How many times have you opened something that arrives in your mailbox versus an email that comes to your inbox...Almost every single piece of mail, but hardly any emails. Why is this?
The truth is right in front of you. Your inbox is flooded with so many emails categorically classified as spam, updates, promotions, etc, while your mailbox usually carries only a few relevant messages that matter to you.
Once again, the business world is seeing an upsurge of direct mail sent, but this time, it comes with a different strategy. For businesses, these offline strategies coupled with ABM (Account-Based Marketing) is a ticket straight to higher conversion rates.
ABM targets accounts with extremely personalized messages, so it's important that these messages stand out. Prospects are bombarded with digital communication. One of the only ways to capture their attention would be to deliver these personalized, targeted, and quickly actionable messages right to their doorstep (literally!)
Why Direct Mail + ABM = A Formula for Success
Building long-term relationships
ABM, unlike other form of marketing, is a long term investment. It takes time to build the relationship. Every move is calculated before a customer profile is drawn, identifying their interests and specialties. These messages are intricately crafted to the needs of the target audience.
In addition, every message ranging from a postcard to personalized gifts or coupons, incites strong emotion that establishes the brand image and builds long term trust in the brand. Direct mail elicits a sense of obligation to respond, which can be attributed to the Cialdini’s Principle of Reciprocity. This is evident with a stat showing a sixty-two percent response rate observed with direct mail.
“According to Forbes 42% of recipients either read or scan the direct mail they receive.”
By flipping the funnel through ABM, it is easy to break down the target audience into accounts and reach out to them. Keeping track of these target accounts is a more reliable and effective way to track results. Once looked upon as an expensive marketing technique, direct mail, with the help of automation and AI, are definitely becoming stronger contenders to digital marketing because they can now be measured with accuracy and even deliverability can be automated based on triggered actions.
Increased brand recall and response rate
A study conducted that accounted the neuroscience of driving response noted that direct mail requires 21 percent less cognitive effort to interpret. This means your message in the physical form is absorbed far more quickly and effectively increasing brand recognition and recall value as against the ones delivered on screen. This also justifies why some U.S. advertisers have opted to spend an average of $167 per person on direct mail campaigns.
Increased alignment between sales and marketing
Mailing lists of target accounts, their delivery, and other information are recorded in a CRM. This information is highly beneficial for sales teams to act on and follow-up appropriately. Running campaigns are a lot more meaningful, as sales works in tandem with marketing, thereby increasing the efficiency of closing a sale. After all, ABM is known to bring harmony between sales and marketing, while direct mail further strengthens that bond.
How to Use Direct Mail + ABM to Close More Deals
Once you are ready to begin your campaign, it's important that you understand how to use this combination effectively to achieve higher conversion rates. Let’s look at some useful tips that you can employ to achieve this.
Personalization is THE buzzword in B2B sales and marketing. By using direct mail within your ABM strategies, you can tailor your content to match personal aspects including the recipient’s demographic, geographic, firmographic traits, roles, etc, to elevate engagement by speaking towards their interests.
When Bizible, a marketing attribution company, was falling short of its quarterly revenue, it leveraged the use of ABM direct mail and heavily leaned towards personalization. They cleverly designed a personalized campaign based around their theme, “Bizible helps you grow”.
They sent a handwritten customized card with seed-paper cut out in the form of dollars that could be planted to bloom and also planted trees in the name of the recipient.This resulted in $33,000 in extra revenue for a cost of about $750 dollars in total (37 customized emailers were sent).
You can also personalize an offline experience by choosing the various types of gifts and messages that need to be sent to a certain set of segmented audiences based on triggers, responses, and engagement.
AI-powered handwriting experience has helped marketers save time and has also led to an authentic and personalized experience of using direct mail.
ABM and direct mail are high performing channels, but can yield diminishing returns when used in isolation. Therefore, peddling it with other streams of communication is important to ensure you drive conversions down the funnel with this approach. Terminus, one of the leading ABM platforms, knows it only too well. In one of their classic multichannel campaigns - when a SDR discovered that the target account was researching ABM platforms, they sent a jigsaw puzzle with a note that read “Terminus is the missing piece in your account-based marketing efforts”.
This was accompanied by a sequence where the SDR followed-up with an email where the subject was aligned with the message on the card. After this, display ads were launched showing the images of jigsaw puzzles and a message that was relevant to the prospect. Needless to say, the message was actionable and most prospects showed interest. If had it been just the jigsaw puzzle, the chances of the message slipping the prospect’s mind would've been higher.
A rough template that can be used for an ABM and direct mail multichannel approach will look something like this:
Direct Mail: sent to the target account with a personalized message.
Email: the same day an email is sent to confirm the receipt of the mailer or provide more resources.
Phone Call: alternatively a phone call may be used to confirm the delivery.
Digital Ads: just around the same time, 1-to-1, personalized display ads that match the messaging and images. GIFs can be used to improve brand recall as well.
While video emails are becoming more common as a marketing tool, videos within pieces of direct mail are still not out of the picture. However, companies have started to embrace this duo of moving images inside direct mail, bringing together creativity with digital measurability. Bentley and AT&T sent their customers V-brochure or video brochure that included a small size LCD screen inside the brochure to play the video.
Video enabled promotional tools are soon becoming more affordable to deliver the part of the opening experience of the package.
Streamworks, a full-service agency, states that “Depending on the size of the screen, amount of memory, battery, and quantity, costs range from $25-75 per mailer, with the capacity to store up to two hours of video. While it might seem expensive initially, this is a targeted approach to marketing: identifying the right customers and tailoring communications.”
This not only makes the experience memorable, but also measurable, as the backend analytics can help track video plays.
No business will benefit from a campaign unless there's a clear ask. A direct mail piece that arrives in a pretty package may not result in an action from of the prospect (even with the reciprocity rule). Make the ask CLEAR.
Spell out the next step you'd like the prospect to take - whether it be hitting a landing page on to your website via a link, seeing a post on social media, or confirming a meeting time with a sales rep. This won't only be easy on you, but also for the target accounts, who may be willing to take action, but need some guidance with the next steps.
To summarize, ABM and direct mail can be really powerful duo given the digital overload many people are experiencing. By understanding the profile of your target account(s), and following it up with multichannel outreach / follow-ups, you will boost conversions and add value to your processes.
Creating personalized landing pages, setting up digital re-targeting campaigns, and having live chat alerts for your SDRs as soon as a high-targeted account lands on website are all useful ways to take advantage of your ABM direct mail campaigns.
Rich is a B2B marketing enthusiast with a passion for storytelling through relatable content and memorable experiences. Rich was one of the first founding team members of Postal when he started as an intern in 2019 and now holds the Content Marketing Manager role.