The 5 Ws of Successful Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail has evolved.

The days of sending a piece of direct mail that reads “Current Resident” should be far behind you, especially when reaching out to inactive customers. So much information is collected from customers; why not put it to work for you?

Using the information collected from customers – the data – lets you set parameters, target those individuals who are likely to purchase, and shape your marketing strategy.

Using data to shape your direct mail efforts is most useful when measured against the 5 Ws:

Who: Look at your customer database, specifically those incomplete records. Direct mail can fill the void where email addresses are missing.

By concentrating solely on email marketing, how many people in your database are you not contacting because they don’t have an email on file? Remember, customers with physical addresses can be strategically targeted as well. Direct mail marketing has an average 3.7% response rate when targeting unresponsive customers.

When messages are personalized you also increase the chance for conversion. Nearly nine in 10 consumers say personalization has some form of impact on their purchase decisions.

What: Identify the goal you want to achieve. Recipients should be able to easily identify the offer and what they need to do. Don't overwhelm them; provide clear images, bold text, and relevant offers.

Whether you want a phone call or website visit, provide a unique code that will help track the activity or engagement from the communication. The data collected can be used to adjust future communications to help ensure you are achieving your goals.

Where: Your Primary Market Area (PMA) is where 80 percent of your business comes from. This includes your best zip codes to sell and service in, as well as your best zip codes to target conquest customers.

Are you taking advantage of the neighboring zip codes to drive a potential car buyer to your lot, or are you letting the other guy have this one?

When: Determine the stage of the buying cycle for those on your “Who” list and cater to their needs. For existing customers, use their service schedule to time their offers. For potential customers, offer a buy back incentive to get them into one of your vehicles.

Match your mailings to current campaigns in other marketing channels. Do not expect consumers to come to you; you have to be where consumers are.

Why: Direct mail is hard to ignore. Recipients have to physically interact with the mailing to see if it is relevant – which it should be, if you’ve applied the data from the other Ws. Without data you risk wasting time, money, and resources on blanket messages that have little chance of reaching someone who is likely to purchase.

Focusing your direct mail strategies by filtering them through the “5 Ws” is essential for success. Data used effectively allows you to be in tune with consumers and start the conversation with them. Use direct mail as an opportunity to establish a lasting relationship.