We hope you are finding our How to Guide series useful, and you are already seeing great responses from your campaigns having read our recent posts;
If you are currently designing your campaigns you may also like to refer to our other helpful posts;
- Using Templates; Easy Campaign Design
- Our Envelope Size Guide for any enveloped campaigns and
- Our Glossary of Direct Mail for any industry terms or jargon we’ve used where the meaning isn’t clear.
Our aim with this latest blog post is to give you some tips and ideas to generate the best possible response rates for your campaigns; giving you a great return on your investment in Direct Mail.
1) Data Quality
The quality of the data you are using will have a significant effect on the response rate of your campaign. Some things to consider;
- Where did the data come from? Is it 1st party (your own data), or sourced from somewhere else (2nd or 3rd party data).
- When did you source the data?
- Do you trust that the data is accurate, complete and current?
There are a few features in the Stannp platform that can help you to improve your data (and therefore your response rates) before you book your campaigns.
Free Verification (PAF /CASS Match)
PAF & CASS are the databases that contain all known delivery points in the UK and the US. Our platform separates them into verified, unverified, and other international (non UK & US) categories.
Data Health Check
Stannp’s Data Health Check service is easily accessible by clicking on the ambulance symbol for any existing data set in your recipient groups page, or by checking the “would you like to perform a free health check on this data?” tick box when you upload new data.
Our Data Health Check blog post has all the details of exactly how to use the system, but in brief the health check allows you to clean your data for 3 types of potentially undeliverable recipient before you book your campaign. The data is reported in three categories;
- Gone Aways; the recipient has moved house.
- Deceased; the recipient has been registered as deceased.
- Mail Preference Service; the recipient has registered themselves with the Mail Preference Service and therefore doesn’t want to receive unsolicited advertising.
Using tick boxes you can choose to supress recipients in any or all of these categories before sending a campaign, depending on your campaign goals.
The powerful recipient filtering tools built into the Stannp platform allow you to select subsets of recipients within your data group, depending on the aims of your campaign.
We periodically update and improve this feature. At the time of writing (October 2019) the recipient filters available are;
- Send to all data
- Send to verified UK and/or US addresses
- Send to unverified UK and/or US addresses
- Send to all UK and/or US Addresses
- Send only to other international (non UK & US) addresses
You may wish to filter different recipient types depending on your campaign goals and the data source.
For example, if you are sending an offer to known recent customers you might want to send to all data, even if some of the addresses are unverified. On the other hand, if the campaign is to a 3rd party list of prospects you might wish to limit the list to verified addresses, to reduce the likelihood of undelivered returns.
Our exclusion filtering builds on the recipient filtering detailed above, allowing you to exclude recipients that have already been sent to from any or all previous campaigns.
Our Exclusion Filters – Easy Campaign Control blog post has all the details of exactly how to use the Exclusion filter system.
The various data tools available on the Stannp platform work together to allow you to select exactly the set of recipients that are right for your campaign, maximising its potential success and limiting any wastage from spurious sends.
As much as possible, think about the timing of the campaign in relation to your recipient group before you dispatch your campaign. What is currently happening to this group that might effect how they respond to your campaign?
While these factors won’t be anything you can directly influence, if your campaign is poorly timed for your recipient group it will reduce on your response rates. For example;
- Postal Volume; Has there just been an election in your target geography? Households tend to get bombarded with post during election campaigns, and as a result tend to become less responsive to any postal campaigns, known as ‘mail fatigue’, around elections. Are there any other local /national /demographic or personal reasons your recipients might be getting a lot of post at the moment? (E.g. students in freshers week, new mothers receiving baby product offers, birthdays…)
- Wage Patterns; If you are advertising to consumers, are they likely to be weekly or monthly paid? When in the month will your mailing land? Recipients are more likely to ‘impulse buy’ if they have recently been paid.
- Business Cycles: If your campaign is targeting business recipients, what is the ‘business cycle’ for the sector or industry they are in? Are they likely to have budget available when they receive the campaign? What are the likely decision making processes and timescales they will need to adhere to?
- Seasonality: Is your product or service seasonal? If so, are they likely to be in the market for that product now, or are they just not ready to consider it yet? Have you tried campaigns (direct mail or other) at this time of year before? If so, what were the response rates like?
- Data Frequency; How well used is the data? By who? For what purpose? Re-sending to the same recipients isn’t necessarily a problem, in fact it can increase response rates as long as you don’t overdo it; but make sure you understand how frequently and how many times these recipients have been contacted.
3) Multiple Touches
The average person receives more than 2,900 marketing messages a day! Here at Stannp we love Direct Mail and know how effective it is at helping you stand out in that marketing message ‘crowd’, but even we wouldn’t recommend that Direct Mail is your only form of marketing!
Studies vary on the number of ‘touch points’ required to reach a new customer, with numbers in the range of 5 – 25 touches. However, all the studies agree that it requires multiple touches to reach a new customer.
Direct Mail integrates brilliantly with the other channels in your marketing mix, and building multi channel campaigns which include Direct Mail, increases the effectiveness of the other channels.
For example, a study by MarketReach found that when mail is included in digital and TV campaigns, ROI for the whole campaign increased by 12%. Another study from NonProfit Pro found a 28% higher conversion rate from digital ads where campaigns included mail too.
A key to success here is consistency; carry your brand, messaging, colours, fonts etc across the range of channels you are using.
The goal is brand familiarity; the recipient has received your mailings, decides to visit your website and use the offer code you have mailed. If the look and feel of the site is the same as the mailings, they are (subconsciously) reassured that they are on the right website, your company is genuine, the offer is real, etc.
These consistent touches across all channels provide positive reinforcement of your message, increasing it’s effectiveness.
4) Post Campaign Follow Up
Related to the idea of multiple touch points, one of the key factors in an effective Direct Mail campaign actually happens after the campaign has reached your recipients; post campaign follow up.
Structuring your campaign so you can follow up with your recipients within a reasonable time of them receiving you campaign is a fantastic step towards increasing your ROI.
What this looks like will depend on your organisation size, structure and capabilities.
For example, you might decide that your team has the capacity to handle 1,000 follow up phone calls a week between them, and you have a list of 30,000 prospects.
If you mail all 30,000 at once some of the recipients will not being called until 30 weeks after they received your mailing, by which time the moment is long gone and they are most likely unresponsive to your offer.
It would be more effective to set up your campaign to send a time-sensitive offer to 1,000 recipients a week for 30 weeks, and follow up all of the recipients with a call a few days after they receive your offer.
Final tip; make sure your team are well versed in the offer, the product or service(s) you are promoting, and answers to any typical customer question or queries before they start making the follow up calls.
We hope you find our Increase Your Response Rates Guide useful and interesting.