Reduce Direct Mail Spend Without Hurting Your Business
Direct marketers fear cutting costs too deep and impacting the ability to generate revenue, forgoing potential acquisition, losing market share, or just damaging the franchise or customer relationships. Regarding direct mail spend, marketers can do a number of things to cut costs and increase ROI while minimizing the impact on overall revenue and key customer acquisition and retention metrics.
1. Shift to e-mail, particularly as a substitute for follow-up mailings in a multiwave campaign. E-mails are not always ideal for initial prospecting. However, they can be terrific and much less expensive for follow-up communications and, in conjunction with an initial direct mail piece, often increase overall response rates for a campaign. They also provide more options for tracking responses in a more granular fashion—e.g., opens and forwards. A membership association did this very effectively for its renewal mailings. It found e-mails were effective in getting the majority of its members to renew as well as to drive them to the Web, where the cost of renewal was lower. It now reserves direct mail for the laggards who do not respond to e-mail reminders or cases where it does not have valid e-mail addresses. This has driven down renewal costs significantly.
2. Provide multiple response mechanisms within the direct mail piece for the respondent, including personal URLs (PURLs). This not only increases response rates, but also reduces the need for follow-up mail, again reducing costs. As an example, in the fundraising space, it is typical to ask donors to increase the amount of their giving by reminding them of their last contributions and suggesting that they give a little more. Both the direct mail piece and the PURL can reflect this by making the regular contribution the default but highlighting the desired amount. PURLs also can make it easier for contributors to suggest others in their network, who are more likely to give if they have been referred by a friend.