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Last year we shipped over 27,000 boxes on behalf of our clients. and learned a few lessons along the way. In this article, we’ll lay it all out for you.
Account-Based Marketing campaigns are at the heart of what we do for our clients. Using an offline channel like direct mail allows us to reach and engage decision makers from target enterprise accounts, and to break through the noise of emails and cold calls. Last year we shipped over 27,000 boxes on behalf of our clients, and learned a few lessons along the way. In this article, we’ll lay it all out for you.
· We’ll tell you why we chose direct mail in the first place
· We’ll review some of the most popular use cases for direct mail
· We’ll let you in on 12 lessons we learned along the way
· And finally, we’ll give you a few recommendations on how you can fuel growth in your businesses using our techniques
First though, a little about who we are and why we are discussing this space. Our focus at SaaSMQL is Account-Based Marketing, a B2B strategy that targets accounts within a desired market and focuses marketing resources on specific stakeholders within those businesses. Put simply, we help SaaS start-ups build demand generation campaigns that are targeted, multi-channel in scope, and ultimately, scalable. Much of our client base is venture-funded SaaS companies that we help with lead gen strategies. One of those strategies is direct-mail marketing. Let’s dig into more about why we chose this particular method of delivery.
For our business, we came upon SaaS direct mail as an option to reach specific companies and specific decision-makers within those companies.
We had tried cold calls, LinkedIn, and other forms of B2B marketing strategies that have worked for companies in the past. We found there just wasn’t enough engagement to produce viable leads for our sales team to pursue.
This is when SaaS direct-mail marketing became an option. Within a few weeks of our first mailing, we could already see an improved response. We had valid leads and actual appointments, with top decision-makers of our targeted accounts, some of which we had been pursuing for a while.
But beyond our results, there are even more reasons direct mail is a beneficial strategy for B2B lead-gen strategies. Here are a few we’ve come up with:
· Channel Diversification: When lead-gen strategies are stale or have been used ad nauseam, it is good to introduce a little diversity. Direct-Mail gives you that little bit of change to refresh tired campaigns.
· Better Attention: If you want a sure way to stand out from the noise of advertisements business stakeholders see daily, you must do something out of the ordinary. Mainly because of its flexibility in design, direct mail is a great way to accomplish this.
· Engage Specific Stakeholders: Investing money in direct mail forces you to look carefully at what you are sending, and to whom. Where it may not matter how many one-pagers you send to a business, larger direct mail pieces require a little more forethought.
· A Personal Touch: When you send pieces that are more expensive than postcards, we mentioned you tend to take more care to whom you send them. This accomplishes an important step in the customer buying cycle, namely the “know”. By personalizing your outreach, you have a better chance of capturing the attention you need.
· Great First Impression: We have already spoken about the impact of personalization, but there is another ripple effect that happens with this form of mail. You end up making a great first impression. When it comes to nailing the first impression with a business you are trying to work with, direct mail is your best calling card.
· Nurturing Step: Direct mail also helps you remain a top contender for their business mainly because you will stay in their mind. To prove this, think about your own experience with outreach. How many times did you get an email or LinkedIn message this past week? Compare that to how many times you’ve received a personally addressed direct mail package. Which one would you remember longer?
Now that we’ve peeked behind the curtain at our reasons for choosing a direct-mail strategy, let’s explore some of the ways this strategy can be put to good use.
As we touched on earlier, a direct-mail campaign is not going to be your cheapest endeavor, so it’s best to save it for important uses. Here are a few we think are worth your effort and investment.
This one is obvious, in that it is the one method we have been discussing at length. One of the best use cases for direct mail is as part of a multi-channel campaign where there is a form of lead-in and follow-up included. The idea that the mailer is one of many touchpoints is a valuable way of controlling your investment. You can control when the piece is received and provide personalized follow-up that can garner your sales team qualified, pre-vetted leads that are easier to convert.
When we touched on the idea that direct mail was a great first impression, we also mentioned it was a great way to stand out. When trying to win a new client or account, they are still in the awareness phase of their journey. Something memorable and tangible like a personalized mail piece is likely to remain at the top of their minds for a while. In fact, An ANA/DMA Response Report indicated that 70% of consumers preferred traditional mailers for unsolicited offers. This is your sweet spot. It is where you want to be when looking to sign new accounts.
Much the same way direct mail serves to give a great first impression, it can also serve to nurture leads you have already collected. According to Infosys, nearly 80% of consumers will only engage with offers that are personalized and that relate to their previous interactions with the business. Lead nurturing is an important part of the buyer cycle and movement through the funnel to an eventual conversion is aided through a good direct mail strategy.
