The Latest from the ABM Experts
April 4, 2019
Tips For Incorporating Direct Mail Into Your Account-Based Marketing Campaigns
Written by Baillie Ward
The Rise of Account-Based Marketing Direct Mail
How many emails do you receive on a daily basis? Probably dozens, if not more. In fact, the average employee will receive around 120 emails every single day.
Now, think about how many times you receive something in the mail. I’m willing to bet it’s much less than what’s showing up in your inbox every day.
Because of that, you’re far more likely to pay more attention to what’s arriving in your mailbox versus what’s arriving in your inbox. If you’re like me, you might take the time to flip through your stack of mail each day to determine what’s worth keeping and what’s going to end up in the recycling bin.
I can’t say the same for my email – I frequently will delete emails in bulk without ever opening them if I don’t see something that catches my eye.
There’s an inherent sense of excitement in getting something in the mail. The act of sending personalized mail, once a common practice, is now reserved for birthdays, holidays, and, of course, businesses trying to market their services.
It makes sense why businesses are flocking to good old fashioned snail mail. Direct mail promotes higher brand recall, has a 4x higher response rate than email, and elicits a stronger emotional reaction from the recipient.
Leveraging direct mail in your account-based strategy can be incredibly effective – it’s tangible, memorable, and leaves a lasting impression of your brand. That is, of course, if you do it right.
Today’s B2B audiences are craving personalization in a world of automation and canned email responses. We know personalization drives results – and with the right strategies in place, it’s a process that can be both scalable and effective.
Check out the tips below to learn how you can implement personalized direct mail in your account-based marketing campaigns at scale.
Identify the Right Time to Send Direct Mail
While direct mail can be effective, it can also be pricey. And while you can send hundreds or thousands of emails for virtually nothing, you can’t say the same for a customized direct mail piece. Because of that, you must be intentional with what (and when) you’re sending.
There are a few factors you can use to determine when to send a piece of direct mail:
- Account Lifecycle Stage
- Level of Engagement
- Personality/1:1 Interactions
And, of course, there are other factors such as persona, industry, or other key traits that would offer insight into what sort of direct mail would be relevant.
At Terminus, we typically send direct mail pieces based on two factors: the account lifecycle stage and level of engagement.
For instance, the direct mail piece you send a target account still in the Awareness stages of the account lifecycle is much different than what you’d send a current customer who you’re hoping will renew their campaign. The messaging for each of these direct mail pieces should be drastically different.
You may send a low-cost direct mail piece to a prospect to introduce your brand and try to initiate a conversation. But for a customer, especially a high-value customer, you’ll want to spend a bit more time (and money!) to choose something that will be memorable and make an impact.
When it comes to level of engagement, the team at Terminus will typically take two approaches: if we notice a meaningful surge in engagement in a target account, our SDRs will often send a direct mail piece their way to maximize that engagement and convert the account into an opportunity. They may send a cookie cake for the account’s marketing team to share, or send a more personalized item based on the level of interaction they’ve had thus far.
If an SDR has been struggling to get in touch with a prospect (i.e. emails and phone calls going unanswered), direct mail can also be an effective way to spark a conversation. One popular strategy our sales team uses is to send a prospect an eGift card for a free cup of coffee. There are no strings attached to redeeming it – but this gesture of goodwill often highlights Cialdini’s Principle of Reciprocity: people feel obliged to give back if they’ve received a gift or service.
So, if you have trouble getting in touch with someone at your target account over email and they’re dodging your calls, sending them direct mail might be a viable next step.
How to Maximize Direct Mail Results
Not too long ago, direct mail was expensive, slow, and difficult to measure. Thankfully, advancements in technology and the modern postal service have made direct mail an easily scalable strategy for many marketers.
But you can’t just drop something in the mail and expect to see results. There are a number of complementary strategies you can implement in tandem with your direct mail campaigns to drive more results from your account-based marketing efforts.
Check out a few recommendations below:
1. Measure the impact of your direct mail campaigns
Measuring the impact of your direct mail campaigns doesn’t have to be difficult. There are a number of platforms you can leverage to not only fulfill your direct mail sends, but also monitor delivery and measure the impact of the campaign – a few we recommend include Sendoso and PFL.
If you’re running a small operation and manage your direct mail in-house, you can still measure the impact of your direct mail campaigns by tracking the progress of an account after sending them a piece of direct mail and comparing that progress to an account that didn’t receive anything. Did the account progress quicker than accounts who didn’t receive a piece of direct mail? Did a prospect acknowledge receipt of it or mention it in an email or phone call? What was the ROI of the direct mail piece (if the account becomes a customer)?
