With a 5.7% average response rate, direct mail is one of the most effective promotional channels that today’s market can offer. However, before it gained due acknowledgment as a powerful marketing approach, direct mail had to go through its ups and downs. In the pre-Internet era, everyone used to like receiving mail pieces. Back then, direct mail campaigns and TV were the primary means through which advertisers communicated their messages to target audiences. But the appearance of landing pages, information portals, and other web resources changed the rules governing over the marketing world. As a result, many businesses stopped promoting their products or services via direct mail. They fully switched to digital marketing and focused on digital forms of advertisements.
Still, after years of neglect, mail advertising has evolved and continues to grow its power. So how did it manage to regain its popularity? The need for effective multichannel campaigns generated the demand for direct mail software. Marketers realized that should direct mail be automated and synchronized with digital marketing, it will work wonders. This led to the appearance of direct mail tools with broad functionality and modes of application. There are literally no limitations in their use. The software is suitable for both SMEs and enterprises with different needs and capabilities. In addition, direct mail tools can be used by nonprofits, NGOs, and other organizations that need to boost their marketing efforts. Such direct mail software has universal functions, including automatic printing and delivery, CRM integration, postcard builder, and more. Continue reading to discover how the functionality of direct mail tools can upgrade your marketing efforts.
Key Features of Direct Mail Tools: What Can They Do for Your Company?
Most modern direct mail tools offer CRM integration as an essential element of a successful direct mail campaign. The thing is that CRM systems aren’t only convenient but also bring a lot of practical benefits. According to recent statistics, the companies that use CRM systems have noticed a 74% improvement in their customer relationships, 65% sales increase, and 50% improved productivity. This explains why more than 90% of businesses with over 10 employees use CRM software for their everyday needs. In the case of direct mail tools, CRM integration capabilities are not less important. They let you achieve the maximum efficiency of direct mail and align it with other forms of advertising. Acknowledging the essential role of CRMs, Inkit supports integration with such industry CRM leaders as Drip, HubSpot, Sailthru, and Iterable. Just upload a mailing list to Inkit and enjoy the following benefits:
- Multi-channel marketing. CRM integration is the easiest way to unite your marketing efforts based on single customer data. This way your direct mail strategy enhances the existing marketing efforts and guarantees the expected return on investment. Like any other marketing channel, direct mail is not most effective when used as the only and standalone strategy. Combining it with digital marketing and other forms of advertising, for example, will far more likely bring out the full potential of all your marketing mediums. With today’s fierce global and local competition, you will need well-thought-out multi channel marketing to gain a competitive edge. Direct mail tools integrated with any CRM you currently use are a perfect option to bridge your online and offline marketing campaigns.
- Direct mail tracking and measuring. Gaining better control over your customer data with CRM integration, you receive ample opportunities for analytics. This way direct mail tools answer the most common direct mail question: How to measure direct mail efficiency? Add a specific phone number, URL, or email address to check if your mail pieces work the way that you planned. Once recipients complete a target action, you will be able to record this and analyze the general behavioral trends. Reliable data on response rates will help you optimize your mail marketing and make it more cost-effective in the future.
- Improved customer relationships. CRM systems provide customer information that can help make your direct mail highly personal and customized. You can print with variable data to address each of your customers directly and earn their trust. Based on the estimations, personalized database information, such as a person’s name, increases direct mail response rates by up to 500%. People like it when a postcard addresses them by their name since they perceive such direct mail as a unique offer tailored to their needs. That’s how specialized direct mail software can make your customers take notice of your product or service. Additionally, CRM software allows segmenting your target audiences by age, sex, location, preferences, and other factors. As a result, you can deliver specific mail at the moment when customers are most likely to react positively.
- Automated repetitive tasks. Thanks to CRM integration, you will get rid of numerous routine tasks you had to do manually before. No need to write down all the names of your customers and keep track of their personal information. Once you integrate a CRM with a direct mail tool like Inkit, the software will take care of everything. It will automatically add the required name to the necessary postcard and send it to the end recipient. Just click a couple of times to confirm your choice, hit the Send button, and sit back while Inkit takes care of the rest of the chores.
Postcard Builder With Ready-Made Templates
Every sophisticated online mail service should offer a range of easily customizable templates. Inkit is among the direct mail tools that include such functionality. Inkit’s custom postcard builder provides simple but elegant templates that have been tested for many years. Professional designers developed them keeping in mind the most common direct mail standards and best practices. If you want to add a personal touch to your mail pieces, you can upload a photo, add a call to action, or use other versatile features available. In other words, direct mail tools tackle complex design tasks allowing you to focus on the creative part.
But the benefits of the simplified design process are more far-reaching than that. Since you won’t need to hire a professional designer, your direct mail campaign will become more cost-effective. You will also get a chance to focus on your core business activities and redirect your expenses and efforts there. The decision to use direct mail tools will make a positive impact on the overall development of your company. You will be able to surpass the competitors who don’t use direct mail or still haven’t automated it.
Automatic Direct Mail Printing and Shipping
Automated delivery is probably the most obvious benefit of using direct mail tools for mail advertising. Now you can forget about regular trips to the post office. Also, you won’t need to look for a printing house or worry about all the printing chores. Third-party mail services are useful both for SMEs and large enterprises. Small and medium companies with low printing volume will benefit from a reliable subcontractor that performs the major part of their printing processes instead of hiring personnel responsible for direct mail printing and delivery. As to the large businesses, automated mail allows them to save on expensive printing equipment and optimize the delivery. For instance, Inkit can deliver your mail to any country within 3-6 business days. This period comprises both the time required for printing and shipping. Such a short time span is almost impossible to achieve if you need to care about the design, printing, and delivery on your own.
Direct Mail A/B Testing
This function isn’t available in all direct mail tools, but testing capabilities definitely deserve your attention. When you aren’t sure what type of advertisement will have the highest response rate and can spare some time to experiment, try to find flexible solutions. Choose a mailing software that allows regulating a batch size and delivering a limited number of mail pieces. There are some tools, including Inkit, in which you can send just a few copies to try them out. After your current or potential customers receive them and provide feedback, you will be able to analyze the results. The processed information will clearly show which direct mail is more effective and should be printed in large volumes.
Let’s say, you cannot choose between a postcard and a self-mailer for your new campaign. On the one hand, the postcard is more memorable and has a picture that immediately attracts attention to your product or service. It doesn’t have much text but includes a phone number and a QR code leading to your official website. On the other hand, you have the self-mailer listing your services, benefits, contact details, and other useful information in more details. It tells customers more about your company but looks less attractive compared to the postcard. And the most important part: the data on target audiences available to you is insufficient to predict how the recipients will react. (Remember that it should always be hard data to help you make such decisions as the subjective assumptions usually turn out to be wrong). As long as you have doubts, you’d better not invest a lot of money without preliminary testing. That’s when A/B split testing is a wonderful solution. Just send both mail pieces to two similar groups of recipients to find out which mail advertising yields better results. This will help you to make the final decision, cut expenditures, and have a better understanding of your target audiences.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the features offered by direct mail tools. Check out Inkit’s functionality to learn about additional ways to benefit from direct mail automation.