Marketing campaigns targeted at customer retention or reactivating dormant customers are many and varied. Among the most common ways used for retention/reactivation, you’ll probably find personalized messaging, emails, SMS, or social media ads. But none of these ways of client reactivation can match the effectiveness offered by direct mail campaigns. After all, key customer retention strategies include cross-channel, personalization, and direct mail campaigns.

If you’re not using direct mail for customer reactivation, you’re missing a major opportunity. As the top-performing direct response channel, direct mail isn’t just for customer acquisition anymore – postcards can actually help you win back former customers and reactivate dormant clients.

We’ve seen direct mail customer reactivation campaigns yield 18% redemption rates and a 60% lift in revenue. When is the last time you got results like that from an email campaign?

Up against increasingly crowded email inboxes, marketers should send targeted postcards to win back dormant customers. It works. And it is 5 times cheaper to retain existing customers than acquiring new ones.

Here are five ways to use direct mail to reactivate dormant customers.

natrebox reactivation postcard

1. Segment direct mail audiences based on purchase history.

The first thing you need to do is to understand why your dormant customers stopped buying or ordering from you. As soon as you identify the core reason for that you can develop countermeasures and launch campaigns to make them come back.

Identifying target segments is Step 1 in your direct mail reactivation campaign. What time frame makes someone ripe for a reactivation mailer? One month? One year? Once you decide how to categorize dormant customers, create a few segments based on purchase history.

This allows you to craft different postcard messages for each stage of the customer retention/reactivation journey. For example, you might not send the same aggressive promotion to existing customers who could spend more as to customers who’ve lapsed.

Inkit integrates with top CRMs (including our newest partner, Iterable), allowing you to plug direct mail triggers into automated marketing campaign workflows.

Use your CRM to move customers into a direct mail reactivation list at specified points in the customer lifecycle (such as 30 days inactive and when they stop responding to an email sequence).

Simply upload your CRM into Inkit’s plug-and-play dashboard. Many of our customers keep postcard campaigns ready-to-go in the dashboard (often simply re-purposing emails as postcards), so they can pull a list and send a mailer in a matter of minutes.

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2. Invest in direct mail where it counts by syncing mailers with email workflows.

One of the most cost-effective ways to send customer reactivation postcards is to add triggers to email campaigns. Multi-channel marketing is the new standard with 53% of marketers currently using 3-4 channels on average in their campaigns to achieve true customer-centric journeys. Of course, adding an additional channel just for the sake of numbers is a waste of your time and budget, but a triggered direct mail added to your workflow would work wonders for your ‘win-back’ efforts. Using one of Inkit’s integration partners, add direct mail triggers when your reactivation emails don’t get opens/clicks/responses. In such a way you can target consumers first through email, and launch direct mail as the second step of your campaign only for those dormant customers who require more efforts to reactivate them.

This strategy has several benefits: it reserves your direct mail budget for the right audience; moves disengaged customers into direct mail workflows (protecting email deliverability), and saves creative resources by repurposing email promotions for postcards. Moreover, it allows targeting a selected segment of your email list database based on the customer responses (or lack of thereof) to the existing campaigns.

Pro tip: What works in the email doesn’t always work in direct mail. Check out these tips on how to design an effective postcard promotion.

3. Send client reactivation postcards to remind inactive customers of store credit.

Customers lapse for a variety of reasons. Some may defect to a competitor with better pricing. Others will find your product no longer suits their needs or simply shift focus. Despite a variety of reasons for churn, most dormant customers have one thing in common: they don’t want to leave money on the table.

When a customer reaches an early dormancy benchmark, send a postcard encouraging them to spend unused rewards or store credit. If they remain inactive, sweeten the deal with a postcard offering a bonus to redeem the credit. A strong offer such as this is likely to have a high impact via postcard since the majority of Americans open their mail daily.

Postcards are really simple and not so expensive as many think they are. It is one of the most effective ways of client reactivation. The moment a person opens a mailbox, the message on the postcard will be seen immediately because one doesn’t need to open an envelope first. If you pay more attention to the postcard’s design the customer will definitely take notice of your company.

Even a simple message with a holiday greeting discount offer will help. But don’t forget to make your postcards personalized. According to research, personalized database information, such as a person’s name, increases direct mail response rates by up to 500%.

For example, NatureBox received a 35% lift in orders and a 60% lift in revenue per customer (measuring against a holdout group) when they sent the promotion below, using Inkit’s direct mail software.

This postcard from NatureBox is personalized to dynamically insert each recipient’s rewards balance.

4. Don’t forget to reactivate customers with direct mail. Add value to existing relationships.

A strong direct mail win-back campaign should do more than reactivate customers. It should market to dormant customers, increasing engagement and revenue per customer. When creating content for reactivation mailers, think about what you can offer to increase average order size and engagement.

Adding value to existing but forgotten relationships increases your chances of higher profit. If you lose customers, it’s almost certain that they will go to your competitors. Try to reach inactive customers with a special offer or a coupon. And pay special attention to dormant clients who haven’t bought or ordered services from you for up to one year.

Consider sending postcards that promote complementary items matching purchase history, and/or draw customers deeper into your online customer journey. Plug free online value-adds (like tutorials, informational or user-generated content) with QR codes or links to social media and video landing pages. Create ‘smart’ direct mail marketing campaigns, set up online retargeting, leverage digital coupons, and offer your dormant customers an easy way to reach you or to leave their feedback. To start incorporating QR codes into your direct mail, try one of our partners, Beaconstac. Beaconstac’s QR code solution allows you to create trackable, dynamic, and customizable QR codes with online retargeting.

5. Split-test direct mail customer reactivation offers.

Direct mail is the best performing direct response channel (bringing in results 10 to 30 times better than digital marketing channels), but not all your former customers are going to reactivate at the same rate. Test your most recent inactives and your offers to find which segments and triggers are most cost-effective when it comes to direct mail reactivation campaigns.

You should find that some of your segments still respond well to email, while others have surely disengaged from your digital communications entirely. Don’t just test different postcards – test concepts. You will need insights that you might apply in all your future marketing efforts. Test, test, and test some more to find out when and how you can reach various audiences. Test the medium, test your new campaign, or a single variable – and don’t forget to improve based on the test results. Don’t be afraid to invest in testing or analytics. For example, with Inkit’s direct mail automation platform, you fully control size and scope to trigger one piece or a million for the same price. So, with a minimum spend, you will be able to max out your effectiveness and will definitely see your efforts pay off.

The moment you have your dormant customers back, devote some time to ongoing customer retention. Your customer retention should start at the onboarding stage and progress into a continuous process. Keep your customers updated and remind them about your company and products or services from time to time. Collect their feedback, address the drawbacks your clients mentioned, and tell them how you solved the issues they pointed out. Express your gratitude and don’t forget the important dates and anniversaries that you share. The emotional connection between you and your customers is very important. Your customers should feel that you care not only about your own income but also about their personal needs.

Inkit modernized direct mail, making it measurable, testable (find direct mail A/B test tips here) and data-driven. We are always working on adding CRM integrations so that your direct mail can be just as trackable as any digital-only campaign—with the higher impact and response rates of tangible mail.

Are you ready to reactivate your lapsed customers with direct mail?

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