DM Boosters to Fuel Your Direct Mail Campaigns – Part II

As I mentioned in Part I of this series, we all want our direct mail/marketing programs to be successful and DM (Direct Marketing) Boosters can certainly help. If you have not read Part I, please review it, when you have a minute: DM Boosters – Part I

In Part I, we finished off with Self-Mailers and we will pick things up in this installment with Tip-Ins, as we continue to examine each of the following:

Customized Postal Indicia
RPNs (Repositionable Notes)
Lumpy Mail
Samples & Promotional Items
Polybag as Compared to Envelope
Die Cuts
Big and Bold
Integrated Microsites
pURLs (Personalized URLs)
Insightful Personalization and Connection

Tip-ins are lighter pieces that are normally affixed by a glue dot or removable glue strip. Adhesives come in varying strengths and it is important that, when peeled off, the adhesive does not end up tearing the paper underneath where the item was affixed.

Tip-ins might include:
- light samples in pouches (e.g. analgesics)
- a half page, personalized note tipped onto the inside front cover of a catalogue or magazine
- additional editorial or copy for a particular segment of a larger group (e.g. geographical area or special interest group)

Most tip-ins do garner attention and, as discussed below, a small note affixed on the inside front cover of a catalogue or magazine really pops and can add a personalized touch to your mailing piece.

Die Cuts
Sometimes it really pays to be different and we have seen die-cuts deliver outstanding results on many different types of campaigns.
Just to name a few, we have seen die cuts of houses, bagpipers, Muskoka chairs, granaries, sacks of seeds, teeth, and the list goes on!

There is no doubt that die cuts do add to the cost. First, you have the cost of the die and then, once the print has been completed, you have the second pass of actual die cutting. Die cutting can also add a little onto your timeline as well.
But, if you want to be different and stand out, ask your mail service provider about die cut options, as it could give your direct mail campaign a boost.

Big and Bold
There is no doubt that something with a large physical presence will get attention, as evidenced in the campaign highlighted, below.

Sometimes we get too hung up on the cost of a mailing piece, rather than looking at what it might deliver. I recall one campaign that delivered $12 in annual recurring revenue for every $1.47 invested. Anyone would have to say that these were outstanding results. But, when I tell people that the all-in cost of each DM piece was $16, they turn pale.

So what did we mail that was so expensive? The main direct mail pieces consisted of full size wine bottles with a tightly rolled personalized letter inserted into each bottle. They were mailed in special shippers and at parcel rates. As you have probably guessed, the campaign was based on a “message-in-a-bottle” theme. Expensive? Not really, as it was an investment that delivered extraordinary results.

There many other types “larger” promotional items and, although it would not accommodate a “message-in-a-bottle campaign”, Dimensional Personalized Mail is frequently used for these types of mailings. Again, your mail service provider can advise in these areas.

Integrated Microsites
When you use unaddressed forms of mail, or advertise in a magazine, you do not know the recipients that will receive your mailing piece, or see your add (or possibly a tip-in), in a magazine. If they respond to your advertising, that is great, but if they do not, you will never get to know them.

In an effort to obtain more contact information from qualified prospects, some marketers are turning to offers that link to a microsite. In this context, a microsite is a simple web page that features an offer, some type of incentive and a place for people to provide contact information and, in some cases, survey information (which people are often willing to provide). The value of the offer is normally directly proportional to the value of obtaining contact data for the new qualified contact. For example, a fast food chain would not likely offer coffee mugs valued at $20 to obtain contact information, whereas a manufacturer of heavy equipment or major seed manufacturer would consider an incentive at this value or higher.

The microsite becomes a simple extension of the campaign, which is driven largely by the direct marketing piece that would contain a URL, and possibly QR Code as well, to connect to the site.

As microsites are very basic they tend to be relatively inexpensive and are a very effective way to build lists of new qualified contacts.

pURLs (personalized URLs)
A pURL is a web page that has been customized, usually for a specific individual. When using pURLs, we can integrate contact and company names, city, or other insightful information into the content. For example, if we sell healthcare products and know that a person prefers Ibuprofen as an analgesic, or we sell seed and know that a farm is in a specific heat zone, we can tailor our messages accordingly.

pURLs, like microsites, can also be used for special offers and to acquire additional profile information from current contacts.

Insightful Personalization and Connection
I mentioned tailored messages, above, under pURLs (personalized URLs) and Tip-ins. In some cases, a personalized message might be as simple as “Hi Dave, Thanks for your business . . “, built in other cases highly-tailored messages can be based on profile data, such as the examples for healthcare and seed suppliers, again mentioned under pURLs (personalized URLs).
Highly tailored messages can be very, very effective when used properly. At the same time, they can become “creepy” if you show that you know too much about someone. For example, supposed you rented a list and knew that an individual on the list suffered from back pain and that their favourite analgesic was a form of acetaminophen, called “Nomore Pain”. Although unadvisable, you could draft a letter, as follows:
Dear Bill, 
I know you suffer from back pain and that you have been using Nomore Pain for relief. 
Well, our Mybuprofen goes right to the source of the pain and rapidly delivers the . . .

This is a terrible opening and Bill is probably not going to respond favourably to any offer. However, with a message like the following, it would like be quite different:
Dear Bill, 
When back pain or headaches strike we all want quick relief! 
Well, our Mybuprofen goes right to the source of the pain and rapidly delivers the . . .

In the latter example, we simply used the information at hand to tailor the message, not mentioning just back pain, but leading with it.

With this type of insightful personalization, subtle always works best and well-crafted messages of this type do “deliver”.

BRM (Business Reply Mail)
If you want to have donations or orders mailed back to you, pre-paid postage makes it more convenient for donors or customers, and most people appreciate the fact that they do not have to supply their own “stamp”.

With Canadian Business Reply Mail you pay only for the pieces that are returned. There is an annual fee for a Business Reply Mail account, but most mail service providers maintain a Business Reply Mail account that can be used by their customers.

Again, you have to look at the cost of the return postage in relation to the size of orders or donations that you might be anticipating.

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