Generating direct mail leads is a powerful marketing model. With this bottom of the funnel outbound strategy, you can build strong relationships with potential customers and convert them into customers. While using mail lead generation pieces is a challenging task for many marketers, it makes sense as a way to zero in on qualified buyers. This saves money and produces better ROI.
Direct mail generates great ROI:
- 67% of marketers say direct mail provides the best ROI of any channel they use, according to a recent survey of marketers
- In the most recent ANA Response Report, marketers reported a 112% ROI for prospect lists using letter mail, and 92% ROI for postcards mailed to house lists
- According to marketers in one survey, simply adding mail improves omnichannel response from 51% to 83% – a 63% increase
Why Use Direct Mail to Generate Leads?
Yes, we like mail lead generation as a sound marketing strategy. But what about digital? After all, it’s pretty much “free” as well as easy no matter what channel you use for your campaigns, right? No, not exactly.
Think about it. With digital, you still need to put together many of the same resources to nurture leads as you would with a direct mail campaign. For example: dedicated staff to design landing pages, ads, and email campaigns.
Here’s an even bigger issue: targeting. Digital ads and email marketing lack the precision targeting required to reach only qualified prospects. Instead, they often result in unqualified leads, and a waste of time and money.
With direct mail lead generation, you identify your ideal target audience before you mail. Based on accurate data, your mail should target segments, such as age, geographic location, gender, etc. And direct mailing lists don’t require opt-in or express permissions, unlike email marketing.
Ways to Generate Direct Mail Leads
Generating direct mail leads doesn’t always require long, drawn-out, multi-step campaigns. Success results from following direct mail fundamentals, such as considering opportunities to:
- Promote events – Maybe it’s a nearby rally for a favorite organization, or a Red Cross blood drive, or a business conference. The right segmentation factors help target the right audience.
- Drive retail traffic – Direct mail has long excelled at sending shoppers to brick-and-mortar stores using catalogs, flyers, postcards, and self-mailers. Coupons, grand openings, friends-and-family sales are all common tactics to get people to go shopping in-store. The same goes for calls to insurance agents, visits to healthcare offices, banks, etc.
- Build online traffic – Much of the above traffic can likewise be driven online using the same types of direct mail. A landing page in many cases (e.g., insurance) helps qualify a prospect before they go further.
- Increase donors – Non-profit organizations and donors prospect for contributors and members in a variety of ways. For example, a website form asks for an email address, and sometimes, a full postal address as well. Otherwise, you can build prospects lists using zero, second, or third-party data to drive donors to you through the mail or online.
Best Practices for Generating Direct Mail Leads
There are several key rules about copy for generating direct mail leads with your marketing campaigns.
- Focus on generating a lead, not closing a sale.
- Tease the prospect into wanting to know more. But be careful: The more you tell, the less you sell. Say too much and you’ll scare away qualified buyers.
- Don’t leave deal killers in your copy. You don’t want to raise objections the prospect never thought of.
- Emphasize the emotional benefit of the product or service. Leave details about rational benefits and advantages to later efforts along the funnel.
Here are some other best practices to keep in mind when developing lead generation campaigns:
Segment Your Audience
Direct mail segmentation is a crucial step in creating campaigns that are more relevant to your audience. Focusing on a single group with the most potential first helps you engage prospects with the right message for your product or service, and save money at the same time.
Some ways to segment your direct mail audience include:
- Location – It’s vital to qualify prospects by their geographic location, such as zip code, to be able to nurture of follow-up with them by a sales force contact or a retail visit
- Age – One of many demographic factors that’s necessary to match messaging with product or service, especially those meant for specific age groups, like seniors
- Income – Looking at this measurement helps you decide who to exclude from your campaign, especially useful for a high-ticket item
Keep It Simple
The copy and design you choose for your direct mail piece (and landing page) should have one goal: focus the prospect on understanding the information you’re presenting, and moving them to the next step in the process.
Don’t overcomplicate things with sidebars on other products or services. And especially don’t use multiple calls-to-action. Distractions confuse prospects and dampen response. Just be specific about how to respond, what the prospect gets in return.
One more thing: do not mention price in the initial effort. Instead, think through carefully where and how in the nurturing process you will mention price.
Make Sure They Can Reach It
When looking at generating direct mail leads for some of the reasons shared above, don’t forget to consider geographic location segmentation. In some cases, there may be barriers that prevent prospects from taking full advantage of your campaign. This may be an opportunity to take an extra step in geomarketing. Use variable data printing (VDP) to create a personalized map showing your prospect’s route to a retail store or event.
Track Your Direct Mail Leads
Direct mail response is everything that matters. You can only fully understand your response when you’re able to track your results and measure attribution. When you know who is driving results, you’re better prepared to make decisions moving ahead.
Here are a few ways to track leads generated in your mail campaign:
- QR Codes – When scanned, a generic QR code can lead to any type of landing page; However, it’s easier to track customized QR code responses.
- Special coupon codes – One of the oldest attribution methods, the prospect provides a unique code printed on a mail piece when responding
- Phone tree numbers – Tracking occurs by using a special answer number for a specific campaign or audience segments.
- Call tracking software (or a manual effort by a staff member) matches numbers called.
- PURLs – Personalized URLs are populated with unique data for each customer. They may have an advantage over other methods because they are perceived as more personal than a string of numbers or letters in other response codes.
Do You Have the Best Audience?
Define your target audience persona thoroughly – you’ll want to reach out to the right person at the right time and with the right format. That’s right, your audience and message may dictate what form factor is best-suited for getting their attention and pushing a response.
Keep in mind that every mail format comes with a different budget and different advantages. However, experience and industry practices show that certain mailer types work best for specific types of businesses.
- For insurance leads, such as final expenses, life, and auto, letter mail or envelopes dominate. They protect the privacy of the message inside. And a blind outer – with no teaser headline or copy – intrigues the prospect to get it opened.
- For dental practices, postcards dominate. They get attention – the bigger the better – with 6”x11” jumbo a popular choice. The copy and key benefits listed focus on how a dental visit makes a prospect feel.
- For education as well as Medicare supplement plans, self-mailers are the most common format. Multiple panels focus on a single message (or two at most).
Wrapping it up
Remember, the goal at each step of a multistep sale is to get to the next step. Above all, never give the prospect a reason to say no.
It’s not an easy challenge. But with the tips above and the expertise of mailing.com, it could turn out to be the best way to generate leads. To help spark your next great lead generation campaign, contact us today!