7 Steps to launching your first B2B Direct Mail campaign
June 23, 2020
Direct mail is the best-performing direct response channel, bringing in results “10 to 30 times better than email”. Most companies don’t leverage direct mail because it's hard to execute, and requires plenty of time and resources. Here we will go over the 7 steps to launching a direct mail campaign.
Competition between B2B companies has been increasingly fierce in recent years. Yet in 2020, modern ABM marketers are seeing direct mail emerge as an effective channel for B2B companies to engage and convert target accounts. While B2C marketing campaigns typically attempt to evoke emotion, B2B direct mail campaigns have more specific objectives, such as securing meetings or inviting prospects to events. According to Sumo, direct mail is the best-performing direct response channel, bringing in results “10 to 30 times better than emails”. This is because there’s a certain amount of excitement that comes with opening a physical letter or package addressed to you and not knowing what’s inside.
The main reason why the majority of companies don’t leverage direct mail is that it’s a very hard campaign to execute, and it requires plenty of time and resources. In this article we will go over the 7 steps to launching your first direct mail campaign:
defining goals and budget
building your target contacts list
building your offer
creating a custom landing page
setting up an automated email sequence
1. Define goals and budget
There are many different goals your company can accomplish with direct mail. The most common, and the one we will discuss here, is to generate qualified meetings. These direct mail pieces have a clear call-to-action (CTA) to take a meeting, and usually come with an incentive such as a gift card. This kind of direct mail campaign must be followed by an email campaign to follow-up with the contact after they receive the box. Once you’ve defined your goals, take a look at the budget you are working with for this campaign - your budget will help determine what kind of offer your team can build for this campaign, and how many recipients you will be able to target.
2. Build your target contacts list
When you focus your efforts on ideal target companies, you maximize the campaign’s efficacy and conversion. Once you have established the requirements that a company must have in order to be included in your target account list, you should start looking at which accounts have been demonstrating intent in purchasing your solution - you want to focus your direct mail efforts on “warm accounts” who are showing some intent, versus “cold” accounts that may not have heard of your product yet.
Upload your target accounts list to a database and use the information you’ve discovered about your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) (i.e. where they are located, seniority, job title keywords) to narrow down a list of target contacts that are within your ICP and working at warm accounts. Make sure to always verify your list - make sure the contact is still at this role (use LinkedIn), and find the most up to date office address so you don’t waste too many mailers. Learn more about building your target list here.
3. Build your offer
Your offer should be eye-catching and useful to your recipient. “Junk” gifts like cheap earphones or small toys are likely to get thrown away by the recipient, and not leave the impression you were hoping for. We recommend nice food gifts that someone at the office will enjoy, and/or custom gifts tailored to your brand/offer. Your mailer should feature relevant messaging for your target persona, with an eye-catching headline outside of the box, and your CTA printed on the box and/or on a concise one-pager. For example, Travelbank, a corporate travel and expenses platform, ran an offer where the recipient was sent a nice, custom travel wallet, and an incentive offer for an Uber or Lyft gift card. The campaign generated great results due to the thought and effort that went into building a custom campaign tailored to their target audience. On the right we have another example offer - this one included handmade local biscotti with a small jar of nutella. A delicious, thoughtful treat for the recipient, with an incentive for an Amazon gift card after they take a meeting. See more direct mail campaign examples here.
4. Create custom landing page
You will want to set up a unique landing page for each direct mail campaign/segment. The landing page should remind your recipients of the offer and incentive, and give them a way to schedule a meeting with you. This landing page should be printed on your box or one pager, and also included in the follow-up emails. Here is an example below: reminder of the offer on the left, and calendly link to schedule an intro call.
5. Set up an automated email sequence
Before the boxes ship, you should start a simple sales email sequence to these contacts to “warm them up” and underline the fact that the box is being shipped as a personal touch. We suggest creating a new inbox for one of your sales reps (not a “group”, but a separate inbox). This inbox should be used only for these campaigns so that it can be connected to your email automation tool. A sales-email oriented service, like PersistIQ or Reply.io, are best for sending emails to direct mail prospects. After a couple of emails, try to verify the recipient’s address by letting them know that you are sending them a box and want to confirm the correct office address:
After the boxes ship, you need to follow up with the campaign recipients to make sure they received the box and remind them of your offer and incentive. Following up is arguably the most important step of the direct mail process. Most prospects are very busy and may not take the time to type in the landing page link and schedule the meeting themselves. After a few follow-up emails, we suggest having your sales reps call prospects and/or send them LinkedIn messages to get the conversation started.
7. Track ROI
Keep track of your successes! Track campaign results within your CRM (such as Salesforce) by logging all interactions with prospects, and tagging every prospect with their respective campaign. By tracking campaign success, you can determine whether or not a campaign was successful and if you should repeat it. Take all relevant campaign data to understand the complete ROI picture for each campaign.
Bonus: Move from “batched” to “triggered” campaigns
Take all the learnings from your campaign to optimize future campaigns. For example, check the response rate for each email in the sequence - did some have lower response rates? How can you change the copy to make them more compelling? Or, if the feedback showed that recipients really like the offer and incentive, how can you replicate the same campaign with even higher conversion? After learning from your first few direct mail campaigns, you can scale your efforts into integrated and triggered campaigns. Learn more about how to scale your direct mail efforts here.
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