Direct Mail Database

How to Give Your Direct Mail Database a Health Check…

Your customer and prospect data is the basis of all of your communication, and you must take care of it. Sales records, customer preferences, and most importantly, names and addresses are your way to generate leads and convert to sales or subscriptions, so you’ll want to make sure you’re armed with the best information. There’s an easy way to achieve optimum performance from your campaigns—by checking they’re in tip-top shape with a database health check.

500,000 people die in the UK each year

6,000,000 people move home each year in the UK

Databases of all sizes—from the thousands to the millions—should be checked regularly, and the reason is two-fold: Not only do you ensure your database is current, you also prevent wastage by delivering costly mailers to out-of-date addresses. Both of these reasons achieve one simple conclusion: Cost savings for you and your company, and extra budget to increase your direct-mail activity.

There is always a natural reluctance to remove hard won names from your data. After the time, effort and cost involved in winning your data to simply remove people inevitably feels like a regressive step rather than a positive one.

A data cleansing or data quality agency can take the legwork out of the exercise, allowing you to concentrate on producing the creative of your mailer. A larger, reputable agency will have volumes of information at their fingertips, that can improve the quality of your database at the press of a button.

Data matching is one such service that takes your current database and compares the records with those they have on file and adjusts or suppresses records that are affected by modifications. These can include out-of-date phone numbers, emails, change of postal and street addresses, and the deceased. By doing so, you eliminate any room for error, and can avoid possibly detrimental and embarrassing situations.

Removing duplicates is also important and also perhaps focusing on 1 name per address?

Your mailing house or data agency can also provide you with more information about your database pulled from a variety of sources. Profiling information that has been provided to other third parties about spending habits, income, family information and more, all with their consent and given to you completely above board so that you can better understand your data – and of course potentially rent external data as you seek to grow your business. Think of the potential direct mail opportunities that can come from this kind of additional data.

Overall a direct mail database health check is something every direct mail specialist should conduct on a regular basis at least twice a year. It’s fast, it’s efficient, and it gives you even more insight into those you wish to convert.

http://www.qas.co.uk/knowledge-centre/support/glossary/data-healthcheck.htm

http://www.datahealthcheck.co.uk/

 

Contact First Move today on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk for help your Direct Mail campaigns and data management.

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direct mail responses

How to Increase Direct Mail Responses

Direct mail is one of the most effective forms of marketing, yet with any marketing initiative activity, you need to measure its efficacy. While the goals of each campaign will vary — from sales or sign-ups to brand awareness, the bottom line is the most important. You can learn with very little effort just how successful your campaign has been by looking at your direct mail responses and response rates, but it takes a little more initiative to increase it. Don’t fear — there’s a science to it, and there are certain tips and tricks to increase your response rate.

 

Research

While it might sound obvious, you must understand what your market needs and what it will respond to. Before you begin, gain as much insight as you can into your data, or if the information isn’t  readily available, learn your customers demographics by profiling them against an external  data source and make some well thought through assumptions, at the very least.

 

Personalise

Successful campaigns are personalised and relevant to your audience. These days with direct mail capabilities, you can do so much more than ever before, such as personalised URLs, QR codes that take a customer to their own page on a mobile device, or their sales history included within the copy of the mailer. Whatever you do, make it effective and personalise from front to back. Show you recognise them as an individual.

 

Cleanse Your Database

Target the right prospects by ensuring your records are correct and up to date. There’s no use sending out mailers to those who might who have moved on from their location or are deceased. Perform due diligence yourself, or enlist an agency to do it for you to prevent embarrassment and wasted printing and postage.

 

Be Clear About the Message 

This is possibly one of the most crucial points of direct mail as you’d hate to waste an opportunity. Keep the creative clear and eye-catching, use a strong call to action so the prospect knows what they have to do and by when, and sell them the benefit as wells as the features. Make them believe that your product or service is the only one they need. And give them a reason that they need it now.

 

Make It Easy To Respond

You want your customer to respond, so you want to make it easy for them. Integrate direct mail digitally with a website that’s accessible across all devices, provide a toll-free or local telephone number for which they won’t have to pay, or include a postage-paid reply envelope. They’re small details, but they’re worth considering for a greater response.

 

Something Lumpy!

