Pop Quiz: What traditional marketing channel is e-commerce starting to embrace and why? Answer: Direct mail. The data is clear—when you optimize direct mail with AI technology, you can increase campaign effectiveness across every channel.
Marketers know that cross-channel marketing strategies deliver. Today’s modern marketers leverage multiple channels, using artificial intelligence-based marketing platforms, to deliver integrated customer experiences at every touch-point. Engaging your customers when and where they want to be reached improves campaign effectiveness across channels. And no channel is elicits as much of a response as direct mail.
According to the Data & Marketing Association, direct mail is the top channel for direct response by a landslide. It yields 10 to 30 times the results of all digital channels combined.
And contrary to popular belief, direct mail isn’t all coupon circulars and holiday catalogs. Modern direct mail is a data-driven AI marketing channel that can help you reach customers you’re struggling to get in touch with online. But as with any cross-channel campaign, execution is key.
This e-commerce and mail order retailer announces an online sale via automated postcard.
Whether you’re jumping into postcard automation for the first time or fine-tuning your artificial intelligence direct mail strategy, here are four steps to optimize your next campaign.
1. Use Artificial Intelligence Marketing to Automate Direct Mail
Modern direct mail is not the old school, poorly targeted, generic fluff of the past. Similar to all of your online channels, you want to adopt a data-first approach. Sync our direct mail software to your marketing automation platform to leverage all the existing data in your CRM for direct mail.
The process should be very similar to automating email. Make sure to use a clean and updated database as you build your direct mail list; define customer journeys; and set behavioral triggers for direct mail wherever you need a personal touch-point in your cross-channel campaigns. For example, set direct mail automations to target inactive online customers.
Pro tip: Direct mail can also help you gather data. Consider sending postcards that solicit email addresses via landing page opt-ins, drive social engagement or pre-screen leads.
2. Personalize Direct Mail Campaigns
Just like with email, personalization is everything. Use all of the data and AI marketing tools at your disposal to customize your message and make it relevant for the individual consumer. Defining narrow segments, using behavioral triggers and personalizing offers is key to direct mail optimization.
Personalizing direct mail doesn’t mean re-designing or re-writing your postcard for each individual send either. Use Inkit’s plug-and-play custom postcard builder to make small tweaks to your copy and design for different campaigns. Then, use our interpolated customer data tool to for dynamic content insertion—making personalized postcards easier to send than ever.
3. Measure Direct Mail Performance
As you build your cross-channel campaign, make sure any direct mail you send is measurable. One of the easiest ways to track and measure direct mail is to use unique redemption codes—trackable discount codes, unique campaign URLs or personalized URLs, QR codes, email addresses or even phone numbers.
This online custom framing service uses a coupon code to track the performance of this customer acquisition postcard.
In addition to making sure you have a way to track campaign performance, define KPIs at the outset. When you calculate the ROI of direct mail, what do you want to consider? Here are a few metrics you might want to record:
- Cost per mailing
- Campaign audience size (the vast majority of households open their mail daily, making direct mail great for brand visibility)
- Response rates (consider the number of customers you successfully re-engage in an online funnel, in addition to your sales conversion rate for a mailer)
- Revenue generated
4. Split-Test and Refine Direct Mail Performance
Direct mail, like all of your cross-channel efforts, should be an iterative process. The best thing you can do to optimize direct mail is simply pay attention to what’s working and what isn’t. You can do that by closely tracking and analyzing direct mail campaign results, as mentioned above. It is also important to test direct mail concepts during campaign conception.
Using Inkit, you can A/B test direct mail. You can also save money on direct mail optimization by split-testing offers in email to learn more about your audience before investing in a direct mail piece. As you collect data on tests and campaign performance, continue to refine and optimize automated direct mail campaigns.
AI-powered, automated direct mail is highly effective, and it can yield excellent results for your cross-channel marketing campaigns.