Driving Qualified Meetings with Direct Mail Campaigns

April 30, 2020

When direct mail campaigns are integrated into a broader account-based marketing strategy, they become a powerful channel to break through the noise and reach your ideal contacts.

In 2020, modern ABM marketers are seeing direct mail emerge as an effective channel for B2B companies to engage and convert target accounts. When direct mail campaigns are integrated into a broader account-based marketing strategy, they become a powerful channel to break through the noise and reach your ideal contacts.

A New Generation of Account-Based Marketing

How many emails did you receive last week? How many of these do you remember? We receive an average of 121 emails a day - some work, some promotional, some spam, some newsletters, and some in between. It’s difficult to make a real impact in ABM using only email outreach, considering cold outreach emails can get filtered or go to spam. Now, how many packages did you receive at your desk last week? Given the special nature of a direct mail package, it’s no wonder the average response rates are so much higher than email, with direct mail seeing 4.4% and email only 0.12%. Receiving a nice gift right at your desk in the middle of the work week is memorable, and shows that the sender made the effort to do something different.

Direct mail used to be a logistical hassle, expensive, and time-consuming. Today, however, it can be automated. Tools like Marketo allow you to integrate your vendor with the CRM, so that you can build a library of mailers and trigger sends, (more on that later). Despite these new developments, at this point in time only about 38% of B2B companies are running Direct Mail campaigns. Get ahead of the curve by learning how to implement Direct Mail in your marketing campaigns.

The 3 Stages of Direct Mail Implementation 

There are three levels of maturity when implementing Direct Mail. We recommend starting with Stage 1 and scaling your efforts gradually to Stage 3. 

  • Stage 1 -  Batched: put together a single, nice direct mail offer, and a small list of target contacts. Order a one time batch, and send to all selected contacts at once. If it performs well, optimize the direct mail offer and move to Stage 2. 
  • Stage 2 - Integrated: it involves running the direct mail campaign in conjunction with other channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Adwords, Display ads, etc. The goal is to build a target list, segment by engagement, and target the same list across all platforms. The prospects will see your company’s ads online (repeatedly) before and after receiving your direct mail gift. The goal is to insert Direct Mail at the right part of the funnel, and once you start to see the increased value, move to Step 3.

Direct Mail Stages

  • Stage 3 - Triggered: this is the ultimate goal -- the most effective kind of direct mail campaign. Triggered direct mail campaigns leverage data and automation to target each prospect and account at the right stage and time. A step up from Integrated programs, these campaigns rely on multiple channels to ensure your prospects are constantly reminded of your company. A named account list is selected and targeted across multiple platforms. Leads are then scored based on their levels of engagement. When they reach a certain score (or stage), the CRM triggers the direct mail campaign with emails and physical box sends. By pre-producing a selection of mailers and triggering the direct mail at the right point in the funnel, you are only sending boxes to very engaged leads who are familiar with your brand, and have been pre-qualified as ideal customers. This system has proven to generate the highest conversion rates and ROI.
Direct Mail workflow

Different Types of Direct Mail Campaigns

Now that we’ve laid out the different stages of direct mail campaigns, there are many different goals your company can accomplish with direct mail. The first and most common is to generate qualified meetings. These mailers have a clear call-to-action (CTA) to take a demo, 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. Next are awareness campaigns, these can be a great way to warm cold leads or nurture dormant leads with a small gift, chocolate, or company swag, and a signed note. 

If you are hosting or sponsoring a trade show or conference, you can send an event invite to drive people to your booth or speaking session (maybe with an incentive if they show up with the invite), and an event follow-up to attendees who have not engaged. You can also use a custom mailer to invite prospects to register for your upcoming webinar.

Finally, you can trigger a new client welcome package to your champion and their team once a new client signs the agreement. For now, we will dive into the steps that go into building an example direct mail campaign with the goal of generating meetings and pipeline.

Steps to Building a Direct Mail Campaign

1. Build a branded box containing a one-pager, a box of nice caramels, and an offer for a $50 Amazon gift card (or another similar incentive).

2. Add a CTA for a personalized demo with a deadline to receive the gift card

3. Select a list of ideal contacts from target accounts that will receive the box

          a. Who is not happy with our competitors?

           b. Who has contracts coming up for renewals with a competitor

           c. Who is the right decision maker person/title/seniority?

4. Before the boxes ship, start a sales email sequence to these contacts, prompting them to accept the offer

5. Drive contacts to a custom landing page to request the personalized demo

6. Follow-up with contacts and convert them into opportunities 

7. Track campaign ROI in Salesforce

A Few Last Tips Before You Launch the Program

  • The #1 priority in the direct mail effort is the recipient list -- you don’t want to target contacts that are too senior or too junior. A box sent to the CEO of Walmart would get trashed no matter what you send, and an Intern would never have the decision-making power to champion your product. 
  • Take the time to verify every contact’s work address and email, people move around often and you don’t want to waste boxes on unverified contacts. 
  • Have a clear CTA on the box and in any follow-up emails, make it very clear what steps you are asking the prospect to take after receiving the box. 
  • Don’t overthink the design or over personalize, it is very hard to scale, and does not have a high impact on the return.
  • Box investment ranges from $10-$100+, so avoid expensive items (many companies have rules against employees accepting gifts over a certain value), and avoid “throw away” gifts that are too cheap.
  • Finally, always make sure to track results in Salesforce (or your CRM) to prove ROI, and follow up with recipients after they receive a box.

In Conclusion: Direct Mail Works for B2B!

Over and over we’ve seen Direct Mail campaigns exceed ROI expectations. Take for example Company A’s $30,000 investment in 1,000 direct mailers at $30/ea. They sent 100 packages a week for one quarter, and targeted 704 accounts within their ideal customer profile (ICP). After 3 months this campaign generated 37 opportunities at $810/Opp, for a total of $1.7MM in Pipeline. 

We’ve learned several lessons running countless direct mail campaigns, month after month:

  1. Direct mailers work for B2B, but only when it becomes a scalable process.
  2. Director-level is the sweet spot in terms of seniority, (you don’t want to go too high and miss it). 
  3. 30% of the time the prospects were so excited by the end of the demo they forgot about the gift card - but they also add that the direct mail was what triggered their interest to begin with.
  4. Although direct mail is effective for B2B, it works even better when integrated with other channels. You always want to target the prospects with digital ads, email marketing, content etc. 

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