Lead Retargeting is a great way to get in front of customers who may not have had a lasting impression with one of your other touchpoints. By re-introducing something more personalized you will likely have better results. According to Fundera, you actually have a 70% chance of capturing the engagement you’re looking for through direct mail, by using a personalized outreach like direct mail.
Lead re-engagement is another use for direct mail campaigns, as it adds that wow factor to your sales pitch, which could be just the thing to transform a cold lead into a warm one again. Never underestimate a second chance to make a first impression. It could be that your former efforts weren’t enough to capture their attention. With a cleverly-timed and curated direct mail piece, you could get that meeting you’ve been after.
Another, more popular use for direct mail, is the after-sales meeting follow-up. It is important to let your desired clients know you appreciate the time they spent reviewing your product. Not only does it leave a great impression, but as we mentioned earlier, you are now in the forefront of their mind again. Also, B2B direct mail campaigns are meant to be followed up with another touchpoint like email, so it is very likely these multiple touchpoints combined with a personal meeting could help close the deal.
As we mentioned before, direct mail helps move a customer through the buyer’s pipeline, leading to conversion. If it means helping a client move closer to signing a deal, what price would you pay? It’s all about leveraging different touchpoints, like direct mail, to keep your name on their tongue and a good impression in their mind.
This use case is like the sales meeting follow-up. Remember each touchpoint is about creating awareness and trust, and according to Tax Marketing HQ, there’s a 46% chance that familiarity with your company leads to conversion.
Finally, a new product launch is a great way to re-engage cold leads and help grease the wheels of your sales funnel. In fact, almost 60% of consumers responding to an Epsilon study, said they enjoyed getting a mailing about new products. It could be a B2B direct mail piece is the missing link between a sale and a formerly cold lead from your list.
Now that we’ve exhausted some uses for a direct mail campaign, it’s on to the lessons. As you can well imagine, with 27,000 direct mail deliveries in the past year, we have some insights to share. Let’s review the top 12 lessons we learned from our SaaS direct mail campaigns.
1. Don’t run direct mail campaigns in a silo. Avoid the one-off attempts at direct-mail marketing. You need buy-in from stakeholders and that takes the finesse of a multi-level marketing campaign with numerous touchpoints.
2. Use boxes, not paper for conversion. If you want to convert, boxes are the answer. People are less likely to toss aside a box than they are a postcard.
3. Keep the box value low. Aim for a value between $20 and $50 for better ROI and to stay below the radar of any package-value policies.
4. List and data accuracy are Vital. To make sure you are getting the best ROI, you need to narrow down the playing field. Look for key decision-makers only. The sweet spot lies somewhere between the C-level executives and the lower levels of management.
5. Don’t send junk. Now that you are finally getting the engagement and individual you are looking for, nothing can kill the sale more than a piece of junk with your company logo slapped on it. Invest in something like an edible or a decent quality useful item.
6. Integrate with other marketing channels. Much to the point, we made about avoiding a siloed campaign, making sure the supporting components of your marketing strategy align cohesively and naturally.
7. Size and quantity matter. We found the larger the box, the better the conversion. Also, in larger companies, we had better results by sending 10-12 boxes to different decision-makers within the same business.
8. Plan ahead. Make sure you do the numbers. Once you know your goals, you can reverse engineer your campaign volume based on those goals.
9. Track, track and track again. How will you know what works and what needs tweaking if you aren’t tracking your results? Figure out your KPIs and be relentless in your tracking.
10. Follow-up aggressively. You can’t make a bigger mistake than sending a valuable box that grabs instant attention and then letting the lead grow cold. Follow-up aggressively using a mix of touchpoints. It could be the difference between a new customer and a failed marketing strategy.
11. Make it Personal. Every touch point in the campaign should be person-to-person in nature. There shouldn’t be a form email or anything that looks like sales. It should just be a person requesting a meeting with another person from your target accounts.
12. Best Performer: Our absolute best-performing box concept included branded swag with a food item. To take it up a notch, partner with a local business to provide the edible, you’ll earn credibility and extra points for supporting local businesses.
The bottom line is – direct mail if done correctly, is an exceptional way to turn the right heads at the right companies. Our key takeaways?
· If you’ve never done a campaign like this, start small. You can always scale later
· Work on refining your targeted client accounts FIRST, then think about your deliverable.
· Organize your supporting content before you design your piece.
· Track, tweak, and repeat.
If you’ve been struggling with getting the attention of key stakeholders from your targeted accounts, give us a call. Let us build a B2B direct mail program for you. If you are a small business, or just want to start small, ask us about our Pilot program that grows with you.
Whatever your B2B Marketing concerns, trust SaasMQL to help scale and grow your business with ease.
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