Who’s going to throw away an envelope with something squishy, lumpy or bulky? It’s the one way to guarantee that they open it. It could be a product sample, a fun trinket, or a something witty that references the creative. And while it mustn’t be a huge cost, something to make an extra connection with your customer can be priceless.

 

Contact First Move today on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk for help with your Direct Mail campaigns.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

What are the patterns of behaviour when it comes to Direct Mail?

Why use Direct Mail within your Marketing Mix?

What makes people open their direct mail?

 

 

Split Test

Direct Mail – 4 Ways to Split Test

The true measure of success of any direct mail campaign is its response rate, but how do you know that what you’re doing couldn’t be improved? Not only is a mailing an effective broadcast method to your database, but it has an inbuilt feedback system that allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of its communication. The strength of direct mail lies in the ability to make slight or even large changes to your mailer at a whim, or as part of a greater strategy to discover what works best.

We will cover four different ways to assess the capabilities of your campaigns and hence increase your Return on Investment.

 

1. A/B Testing

You would’ve heard these words used often, but what’s the A to Z on A/B? With two sample sets and a different approach for each—either the headline, the offer, the artwork, or combination of all three—you can analyse which is the best way to talk to your audience. You work on the assumption that small changes can have an overall effect on the campaign, and thus, alter the outcome of its results. For example, in a recent mailer, the response rate increased four times just by printing the offer on the envelope.

A/B testing is perfect if you’re planning on sustaining your campaign, or if you are experimenting with different approaches to refining your engagement with your customers in order to deduce how best to relate to them. With a reputable response method in place, you will soon learn what your audience responds to best, and garner a greater understanding of them, and thereby offer them an appropriate product at the best time.

 

2. Technical/Lifestyle

A/B isn’t about superficial or contextual changes, it can also be a significant change in the message, meaning two differing approaches for various sections of your database. One such example is by changing the focus of your campaign —either technical or lifestyle — to see which resonates the most with your demographic. A technical-focused campaign relies on the solid facts to close the sale. You might take this line if your product’s strongest selling point is its technological advancement in the marketplace. Whereas, a lifestyle-focused campaign is likely to stir an emotional benefit lead response from your audience — reserve these for when your buyer might react on impulse rather than making a considered purchase.

One example is a recent campaign. The database was split and we tried both a technical and lifestyle approach, as our client was uncertain, which would pull more responses. We found that the technical approach outstripped lifestyle two to one. Customers were impressed by what the technical and engineered improvements to their machine as well as, its price point, and benefits. While the lifestyle focus showed how it was going to make life easier. In this instance it was the solid engineering that customers were more responsive to.

 

3. 90/10 Splits

While most of us think of A/B testing as an even 50/50 split of the database, 90/10. 80/20 or 70/30 testing are lower risk ways of testing a new idea or different approach. While the majority of your database will receive the principal communication, a small portion will allow you to experiment with a select group. For example, use it to provide an alternate offer, extend or decrease your deadline, or try out your new corporate branding to gauge their response. It’s a small idea with big potential, so ask your direct marketing professional to advise.

 

4. Testing Data

You know a lot about your customers or prospects, so it’s worth putting this knowledge to good use. Test your data before implementing it to understand what kind of reach and response you’ll receive well before going to print. Run a small sample against previous sales records and determine what kind of trends your campaign will follow. Did they purchase at a particular time? What was the period before a repeat sale? How long did they take to jump into action? These are assumptions you can turn into facts, and extend your knowledge of your customers purchase behaviour as well as solidifying your data, making it easier and more detailed for growing your data base through acquisition.

 

Please contact us enquiries@firstmove.co.uk or call 01494 539300 for more information.

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A guide to testing in direct mail

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Direct Mail Opening Lines

Opening lines to get their attention…

First impressions are lasting, but when was the last time an opening line grabbed you? Discount this, special offer that—they all get lost in the mire of the letterbox tat that generally serves no purpose other than kitty litter. If you’ve a product to push, your responsibility lies in the creative execution, and targeted direct mail is the solution. Ask yourself, how do I stand out from the rest?

In our 25 years in the industry, you’d hope we’d learnt a thing or two about direct mail. It’s a science that deftly manoeuvres itself between both advertising and psychology: Be relatable to the recipient, make them identify with the message, and ultimately, provide a solution to a pre-existing problem.

So how do you solve a problem like a prospect? It’s simple: A large part of a compelling direct marketing campaign is having your recipient respond to your proposition in the first place. Here are thirteen lines that not only get their attention, but make them jump to attention.

