Compared with digital communication channels like email, direct mail has a greater capacity to produce robust response rates and a deeper, more personal connection with a brand, product, or service. The ability of print to resonate in this way is part of the reason why marketers continue to leverage direct mail campaigns as part of their print communications budget.
In fact, one survey found that 68% of marketers anticipate their direct mail marketing budgets to either increase or remain unchanged compared to last year. However, the key to optimizing the ROI of your direct mail campaigns is identifying inefficiencies in the preproduction and print processes, and uncovering opportunities where more streamlined workflows can help you save time and money.
This is where print automation can help you create cost-effective direct mail campaigns, and, here, we’ll look at a couple of ways partnering with a print automation expert can help you reduce the cost of printing high-quality direct mail campaigns that meet or exceed your sales or marketing goals.
Integrating your CRM with a print automation solution makes for more timely, personalized messaging
The ability to integrate your CRM (customer relationship management) platform with a print automation system provides a number of benefits in streamlining what would be manual processes. Plus, such an integration also offers a number of cost-saving advantages to better optimize your investment in direct mail.
First, integrating your CRM with a print automation platform accelerates the process of segmenting and managing mailing lists to ensure the right mailer is being printed and mailed to the right audience — this is especially valuable if you’re doing a tiered mailing campaign where different lists are receiving different, targeted messaging or offers based on variables like job titles or geographic location.
On a similar note, combining your CRM with a print automation solution allows you to use detailed consumer information to design personalized, highly-targeted mailers via variable data printing (VDP).
The use of variable data and image fields creates a more strategic, data-driven approach that makes it more efficient and cost-effective to execute tiered mailings like the ones we just mentioned, but the personalized messaging also makes it more likely your mailer connects with and engages your target audience on the first go-around, which can eliminate the need to spend money on future mailings.
What’s more, an integrated CRM also makes it possible to send personalized direct mail that is triggered by any number of customer lifecycle actions or milestones. Imagine a customer makes a purchase that puts them over a certain threshold of investment in your product or service. With an integrated CRM and print automation platform, you can print and mail a postcard with personalized messaging and special offers as a thank you for their continued support.
Print automation provides more flexibility via on-demand print technology
An important value proposition for print automation is that it uses digital technology like on-demand print — also known as print-on-demand (POD) — to print the exact quantity of direct mail pieces without resulting in excess copies. The ability to execute print runs of any size helps you reduce the cost of resources like ink and paper, but it also eliminates costs associated with storing extra copies.
But on-demand print also holds a couple of other benefits in helping marketers print direct mail pieces with a greater degree of flexibility and responsiveness to a variety of factors. With on-demand print, marketers can:
- Edit or update direct mailers based on CRM data or the direction of the messaging and visuals. For instance, if a product you’re promoting suddenly becomes unavailable, you can swap out production information and images in real-time without printing inaccurate mailers.
- Scale direct mail campaigns based on demand or response. It’s a good problem to have if your direct mail campaign performs beyond expectation, or if you determine expanding your original mailing list provides more opportunity for sales or growth. POD gives marketers the ability to quickly and in a cost-effective manner print additional copies on an as-needed basis to meet their needs.
In addition, the streamlined nature of on-demand print technology makes it possible to pivot between print jobs without long lead times or time-intensive set-up processes. This is particularly valuable for companies that print a large volume of critical customer communications because of the variable nature of the pieces that need to be printed and mailed in a timely manner — for example, pieces like account summaries or an explanation of benefits (EOB).
Partnering with a print automation expert can help you think more strategically about your direct mail campaign
When working with an online direct mail printer, marketers often find themselves in a do-it-yourself situation where they simply choose a postcard size, upload templated images or content, and select the quantity of pieces they want to print.
The challenge with executing direct mail in this way — especially for marketers who may not have the experience with this type of print communication — is that they don’t know what they don’t know, and this can result in costly missteps that reduce the ROI of your direct mail campaign.
Working with a true print automation partner can help you print direct mail campaigns that are designed to drive high response rates by accounting for a number of strategic considerations. Some of these considerations include:
- Is my direct mail campaign optimized for conversion? Direct mailers with a clear, compelling call-to-action (CTA) are more likely to encourage customers to convert compared with those where the CTA is confusing or unclear.
- What is the ideal size postcard for my messaging? Yes, there are more postcard size options beyond the classic 4x6, and a print automation partner help you identify the dimensions for an effective direct mail campaign.
- What about the paper? Your choice of substrate can not only impact the kind of ink or finishes you can use for your mailer, but market forces like the availability of certain paper stocks can hamper your ability to print your pieces quickly. A strategic print partner can provide guidance and insight to help you select the right kind of paper for your project, or an alternative stock to keep your campaign on track.
With the right print automation partner, marketers can print cost-effective direct mail campaigns that leverage the trust today’s consumers still have in print communications. Quantum’s expertise in print automation can help you reduce the cost of your next direct mail campaign. Learn more about how Quantum’s experience and knowledge in print automation and direct mail marketing can help.