By now you are probably sold on the fact that relevant communications are better than generic ones. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, read up on our last 2 blog posts. With today’s technology, providing a more personalized and targeted message is crucial in order to cut above the noise. However, just by putting “Dear John Doe” on a letter doesn’t guarantee results – it just shows you know the person’s name (and how to mail merge)! When looking at how to make communications more relevant there is another angle to consider that goes beyond looking at your database. The focus here is: What have you done for me lately?
What we’re talking about is understanding how the recipient engaged with previous messages and personalizing the next touch appropriately. Think about your own communications. If someone never engages with your email, do you do anything different next time around? Do you continue to mail to someone who never responds to your mailings? All of these behaviors can be used for actionable personalization.
The great thing about this method is that it can be utilized for digital and offline channels. Let’s look at some examples:
If someone doesn’t open your email, do you just leave it at that and move on? An easy way to “personalize” the next touch would be to change up the subject line and resend the email to those who didn’t open the first one. You will be surprised at how many more opens you get. Similarly, if someone opens it but doesn’t click through do you change up the call to action or message and then resend?
Relevance starts with why, read on: The Case for Starting with “Why”
E-mail with Direct Mail
Let’s say you have planned out a campaign that includes both email and direct mail. You resend emails to those who didn’t open or click. What happens to those who clicked but didn’t fulfill the requested action? Maybe you send them a direct mail piece placing more importance on them fulfilling the action. If you are trying to sell something, maybe the direct mail piece provides a discount to entice them to fulfill the action they started. Each touch can be used to support the other while establishing a sense of urgency that encourages the recipient to engage.
Don’t neglect your content, tips here: 5 Tips to Get People to Read Your Content
One of our school clients came to us about creating a direct mail program for their enrollment. As we worked through the overall strategy and discussed budget, we settled on a 3-touch postcard campaign with a versioned message based on the specific demographic information of the recipient. Each versioned message had a personalized URL setup that sent the recipient to the appropriate landing page. The ultimate call to action was to apply for school. Before each mail touch we suppressed anyone who applied since their last mailing. At the end of the campaign, we analyzed who engaged with the direct mail by looking at who went to the landing page to find out more information and then sent only those highly engaged recipients a deeply personalized 4th touch that included a handwritten note and brochure. This allowed the expense of a more involved personalized touch be spent only on those who had shown interest. The result? Overall enrollment activity raised applications 900% compared to the prior year!
Strong campaigns start with a plan: Making Time: Proactive vs Reactive Communications
So what can you do now? Go beyond your database and start including behavioral engagement, or actionable analytics as we like to call it over here. When you start to personalize your communications in this way you will find your efforts are more relevant and that you are optimizing the investment of each touch.
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