  1. How much time and effort do you spend on…?
  2. Only one week left. Act now.
  3. We’d like to thank you for…
  4. When did you last…
  5. Solve the problem of…
  6. Discover how to…
  7. Save time and money by…
  8. New and greatly improved…
  9. News has just been released that…
  10. Solve the problem of…
  11. Improve your…
  12. Revealed the Secrets that…
  13. Exclusive customer offer inside…

 

Contact First Move today on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk for help with your Direct Mail campaigns.

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5 direct mail campaigns

Direct Mail Ideas – 5 Campaigns Done Right

Looking for inspiration for your next direct mail project? In this article we showcase some great Direct Mail Ideas to get you thinking about your next campaign

We all suffer from information overload—phone, voicemail, email—and in such a data-driven world, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Making your message heard has its challenges, but with direct mail, there is great opportunity in presenting something physical and tangible to your prospects.

With printed matter comes incredible scope for creativity, meaning that you can deliver your message to your audience in a way that is bound to be noticed.

Direct mail is far more than an envelope and some inclusions. It’s about perfectly executed timing, a solid and targeted database, and strong and engaging creative. Here are five examples of some great direct mail ideas that should inspire your next campaign.

Kitty Mail

CatNip

 

If your cat was sniffing around the mail slot, then there’s a possible explanation. Vancouver-based Rethink created a mailer that was soaked in catnip to advertise Bulk Cat Litter Warehouse’s product. The result? Cats going crazy over the mail and a high engagement with pet owners.

 

IKEA 

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IKEA is known for its flatpack furniture convenience, so what could be more demonstrative than a self-assembling version of one of their most famed tables—in miniature?

 

ADT Security

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If you walked into your front door and saw a large cube sitting by the door, you’d reconsider your home’s security, and that’s just what ADT did with their cube that would open once put under the door or in the mail slot.

 

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With all that is digital these days, sometimes it’s worth stepping even further back in time for a little creative inspiration. This mailer opened to reveal a real record player that would work by the included record on a pencil!

Business In The Community (BITC)

0d65132b-e299-4a5e-bd4e-a3317d540bd1And finally a homegrown example and DMA Awards 2014 Grand Prix winner that’s perhaps a little more serious, but no less creative. BITC’s challenge was to encourage employers to remove the the tick box from job applications requiring prospective candidates to reveal their criminal past. To combat prejudice and perpetual unemployment, they distributed mock CVs with impressive qualifications that soon turned to doubt from the perspective of the employer’s internal monologue.

These were distributed to HR departments of UK employers (along with a supporting digital and advertising campaign), with a resulting 17 companies removing the mandatory requirement from their forms, including presitigious law firm Freshfields÷Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

The result? 627 former offenders have now found employment, which translates to a saving of approximately £29.5 million to the UK economy. Now that’s an impressive direct marketing result.

So be creative, or let us be creative for you…let us get our thinking caps on and give you some of our great direct mail ideas.

Find out more about our creative direct mail services.

 

Contact First Move today on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk for help with your Direct Mail campaigns.

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Set Up a Direct Mail Campaign

The Right Way to Set Up a Direct Mail Campaign

Having completed over 25 years of direct mail campaigns averaging 40 a week, we’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the world’s best direct marketers. We’ve seen and experienced how they put their campaigns together, while adding our own expertise and knowledge into the mix to make for high ROI campaigns.

The most successful campaigns appear effortless in their execution, but it’s those with the most level of preparation that yield the most success. Here’s what we’ve learned as an outline of what every successful direct mail campaign contains.

 

Define your objectives

Figuring out what you wish to achieve with your campaign is the best place to start. Not only does it affect the design of the overall strategy, but can simplify just how you go about it. Whether it’s sales-focused or sign-ups-driven, think about what kind of conversion would satisfy the needs of the campaign. For those that are designed with brand awareness in mind, think about what kind of metrics you would use in order to measure its efficacy. We find defining objectives upfront invaluable when predicting the outcome.

 

Create a targeted list

Whether an internal database or a purchased list, the best direct mail campaigns target prospects with appropriate segmentation, the more available information the better. Think about the particular cohorts you wish to speak to and any behaviour that can help you increase conversions. Where do they live? Where do they shop? What kind of offers would interest them? The questions of who, what, where, why and when, help you the most effective method of communication for your data set.

