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Direct mail marketing: how to choose your recipients

We live in an era of digital marketing. The webpages we visit, the apps we use and the online content we consume is invariably presented alongside ads, marketing messages and various calls to action. Digital marketing is comparatively inexpensive, so most brands aren’t overly concerned about its success rate – if you aren’t spending a great deal of money on digital marketing, it doesn’t matter if only a handful of recipients act on it. Despite the growth of digital marketing, however, traditional marketing methods such as targeted direct mail marketing remain as popular and effective as ever – arguably more so. 2013 statistics from centralmailing.co.uk reveal that 70% of recipients like to receive direct mail rewarding them for their loyalty, while 62% like to hear of new offers. These are impressive figures, but if you are to make the most of direct mail marketing then you need to accurately identify the most appropriate recipients for your forthcoming campaigns.

Using data

It is possible to use a scattergun approach when direct mail marketing, but such an approach is highly unlikely to provide you with the best return on your investment. If you send out marketing materials willy-nilly, response rates are likely to be low and you’ll have wasted a significant amount of money on print and mail costs. To receive the best return on your direct mail investment it’s important to use data to identify the most susceptible recipients.

Data can be sourced in a number of different ways:

• Point-of-sale data. Gather customer details at the till when you process face-to-face transactions. Persuade customers to sign up for offers and promotions, and use this information to target customers with direct mail campaigns based on their purchase history.

• Online purchase data. Ecommerce is a great way of tracking customer purchase histories and determining whether or not they’d respond well to direct mail marketing campaigns. Consider loyalty incentives to reward regular shoppers and big spenders.

• Purchased mailing lists. Numerous online bands and agencies offer mailing lists of existing customers, saving you the hassle of gathering the data yourself. However, be aware that customers contacted through these mailing lists are unlikely to have the brand loyalty of those you’ve gathered yourself.

Identifying recipients

Being in possession of a list of previous customers doesn’t give you carte blanche to contact them all with direct mail marketing materials, however. It’s important to pick through the data at your disposal to identify the most susceptible recipients if you are to experience the most significant return on your investment.

Look out for some of the following variables:

• Repeat purchases. If some of the customers in your database shop with your brand regularly, chances are they have a good relationship with your company. These are the customers you want to target with loyalty promotions and incentives – this will increase brand loyalty and encourage them to use your company again in future.

• One-off purchases. Those who make one-off purchases aren’t necessarily immune to direct mail marketing. If they shopped with your brand once then they might well wish to do so again – consider sending them offers and promotions, or news of product releases you think they might like.

• Sale purchases. Some customers are bargain hunters, only shopping with certain brands when they can make the most of offers and promotions. Use your database to identify these groups, and temp them with new offers. Who knows – they might grow to love your products and services so much that they’ll buy them at full price in future!

• Product categories. Consider the product categories your customers chose to shop in. If they only ever buy homeware products from your company, it probably isn’t worth sending them your latest clothing catalogue. However, if you’re holding a sale on homeware products, they should be the first to know.

Identifying the right recipients for your forthcoming direct mail marketing campaigns is only one consideration you’ll need to make. Strong print design can help to ensure that your direct mail campaigns are as effective as possible, while clever print management will help you to manage costs and timeframes. Contact PMG today for more information.

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