We’ve all come home from work or dropping the kids off at school only to find our doormats littered with the latest offering; from the local clothes outlet retailer to the friendly estate agency offering a free valuation of your house. For some, sitting down and sifting through these offerings is part of the daily routine and for others, they’re banished to the recycling bin without a second glance. But just why is that?
One of the reasons for this is simple; there’s a generic ‘broadness’ about many direct mail pieces that treats everybody the same. Whilst you may have done the data analysis on your target audience and concluded there are some similarities in their buying habits for example, have you considered that everyone in that target group is an individual with a unique personality and characteristics? Simply addressing them with a ‘Dear Customer’ or ‘FAO The Homeowner’ hardly inspires the recipient to continue reading beyond the salutation. If part of the aim is to connect with your audience on a personal level and engage them with the brand or company, then this very general approach only serves to disenfranchise.
Even more crucial when looking to engage and capture a recipient’s attention for the minute or two it takes to read your piece, is the content that you send to them. It’s commonly referred to as ‘Junk Mail’ for a reason; in that it has no relevance or is of no interest to the person receiving it. People just simply don’t pay any attention to something that doesn’t engage them or interest them personally. A lot of the hard work here is taken care of at the data analysis stage. By identifying trends or patterns in customer behaviour data, you can tailor your campaign as best you can to their interests or habits. If they are regular purchasers of a certain product or service that you offer, sending a campaign that highlights a special or discounted offer may be appealing to them.
What’s paramount is the relationship between the seller and the consumer. If you are engaging with customers or prospects, address them by name. At the very least, this makes the recipient feel a little more valued and, although a very basic example of personalisation, you may be surprised how much more of an impact it makes versus generic salutations.
A good place to start when planning your direct mail campaigns is profiling your ideal prospect. Who are we likely to be communicating with? What does the gender, age, marital status, income group, purchasing history and product preferences look like, for example? Once you have a targeted database you can start to appeal to their broad interests and requirements with your content and offerings. Remember, just because these people may have some product preferences in common, it doesn’t mean the similarities go beyond that. So put the hard yards in with the data work, try to scrutinise the data as best you can with the information you have available in order for you to create really engaging and relevant pieces for each target list.
Whilst you’re taking the opportunity to engage with your audience, also don’t neglect the opportunity to gather more information about them. The more information you harvest, the more personalised and targeted your direct mail pieces can become. It’s a slow process that will take some time to build, but the more you learn about your customer base the better you can serve their needs. It’s vital to measure and record what kind of offers and promotions your customer base is responding to, in fact it’s imperative that you understand what it is your audience really cares about. This allows your follow up campaigns, either online or offline, to capitalise on this new information and better engage and build the relationship: “We observed that you downloaded our Gardening Weekly Tips and tricks booklet, so we thought this month’s promotion on discounted seeds and bulbs may be of interest to you”.
Using personalisation to enhance your direct mail success is a much bigger opportunity than simply inserting a prospect or customers name into an address block or sending a birthday message once a year. It’s about truly understanding what your customers care about by scrutinising the trends and asking the questions, and then demonstrating you’ve listened to them by offering content that really appeals to them.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog piece on personalisation, if you need any further info or would like to speak to us about the Direct Mail services we offer, feel free to contact us on the office number: 0118 474 888.