In the midst of uncertain times, establishing trust with consumers and potential customers is more important than ever before. Online channels for sales and marketers are nearing critical mass as the competition is fierce and spam is omnipresent. What can you do to stand out?
Fortunately, new technology enables sales and marketers to leverage the offline world with the speed and ease as digital. We put this guide together so you can better understand how direct mail and gifting can play such a significant role within existing sales and marketing strategies.
Unless you are an absolute guru in this area, chances are you will be able to take away at least one insight from this guide. So sit back, relax and get ready to see direct mail and gifting in an entirely new light.
Unlike LinkedIn, Twitter, texting, and even phone calls, direct mail is a channel of communication that predates the birth of our country. Yes, believe it or not, the legend himself, Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General in 1775.
Ever since, a vital part to the infrastructure of our country has been the mail. Even through the turbulent global climate of 2020, parcel and mail delivery services have been a crucial bond that has held our country together.
While delivery times have been delayed, they are still resuming to their normal cadence. Everyone from e-commerce giants to SMBs alike rely on delivery services to some magnitude.
As many of us were stuck at home through March and April, for some, the mailman was an essential source of well-being.
Simply going to the grocery store was a strife in itself and the lifeblood that continues to keep some of the most important resources flowing is well...the mail!
Direct Mail Marketing
As direct mail plays a fundamental role to the infrastructure of our country, it can also be a powerful marketing tool for B2C and B2B companies alike.
When compared to other channels of marketing, direct mail flourishes in some areas and comes close behind in others.
For instance, email will always win the ROI comparison because of how cheap it has become with automation. Yet direct mail provides unparalleled engagement compared to what most digital channels can offer.
The 2018 DMA Response Rate Report reported that direct mail's response rate is anywhere from 5-9 times higher than email. Additionally, the average open rate of direct mail comes in around three times higher than that of email.
As well as direct mail can perform alone, it's most effective when used in-tandem with a digital counterpart. Campaigns that use direct mail and digital ads conjointly have seen response rates up to 118% than those solely using direct mail.
Most companies already have framework and automation technology for digital strategies. The offline world, on the other hand, has been behind the curve when it comes to a centralized platform for managing communication. Now, direct mail and digital channels can be integrated and leveraged as a powerful duo.
To learn more about how direct mail and digital can be used in tandem, here's our infographic that shows more insights on leveraging the duo.
B2B Direct Mail
While the mail certainly holds personal value to many of us, it's also been recently revived as a channel of communication for sales and marketing teams, especially for B2C companies.
How many times has a magazine or postcard magically appeared at your doorstep after filling in your information on a B2C website? It happens more than you realize.
B2B companies have reached critical mass with their digital strategies and are slowly starting to follow in this direction as well.
According to Xant, as of 2017, only 38.5% of B2B companies reported using direct mail, and 30% reported using it in prospecting activities. Traditionally, B2B organizations take 3-5 years to follow the B2C trends, so this number is likely on the rise.
Leveraging direct mail has other benefits as well. In a survey conducted by Marketing Sherpa of 1,200 consumers, print ads were deemed the most trustworthy channel of communication when making a purchase decision. Trust is a huge component of B2B sales with every deal involving an average of 6.8 stakeholders.
Sales teams must be able to establish trust within these buying committees, and doing so with direct mail and gifting can be the ultimate differentiator.
Account-based marketing is another recent B2B trend that works in-conjunction with direct mail. Personalized communication is a proven way to increase engagement.
According to research conducted by Marketo, ABM strategies were able to generate up to 27% more sales revenue and achieve a 42% higher conversion rate. Direct mail and gifting can be the bread and butter for some ABM campaigns.
Furthermore, a Canada Post study found that direct mail takes 21% less cognitive effort to process than email.
Easier to process, tactile, more engaging, and just as personalized as digital channels...it all ties into better brand recall and association.
For more reasons on why B2B companies should consider direct mail, here's another one of our infographics that provides some additional data.
What Does “Automated Direct Mail" Mean?
Whether it's for personal use, B2C, or B2B, direct mail can flourish in many areas depending on the use case. As evident by the number of B2B companies using it, direct mail is still rather uncharted territory for most sales and marketing teams.
Until now, technology hasn't provided a platform for a company to easily manage all of their offline communication...but that has changed.
Sending postcards, gifts, and other pieces of mail has always been a time-consuming process, which is likely why many companies have refrained from using it.
But imagine if you could send hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of pieces of mail or gifts with just the click of a few buttons. Fulfillment, packaging, delivery and other logistics are all included as long as you provide a list of recipients and address information.
This is the concept of automated direct mail.
Digital channels have reached critical mass, and as competition increases, Experience Marketing can serve as an additional, trustworthy channel of communication for businesses to leverage.