By comparing the data you have available, you can draw meaningful conclusions.
2. Personalize when possible
The more you can personalize your outreach, the better. In the early stages of interacting with contacts at a target account, this may not be possible. However, as the account progresses through the buyer’s journey, you may have the opportunity to glean valuable insights into not only the account, but the team itself.
Getting to know someone on a personal level will make your interactions all the more meaningful, and can make it much easier to tailor your outreach efforts.
Here’s an example: a friend of mine works in sales and was in the process of trying to sell a small business owner on video marketing services. They’d had a couple of conversations on the phone and had identified a shared love of animals while chatting.
In passing, the business owner mentioned his dog had cancer and had just undergone surgery. After they got off the phone, my friend sent him a doggie care package with a small bag of treats and a card. The business owner then took to social media to publicly thank her (and the company she worked for) for such a thoughtful gesture.
The card didn’t include a sales pitch and had nothing to do with the service she was selling – it was simply a gesture of goodwill that deepened her relationship with a potential customer and proved she cared about the customer relationship, not just a transaction.
While you may not be able to gain such deep insights about everyone prospect you come in contact with, it is an important reminder that finding ways to personalize your outreach and (when possible) deepen your relationship with your accounts beyond a surface level can do wonders for improving rapport.
3. Run multi-channel campaigns that complement your direct mail sends
When used in isolation, it’s easy for a piece of direct mail to get lost in the shuffle. But when you’re sending emails, personalized content, and running digital ads that match the messaging and imagery of the direct mail you’ve just sent to a target account, your chances of converting that account into an opportunity are much higher.
Let’s say we were trying to start a conversation with a target account that’s just starting their account-based marketing efforts. Our intent data sources have signalled to an SDR that the account is researching ABM platforms, which means they’re more than likely trying to find a way to easily scale their new ABM program.
To try to start a conversation, an SDR sends a prospect at this account a Terminus-branded jigsaw puzzle with a note that reads, “Terminus is the missing piece in your account-based marketing efforts.” and a call-to-action that encourages them to learn more about their platform.
The day the puzzle lands, the SDR sends them an email with a subject line that matches the note on the card. The very same day, we launch Terminus display ads that include a personalized message and images of jigsaw puzzle pieces.
Had one of our SDRs just sent a jigsaw puzzle, the prospect may never have responded. But when they continue to be hit by the same message and imagery, they’ll be much more inclined to reach out to set up a call and learn more about our solution.
You can check out an example of a real-life Terminus direct mail campaign next.
Direct Mail in Action: The Terminus Cookie Cake Campaign
It’s no secret that people love dessert. So what better way to start a conversation with a target account than by sending them a midweek sweet treat to brighten their day?
We recently experimented with sending cookie cakes to a number of our target accounts as a way to spark a conversation and the results have been, you guessed it, sweet. We’ve tried a number of different “snackable” direct mail treats, but cookie cake is an easily-shared crowd favorite – which means even if you send it to the person who doesn’t make buying decisions, chances are high it’ll still end up in the right hands.
To maximize our direct mail efforts, our sales and marketing teams will coordinate to launch emails, digital ads, and personalized outreach that all work to support the cookie cake campaign.
Check out the campaign breakdown below.
- Direct Mail: A cookie cake large enough to share with a team will be shipped to the office of a target account
- Email: On the day the cookie cake is scheduled to be delivered, the SDR will send an email to the prospect confirming receipt
- Phone Calls: Our SDRs will also call the prospect to confirm receipt
- Digital Ads: Around the same time, our marketing team launches 1-to-1, personalized display ads that match the messaging and imagery of the cookie cake (see an example below) with a link to a personalized page that features the same messaging and imagery (see an example below)
Check out the 1-to-1 ad with a sample account:
Check out the landing page header:
Next Steps: Direct Mail that Drives Results
The possibilities for incorporating direct mail into your account-based marketing efforts are endless. From branded company swag to desserts to wearable tech or even an iPad (yes, it has been done!), direct mail can be an effective way to capture – and keep – your prospects’ attention.
To maximize results, however, you have to make sure you’re measuring the impact of your direct mail campaigns (you can use platforms like Sendoso or PFL), and ensuring that marketing and sales are aligned so that your target account is seeing the same messaging both on- and offline.
So now only one question remains: how will you start using direct mail to drive more results from your ABM programs?