taken (click through), the highest yielding "OPEN", on an outbound email marketing lead generating initiative is the "follow-up" email to those recipients who opened and read your initial email based on a relevant subject line. We've seen anywhere from 35% clear up to 65% open rates on follow up letters... Now how could this change your prospecting efforts?