4 Ways to Improve B-to-B Direct Mail
While the economy wrecked more than a few direct mail campaigns, it also likely improved many others simply because the environment became "sink or swim." That is especially true in the B-to-B space, in which prospective businesses are choosier than ever and will quickly turn off and dump mail that does not impress them.
So, what are the best ways to boost your next B-to-B direct mail campaign? Follow these tips from two prominent direct marketers—Gary Hennerberg and Bob Bly—both of whom have written countless B-to-B campaigns.
1. Go Backwards
"One place to start is to 'work backwards' from your product mix and look for the right products that will reactivate past customers and increase response from prospects," says Hennerberg.
For a spring 2010 test for one of his B-to-B clients, the package featured an oversized outer envelope with personalized teaser copy; a letter with strong headline and lede; and a brochure that included only the bestselling items instead of the full palate of products offered, along with a prominent description and screenshot of the website.
"[Because] these were prospects, and customers who hadn't purchased in some time, we were able to zero in on what they would most likely purchase," explains Hennerberg. "With product sales data, we could 'work backwards' into creative and an offer that proved to be a winner with a double-digit percentage lift."
2. Go Shorter
"In B-to-B, copy is getting shorter and shorter. In B-to-C, copy is getting longer and longer," says Bly, who notes that many B-to-B companies are taking their marketing dollars to the Web.
3. More Integration
Personalized URLs are all the rage in the B-to-B space. And it's largely because "pURLs can provide better tracking of results, especially viral results," according to Bly.
B-to-B efforts are integrated in less trendy ways as well, says Hennerberg. "Instead of using pURLs, we allocated prime space in a brochure to show a screen grab of the website complete with call-outs of where to find information, products, customer service, order history, free samples and more. Because we know the package lifted response, we believe the best integration was by illustrating how to use the website to find more products and place an order rather than calling the order in by phone."