This serves as the foundation of Postal's platform.
Our mission is to empower customers to create authentic connections efficiently.
At the highest level, outbound sales and marketing sequences are intended to build awareness with those who have never heard about your company.
While digital automation makes it so easy for companies to manage communication at the top of the funnel, the quality of the message isn't near as meaningful because everyone uses it.
An Epsilon survey found that 80% of respondents are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences. Instead of introducing yourself through an email or a LinkedIn message, consider using direct mail as part of your outbound strategy.
Direct mail and some gifts can add significant value at the top of the funnel within your existing sales and marketing workflows. Prospecting sequences or workflows can be greatly enhanced by including an offline element to compliment your digital strategies.
For instance, introductory postcards are a great way to create a meaningful first impressions. Keep the branding and designs concepts consistent with your digital strategies.
Don't limit your approach to solely introducing your company. You could introduce the problem you solve for, why you are reaching out, a customer success story, or maybe just something light-hearted that's guaranteed to catch your prospect's attention.
There's all kinds of use cases for leveraging direct mail at the top of the funnel.
Similarly, leveraging gifts when targeting high-value accounts can be another effective addition to your outbound strategy. Postal's gifting emails provide transparency into what you are sending and gives the recipient the option to accept or decline the gift before it's sent.
We also provide the option to donate to a multitude of charities, which is always a great option when your target may have no interest in receiving a gift. For instance, "We are willing to donate $20 to the charity of your choice for 20 minutes of your time".
When enough awareness is built, a prospect converts into a lead. This is the point where inbound sales and marketing should focus on a more educational strategy to convert that lead into a customer. Multichannel content marketing is a popular and effective way to accomplish this.
Direct mail and gifting can play into this as well.
One of our favorite mid-funnel mail pieces here at Postal is an informational brochure. Unlike our outbound material, this focuses more on the specifics of the solutions we provide. Instead of emailing your leads infographics, eBooks, blog posts, etc., look where you can condense this material to engage in the offline world.
An example of this would be a condensed case study brochure that tells a visual success story of one of your customers. Take the metrics which were improved the most and creatively arrange them to tell how you were able to make an impact.
A Royal Mail Report states that direct mail has an average lifespan of 17 days, as opposed to the average 2 second lifetime of an email. This ensures your content the chance to unintentionally reach others. Mailing to corporate addresses will give you an even greater chance of your mail piece being seen by others in the target buying committee.
Another way to leverage direct mail to convert leads is by sending a 'Thank You' note after conducting a demo or product walk-thru. While this can be done via email, you will express much more gratitude by sending a physical 'Thank You' card. If this lead were to convert, chances are their customer loyalty would be strong as a result.
Post-conversion, after successfully onboarding a customer, sending them a small 'Welcome' gift is a comparable way to build loyalty and establish trust. According to Adobe's Digital Trends Report, customer experience was found to be the most exciting business opportunity of 2020.
The use cases of automated direct mail for B2B companies extend wide and far. Yet when it comes to the actual pieces of mail being sent, nothing is more effective and practical than a postcard.
Additionally, according to a USPS study, roughly 52% of recipients read postcards.
In the Postal Marketplace, you can choose from 4x6 postcards, 8x6 notecards, and 15x7 brochures (we will continuously introduce new options). The postcards are available in 130 pound paper weight, while the larger notecards and brochures come in the 100 pound.
In case you were wondering, paper weight refers to how much 500 sheets of that particular size weights. For instance, 500 of our 4x6 postcards with a paper weight of 130 pounds, would weight almost exactly 130 pounds.
The thickness of postcards can translate into an increased perceived value of the message you are delivering.
The cost-effectiveness of postcard marketing is extremely discounted as well.
Each 4x6 postcard in the Postal Marketplace costs under a dollar for the satin or glossy finish. How much are you currently paying-per-click to advertise...$1, $3, maybe $10 or more? Postcard marketing offers a reasonable way to create highly personalized, targeted, and meaningful connections.
Alongside the cost-effectiveness of postcard marketing comes in a neurological effect that is overlooked as well. According to a Millward Brown Case Study, physical advertisements stimulate more emotional processing in the brain than digital advertisements, which is crucial for memory and brand association.
Because they're so easy to read, your message can make an even deeper impact when they're complimented with an eye-catching design.
The most effective postcard designs we've seen mirror brand parity with your digital content. We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, so if you figure out how to incorporate your message into the design, you may see even more success. But there's other components to design that can boost the effectiveness of your postcards as well.
We've all received that one mail piece that has no relevance to our interests at all. Make sure your design is geared towards your target audience before sending out a campaign. If you have to, use language that appeals to any demographic range.
