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5 Keys to Customer Acquisition

Without direct mail, customer acquisition falls flat. Sound like a bold claim? It is, but there’s a reason—it’s true. Many direct marketers can attest that, without direct mail, their customer acquisition efforts would be less successful.

What makes direct mail so powerful?

1. It is the only channel that can reach your entire target audience.

Did you know that 6% of consumers in the United States don’t have access to broadband? That 30% of Americans don’t use Facebook? Or that only 83% of U.S. adults have cellphones, and of those, 17% don’t text? Even the best email lists only reach 40–50% of your list. Postal mail is the only channel that can reach your entire target audience.

2. Direct mail lists have lower churn.

People change email addresses frequently, whether through preference or job change. By contrast, people may live at the same address for years, if not decades.

3. Personalization is more reliable.

Data used to personalize by demographic and psychographic can be readily cross-checked and validated. When purchasing or adding to a direct mail list, you can have a high level of confidence in its accuracy.

4. Mail stands out in the mailbox.

It is not unusual for the average person to receive hundreds of emails in a single day. Even the best, most personalized email may still never be seen. By contrast, with consumers’ mailboxes less full than they used to be, well-designed direct mail pieces jump out and command attention.

5. Direct mail is visually compelling.

HTML email utilizes many of the benefits of graphics and personalization, but direct mail offers a level of tangibility and visual appeal not available in any other channel. People respond to the richness of color, the depth of imagery, and dimensional techniques such as coatings, dynamic folds, and eye-catching die-cuts.

Customer acquisition is critical to your business. To achieve success, you need the right tools. While going multichannel with print and digital marketing is a “must have” approach, direct mail remains the most predictable, effective way to reach the widest number of consumers. Don’t miss out!

Keep the Conversation Going!

When do you engage with your customers? Is it only when you want to sell them something? If so, consider extending the conversation. Customers are more loyal when they feel that you care about them personally, not just the bottom line, so here are three ways to keep the conversation rolling.

1. Touch base . . . just to touch base.

Send personalized notes and postcards at critical anniversaries. Celebrate customers’ birthdays, but also significant business relationship anniversaries, such as the date someone first becomes a customer. Some companies make these touches by email, but personalized cards and letters have far more impact. There is something more powerful about a beautiful personalized message that arrives in a printed envelope than “Happy Birthday!” in an 8-point subject line.

2. Provide valuable information.

If you continue to receive real estate postcards even after you’ve purchased a home, it’s not that your realtor forgot to take you out of their database. It’s part of a growing trend of long-term customer retention that all market verticals can learn from. Realtors often send postcards every few months or at the change of seasons. They might offer suggestions for improving the curb appeal of your home, tricks for spring decluttering, or ideas for winterizing your garage. When your friends are looking for referrals or when your children are looking to purchase their first home, they want to be the first one you recommend. Maybe they are onto something. How could you use this strategy to your advantage?

3. Don’t let them get away.

Do you know when customers are starting to fade away? Maybe they buy fewer products from you, or maybe they do so less frequently. Perhaps they stopped engaging on social media or changed their email address and didn’t re-up with your newsletter. Pay attention to which of your customers remain engaged and reach out to those who are not. This allows you to re-engage lagging relationships before it’s too late. Once a pattern of non-engagement becomes entrenched, it’s much harder to change.

Everyone wants to be noticed and cared about, and your customers are no different. Love your customers beyond the sale, and they will love you back.

Tips for Mailing on a Budget

Postal costs are one of the most substantial items in a marketer’s direct mail budget. But even if your budget is tight, don’t compromise this critical customer contact and retention tool. Don't mail less. Mail smarter. Here’s how:

1. Keep your list up to date.

The most reliable way to reach your target audience is to use postal mail, but people still move. According to the United States Postal Service, 14% of Americans change addresses annually. Use change of address tools like the NCOA (National Change of Address) database and “enhanced” NCOA (which adds the use of third-party data) to make sure your mail reaches its destination.

2. Get addresses right.

Ensure that your addresses are deliverable. This means they have been checked, updated, or "certified." The National Deliverability Index (NDI) rates the percentage of deliverable addresses in a list. Know your number!

3. Remove duplicates.

For every duplicate you mail, you are wasting money. Bob M. Jones might be the same as Robert Michael Jones and B. M. Jones, so make sure to find out. Lists need to be “scrubbed” to ensure that each individual or household only receives one piece of mail.

4. Select your audience carefully.

Mail only to recipients most likely to buy. One family-owned automotive company, for example, was regularly getting less than 1% response rates to its mailings, so it invested in creating a demographic profile of its best customers. Once it knew what its best customers looked like, it targeted new customers that looked just like them. The results? Response rates tripled, and the mailing brought in 33% more revenue per customer.

5. Be relevant.

Only mail information of relevance to your audience. Instead of mailing promotions on lawn care to everyone within a specific ZIP Code, for example, only target people who own standalone homes with yards. Don’t waste money mailing to people in condos with no need for your product.

Need help optimizing your postal costs using one or more of these techniques? Let us help!

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