 

Create your mailing design

As the vehicle for your campaign, the design is integral to its success. When developing your mailing materials, pay close attention to each element, whether it’s a letter, a flyer, special offer or a reply card. Are they eye-catching? Are they clear in their communication? Does the envelope scream “Open me”? Seek advice from your designer and direct-mail specialist, and don’t afraid to be creative. As a rule of thumb, 20 percent of the response is influenced by the design or writing of the mailing item, so give it the time and attention it deserves.

 

Then make sure your creative answers these 4 questions

1. Why should anyone read it?

2. Why should anyone believe it?

3. Why should anyone do anything about it?

4. Why should it be acted upon immediately?

 

Code your mailing

Set yourself up for highly accurate and measured results: Give your campaign a distinct identifier with personalised coding. With this information, you can determine which elements of your campaign are the highest performing and look at improving future distributions, as well as assessing the success of the existing one.

 

Test your campaign

The beauty of direct mail is in its flexibility. Why have just one offer when you can have many to establish just which is the most effective? A/B testing achieves even more from your campaigns. Try different calls to action on your envelope, change the wording of the offer to see which has the most engagement, or change the parameters of the database sample and watch the results roll in. With experimentation comes wisdom, and this wisdom is something we’ve acquired over the past two-and-a-half decades. Many approaches to the one campaign can offer insight into your database and how to best achieve an increased response rate with future mailings.

 

Distribute your mailer

Once you’ve fine-tuned your campaign, it’s ready for distribution, but there’s a lot more involved than putting a stamp on the envelope and sending it out into the wild. Bulk mailings require special consideration, largely so the postman doesn’t have a fit! We can advise on the requirements of the Royal Mail, and make adjustments to your campaign so it accommodates them. You might be eligible for Royal Mail discounts, in which case, gives you even greater ROI for a large-volume distribution.

 

Handle responses

Be confident in your ability to handle an influx of responses by being prepared. A test campaign will help you understand the response rate and plan for the extra demand on your resources, giving you ample time to assess a temporary staffing solution with your direct mail supplier should you need one. While you wait for the phone to ring, this is the perfect opportunity for additional training for your staff. The experience should be seamless for the customer from the moment they receive the mailing in their letterbox to when they connect with your team members for their new product or service.

 

Measure your results

Finally, and possibly the most insightful, your current campaign’s results are key for planning the next. Look at the rate of response and see if you can discern any correlation between the recipients and their behaviour, and of course, how it affected the bottom line. Your direct mail provider will have examples of previous campaigns to benchmark yours against, and will allow you to predict future responses. Make the necessary adjustments and commence your next phase of distribution for a simple and effective direct mail campaign.

 

Please contact us enquiries@firstmove.co.uk or call 01494 539300 for more information.

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Award Winning Direct Marketing

Award Winning Direct Marketing

HOW WE HELPED TO PROVE
THE GTECH AIR RAM IS THE BEST
VACUUM CLEANER EVER.

Last month we told you how we took home a silver DMA Award, but how did we do it? Our client Gtech and their direct mail campaign has revolutionised the cordless vacuum marketplace. In short, turning a general loathing of vacuuming into a love of vacuuming for thousands of consumers. But how?

Gtech couldn’t rely entirely on the short narrative of TV and page advertisements to tell the whole story. By taking data of previous Gtech carpet-cleaner customers and testing alongside external prospect lists, it enabled Gtech to redefine their customer base and grow their direct sales.

One of the key factors to our success has been our constant measurement and refinements of campaigns. When testing new media, we employ order tracking tools, unique phone numbers on TV and codes in press and direct mail. We then measure response against web traffic, calls and sales data. We profile all customers’ sales by postcode region and map this within TV regions, which provides valuable demographical insights and is critical to identifying ROI and value for money against a traded CPM.

While vacuuming could never be called glamorous (unless you do it in an evening dress or a tuxedo) we took Gtech’s new AirRam vacuum, designed a unique, lightweight, simple, clean mailer, that was low-cost to post, while displaying the proposition without unwrapping and delivered it to over 1,500,000 British homes via the Royal Mail.

Our campaign made use of press coverage, specifically the Daily Mail, and leveraged their claim, “Is this the best vacuum cleaner ever?” By placing the proposition with a great exclusive offer and imagery of the cordless vacuum, one’s curiosity could only be piqued.