Second to that, some postcards are way too over-cluttered with information that can deter recipients. Ensure your whitespace is used efficiently and don't repeat the same message in a visual manner.
Like many organizations do with email automation, A/B testing certain elements on your postcard is a great way to continue optimizing your design. Read our blog article about A/B testing if you need a refresher on this.
Another easy way to make your postcard design standout is by including a lead magnet. A promotional offer or free trial are easy ways to point the recipient back towards digital content. Q/R codes do the same thing in the sense of redirecting towards online content.
Headers and sub-headers should be used wisely because they're the first thing people tend to read. They should all tie into the primary message your postcard is conveying. Similarly, keep your language compelling and put in the time to ensure your tone is aligned with your message.
Corporate gifting can be a huge differentiator for B2B companies.
Like direct mail, gifts provide 1 to 1 engagement and a meaningful experience for the recipient. The best gifts will be the ones that are relevant, useful, and unique. According to Sales Hacker, gifts with a perceived value under $11 are the most likely to get thrown away.
The options for gifting should only be limited by your creativity. If you send something that reflects the message you aim to communicate, you'll be able to boost engagement tremendously and see more conversions.
Postal's Marketplace is continuously adapting with gifts from local businesses. If you don't see what you want, we're always open to suggestions. That being said, we try our best to make sure we offer gifts all customers love.
We'll dive into a few of our favorite gift ideas in the marketplace and why we like them so much.
Nothing is much easier to send than a gift card. They're so universal, they can be used to please nearly anyone, as long as you have a slight idea of what they're interested in.
Books are another great gift that can please a number of personas. The categories for books in the Postal Marketplace include self help, general business, marketing, leadership, and sales. Sharing knowledge with someone can be a great mid-funnel education tactic to show leads you want to help them with whatever they're facing.
What would corporate gifting be without some treats? We have everything from chocolates to fresh fruit baskets. Perishables are a great gift choice because the can be easily shared within office spaces.
Instead of giving something to someone, what about making a donation on their behalf? Postal's Marketplace includes the option to donate to a charity of the recipient's choice, which can be especially beneficial when your contact might be hard to gift for.
We also have a variety of electronics in the Postal Marketplace. Some items include Apple AirPods, JBL Clip 3 Speaker, Kindle Paperwhite, and Fire TV. For higher value targets, these items can sometimes be what it takes to drive that lead or prospect to the next conversion.
While gifting is a relatively easy technique to leverage, at Postal we believe it's less about the actual gift but more the timing of delivery. Personalization also plays a huge role in the effectiveness of gifting campaigns.
High Value Targets
Gifting in general can accelerate your business if you are looking for new ways to get high value targets through your sales funnel.
In one of our latest blog posts about defining ideal customer profiles, we discuss why you should continually adapt these profiles to ensure your approach is always growing into a more targeted process.
High value targets may require the most touches to move through your sales funnel and convert. Often times they're busy with other meetings and commitments. These people typically wear a C-suite title and hold key roles in the buying committee of your target account.
Sending postcards to this audience to break their digital monotony is an easy way to engage with this audience.
Leveraging gifts to engage with this audience may not always be the best tactic unless you have some inside knowledge on their personal interests. Charitable donations are in many cases a better option when you aim to interact with this audience.
Postal is the first Experience Marketing platform that serves as your system of record for all of these offline interactions.
After signing up, you can easily integrate your existing CRM, Sales Automation, and Marketing Automation platforms, creating data consistency and adding an offline element to your strategy.
Admins can also set user budgets, and design and approve all offline content and messaging for their team to use.
Users are then able to engage their contacts through personalized direct mail campaigns, gift/donation emails, or drip marketing playbooks in their own separate accounts. All activity records pull back to your integrations.
If you don’t have direct mail designed already, the Postal design editor enables you to create your own direct mail designs with mail merge technology to personalize the text.
To help with work from home deliveries, Postal will send an address verification email that collects address information to complete the delivery of the direct mail piece.
Postal’s AI handwriting turns real handwriting into a font that can be used in the system to create an even more eye-catching effect.
The "Postal Anywhere" Chrome extension makes sending direct mail and gifts from the system as easy as email.
We also developed a proprietary metric called “Cost per Touch” or CPT, similar to Cost per Click or Cost per Lead, which helps you track and compare the average cost of offline engagement with online.
Start Leveraging Direct Mail and Gifting Today!
B2B sales processes are following in the footsteps of B2C. As tactics constantly evolve, direct mail and gifting will be an integral part to the sales process of all businesses.
Consumers are more reluctant than ever when interacting with companies when making a purchase decision.
Digital channels simply won't communicate the entirety of your value as they're increasingly flooded with misinformation and spam.
Establish your credibility and trustworthiness by adding Experience Marketing to your existing sales and marketing workflows!