Direct mail is experiencing something of a renaissance, as sales teams look for new ways to reach consumers who are struggling with digital fatigue and tuning out online advertising.

In particular, handwritten direct mail can provide businesses with a valuable opportunity to capture people’s attention, trigger an emotive response and nurture a meaningful connection. Consider the last time you received a hand-addressed piece of post, it’s associated with care and thoughtfulness.

The challenge is planning and executing your own handwritten direct mail campaign and opening up this sales channel. We know this is uncharted territory for many - which is why we’ve created this helpful guide!

 

 

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WHY- Outline your campaign brief

The first step to any direct mail campaign is identifying your goal. Why are you launching this activity, and what do you hope to achieve? Establish clear objectives, such as:

  •    Booking meetings with prospective customers
  •    Inviting prospective customers to an event
  •    Progress stalled opportunities in the pipeline

Now for the second step. If you don’t set specific targets from the start, you’ll never be satisfied with a campaign’s results. It’s essential you identify tangible metrics such as:

  •    Response rate: How many recipient accounts responded asking for more information
  •    Conversation rate: How many meetings have been booked
  •    Opportunities in pipeline: How many target companies are you having conversations with?
  •    Deal close rates (Are they improving?)
  •    Time to close (Is it decreasing?)
  •    Deal size (Is it increasing?)
  •    Upsell/cross-sell opportunities (Are they increasing?)
  •    Event attendance rate: How many people RSVPed or attended your event?

Complete this sentence: My campaign aims to (goal) by achieving (target metric)

E.g. My campaign aims to generate new sales by achieving a 20% conversion rate from notes sent to meetings booked.

 

WHO - Identify your audience

 Handwritten direct mail campaigns sit at the opposite end of the spectrum to batch and blast door drop campaigns. This shouldn’t be a random collection of addresses pulled together on a whim. It’s time to get your magnifying glasses on your prospects and understand your buyer persona.

To ensure your recipient feels a sense of authenticity upon opening the envelope, focus on specific segments to match your specific campaign purpose, such as:

  •       ‘Wishlist’ prospects
  •       Industry by industry
  •       Job title by job title

Following GDPR, sellers and marketers are having to adapt to new rules around data confidentiality. However, the DMA states that businesses don’t need to acquire explicit consent before sending recipients direct mail, so long as they can claim legitimate interest.

 

How to identify your persona?

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Understanding your ideal customer persona helps to create content that resonates. Answer these questions to paint the picture of how you contact them, when to contact them and what you say.

  • What is their role?
  • What are their success metrics?
  • What challenges do they face?
  • What expertise are they lacking?
  • What opportunities are they missing?
  • What timelines do they work to?
  • What are their priorities?

 

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WHEN - Set a realistic timeline

Every sales campaign needs a timescale, so what are you working towards?

  • Seasonal peak
  • Product launch
  • Contract end date
  • Event date

Whatever date you’re focused on, plan backwards. Consider when your note should land to get the best response. For instance, if you’re offering customers a special seasonal offer, schedule your note to land at least a couple of weeks before the discount deadline to give people a chance to purchase.

  • When does your mail need to reach recipients?
  • When should it be posted? (1st class UK delivery takes 1-3 days, international delivery takes 5-7 days)
  • When does the campaign need to be uploaded to the Inkpact platform? (Inkpact turnaround time is 7 working days for single campaigns or 3 working days for ongoing frequent campaigns)
  • When should recipient lists, message copy and stationery design be signed off internally?

Direct mail can be surprisingly nimble in response to events in the customer journey. Set up frequent campaigns to be turned around in 72 hours, based on certain triggers:

  • After attending a meeting or event
  • After online documents are read
  • After circumstances change

You can also improve the timeliness of your direct mail by integrating it within a multi-channel sales campaign, so post appears at the same time as an email, call or digital advertising.

 

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WHAT - Create your content

First impressions get your direct mail from the doormat into your prospects’ hands, opened and read, so you need to make it count. Handwritten envelopes massively outperform all other channels, achieving close to 100% open rates. Really, there’s no contest.

Design

 Direct mail costs traditionally include design, materials, printing and postage. While you could slap a few words on a multipack of cards, mail them all out and see what happens, mediocre presentation is likely to lead to mediocre results.

 

Get the best possible results with a handwritten direct mail campaign that represents both your company image and your attitude towards customers.

Avoid heavy branding and lead with quality. Not only do beautifully scribed notes on premium stationery portray your business in a positive light, they also treat recipients in a thoughtful, considered and personal manner. So it’s a win win.

Copy

  • Tone… Use a friendly tone of voice rather than the formal funk we employ over email
  • Personalisation… A first name isn't enough! Detail specifically how you can help them by working together
  • Length… Keep it short and to the point (these are busy people)

Format

Add value in some way, teach them something or make them smile:

  •    Additional information such as a report, case study or testimonial can be printed and inserted into the envelope, or provided through digital access.
  •    A gift may be appreciated by recipients and linked to your brand

We have a handful of useful templates to lend some inspiration. Request copy templates here.

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HOW - Outsourcing your campaign

A huge pile of blank stationery and envelopes can be daunting to even the most dedicated office intern. Handwriting direct mail is a resource-heavy task, and one which requires a steady hand and creative flair. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and flowing calligraphy isn’t a universal skill.

Handwritten direct mail campaigns also require a high level of organisation. Personalised content tends to loses all of its appeal if names are misspelt or addresses are mixed up. In an ideal world, you want to combine the order of a CRM with the warmth of human touch.

Luckily, Inkpact’s online platform makes it easy to send a handwritten direct mail campaign without you ever needing to pick up a fountain pen!

 

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NOW WHAT - Measuring your success

Tech can empower your business to utilise high levels of personalisation in a scalable way, ultimately establishing better customer relationships and achieving stronger business outcomes. This switch from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ sales approach to more bespoke tactics can truly transform your results.

For our best practices on designing a follow up process & tracking your campaign results to get the best possible ROI check out our guide here.

99%

Open rate

33%

Response rate

10%

Converted into sales

Download our guide