And it was. With a whopping 4.3% conversion to sale.

One of the challenges of the campaign came from the relative obscurity of Gtech and how exactly to convince the consumer of their reputation. Through the campaign we delivered resolutions to any hesitations by putting them in the mailer and by helping establish Gtech as the market leader.

So why not have a talk to First Move about how we can create a similar campaign for you with such impressive results? While vacuum cleaners might, direct mail certainly does clean up, awards and all.

 

Please contact us enquiries@firstmove.co.uk or call 01494 539300 for more information.

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Silver DMA Award

First Move Win Business to Consumer Silver DMA Award

Now that the champagne buzz has worn off, there’s cause for celebration here at First Move.

We don’t mean to boast, but not only do we have all of your direct mail needs covered, but we can make them award-winning.

At this week’s 2014 DMA Awards,Jon-David First Move took home Silver
in the Business to Consumer category.

We helped our client, Gtech, achieve incredible results with their AirRam cordless vacuum cleaner.

How did we do it?

With a little creativity and a lot of direct marketing expertise.

Find out more about our award-winning campaign for Gtech here.

 

While accolades are wonderful, we also take these kinds of events seriously.

Not only do we meet with our industry peers, but it’s an opportunity to take home knowledge we can apply to your business.

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At the DMA Awards, the buzz was about engagement, digital, social and data, just what we have been purporting here at First Move for some time.

Diane-PhilWe’re taking everything we’ve learned and will show you further insight into market trends and how you can transform your business with direct mail.

 

So let’s all share in our joint success and create better returns on investment, together, after all we’ve proved we can do it for Gtech, so let’s see if we can help you do it too.

 

 

Contact First Move today on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk for help with your Direct Mail campaigns.

Why Direct Mail in the 21st Century?

Why Direct Mail in the 21st Century?

Is Direct Mail old fashioned? Tired – past its Prime? Overtaken by e-mail?

The above are typical of comments heard over the last few years.

The main comparison marketers undertake is between e-mail and direct mail – they both have their strengths and weaknesses so let’s explore this.

There is no one way to undertake your marketing – you should be using all the methods available to communicate and sell that are open to you. Research proves that using more than one method together increases effectiveness by on average 24% over using the individual methods on their own.

 

E-mail –   is fast, quick, low cost and research shows people prefer it as a method of communication when they know the organisation that is contacting them. In 2013 average open rates were 19.6% (consumer products faired better at 25.4%) and a unique click through rate of 16.9%. Only 3.0% of those who received the e-mail actually visited a webpage and that generated an average response rate of 0.12%. Where you have a relationship with the individual results improve and the top performers had an open rate of 38.6% but 25% of e-mailers only achieved 7%.

This data shows that e-mail can and does work but the sheer volume of clutter in peoples in-boxes, shows that e-mails are great at communication mainly if the recipient knows you.

However setting out to build a business and generating new enquiries is far more difficult due to low open and response rates and the difficulty in sourcing good quality e-mail lists.

 

Direct Mail – 100% delivery, 56% of people believe that printed marketing is the most trust worthy form of communication, 66% of consumers keep their mail for over 2 weeks. Even in a digital world direct mail gets 44% of recipients to go your website. Average response rates are 4%. Overall 7% of receivers will take some sort of action.

Research undertaken at Bangor University looked at how the brain reacts to printed material versus virtual stimuli. The “real” experience that the physical media provides means it’s better at becoming part of memory. It generates more emotion, helps to develop more positive brand associations, the materials have a more personal effect, and therefore aid motivation.

Direct mail has a response rate of 30 times that of e-mail and coupled with the availability of large quantities of reliable data provides a great opportunity to build your business. Costs are of course higher which is why you have to adopt the right approach to making it work.

 

Bibliography
Silverpop 2013 E-mail marketing metrics study
DMA response rates 2012
Royal Mail
Millward Brown – Using Neuroscience to understand the role of direct mail.

David Amor is Managing Director of First Move direct marketing, a leading mailing house located in the Thames Valley and sponsors of the 2014 DMA Awards Business to Consumer category.

Contact First Move today on 01494 854732 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk for help with your Direct Mail campaigns.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Why use Direct Mail within your Marketing Mix?

Key Statistics: Direct Mail vs Email

Harness the power of digital to execute your direct mail campaigns