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5 ways to personalize direct mail and drive results

If you send a lot direct mail, then you probably know that your direct mail can be customized for each recipient. But did you know that you can deliver a fully personalized postcard or letters customized for each and every recipient?

We’ve all received a postcard at some point that includes our first name, which is absolutely a step up from “To Resident”. But with the recent innovations in direct mail, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With the advent of digital printing platforms and technologies like CustomMail, direct mail is now a lot like digital advertising, email, and other digital channels. In fact, designing, printing, and delivering a unique and totally customized print postcard right to your customer’s mail is easier than ever before.

With deeper personalization capability, your company can improve its segmentation and start to deliver more relevant designs, messaging, and promotional offers. That’s a big deal for a companies across verticals because it can change the entire value equation – or ROI – of your direct mail strategy. For example, if you’re a retailer who wants to only target a promotion to customers who have not made a recent purchase, but who also live within your store’s local area, direct mail personalization capability can make all the difference.

The more you know about your target market, or the better your 3rd party data, the easier it is to personalize your postcard’s design, messaging, and promotional offer. So what aspects of your direct mail should you personalize?  And what does it take to get your data from list form into a personalized design and into the recipient’s living room?


Start with the basics: Name and Geography

One thing that applies to nearly every direct mail piece is that you know your recipients name and address. For postcards, always include your recipients first name, but also try to add another variable in your messaging, so as street, city, or even neighborhood. Try to maintain a personal and friendly feel. For example, you could say, in big bold letters,

“Jake, we just opened nearby and everyone on eighth street and the whole neighborhood is invited to swing by!”

T-Mobile does a good job with the personalization in the example below.



Use Custom Imagery

Your postcard design makes a big impact on whether your customer engages with your offer. Using a personalized image that resounds with your customer can make a big impact on your results. Let’s say you’re a car dealer targeting your end of lease customers and you want to send an end of lease reminder and purchase offer before the lease runs out. With personalization technology, you can send a personalized offer and a pic of your customer’s car.

If you’re in the financial planning or retirement investment business, then you probably target couples ages 45 – 70. If that’s the case, it may make sense to send a younger couple image to segment 1 and an older couple image to the latter group.



Offer a Targeted Promotion

If you sell a product or service that can be discounted, postcard marketing is an ideal channel to test personalized promotional offers. Postcards offer a lot of real estate, particularly larger sizes, to offer limited time promotional offers that can be redeemed in-store, online, or by calling a phone number.

Nearly everyone, at some time or other, has received a dental promotion, discount to Bed Bath and Beyond, or an oil change offer. Retailers typically have in-depth buyer data, including past purchase data and customer demographics. But a lot of retail promotions also simply target the store front’s local area and offer a really compelling promotion.

A few ideas for your direct mail promotions:

Promotional Offer – Test different amounts to see what works best and cater the promotion based on your customer or prospect segment. For example, if you’re targeting current customer list, offer your best deal to old, unresponsive customers. With direct mail, it’s easy to test 2 different offers to see which offers the best response and campaign ROI.

Expiration Date – If you’re consistently running promotional offers with expiration dates, then make sure your direct mail provider can set the promotion date to continually update as your postcards or letters are sent out. With automated mailings, being able to maintain your promotion timing is important.

Purchase History –  Whether you’re an online retailer, restaurant, or carwash, you likely have purchase history from a lot of your customers, so you know what your customers are interested. Use that data to create list segments and send the relevant offer to each segment. Sure, it’s simpler to create a single solid promotion and blanket an entire area with the offer. But the more granular and targeted your campaign, the better the results.


Direct Mail and Landing Pages

Anytime you can run an integrated campaign that includes both offline and online, you can typically achieve better results. Offering a URL on your postcard or letter allows your buyers to fill out a form or get more information on your service online and can boost both engagement and conversion rates. But if you’re going to link to a landing page, make sure it’s properly designed to achieve your intended action. At a minimum, your landing page should include a clear offer, a compelling call to action, and a clear next step.

Once you’ve achieved that, then maybe it’s time to consider utilizing a personalized URL (PURL) and take your campaign to the next level. With PURL technology, your landing page can be personalized for each recipient. While each case is unique, using a PURL can increase landing page conversion rates by 10-30%. And while a personal URL can improve your conversion rates, personalization always takes a back seat to your landing page and postcard creative and design.


Key Takeaways

Think about ways that you can improve your list segmentation and direct mail personalization. One of the best aspects of digital direct mail printers and platforms is the ability to A/B test your creative and campaigns. You’ll be able to determine what types of personalization make the biggest impact. If you’re looking for a simple way to get started with direct mail personalization, start with 2 different concepts, see which performs better, and then move forward with the better performing concept.

If you’re looking to run a personalized post card campaign, connect with us, we’ll be happy to help.

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