<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://px.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=3010114&amp;fmt=gif">

Beyond the Greeting: How to Take Variable Data Direct Mail to The Next Level

By Bob Baldridge June 20, 2023 direct mail

The total volume of direct mail sent in 2022 was just shy of 73 million pieces, and while this figure is massively lower than the number of emails sent each year, it does mean there is some competition in the direct mail space to connect and engage with your recipients. 

While creative design elements or unique form factors can differentiate your direct mailer from the other pieces in the mailbox, personalized print still remains one of the more effective strategies to create targeted content and messaging that resonates with recipients and helps engineer response rates that result in a healthy ROI on your print marketing spend.

The trick in using variable data printing (VDP) is to go beyond the personalized greeting and think more strategically about how a data-driven approach can help you create direct mail campaigns that are more dynamic and valuable. Let’s look at a couple of ways to use customer insights and variable data printing to help your next direct mail hit home with recipients and drive results.

Don't be afraid to push the envelope

Regardless of whether it’s a brochure or a dimensional mailer, more times than not variable data is used on pieces inside an envelope, and, if any personalized messaging is used on the envelope, it’s in a more nuts-and-bolts fashion in the form of the name and address.  

But the envelope itself can be prime real estate for using a variety of contact data to forge a connection with the recipient before he or she even interacts with the main content of your mailer.

Using the envelope to create a personalized sense of urgency or tease an offer inside can be an effective way to pique the recipient’s interest and increase the likelihood that the envelope gets opened. 

For instance, you could combine personalized messaging with industry vertical data to create a headline on the envelope that demonstrates, before your recipient has even pierced the paper, that you understand the challenges or problems of their industry, and that you can help them find the answers they need and seize opportunities to succeed. 

An example of this could be: Aaron, ABC Air Conditioning can help you reduce the cost of cooling your restaurant by 35% annually — find out how inside!

With just one sentence on the envelope of your direct mailer, you’ve connected more closely with your recipient than your competitors, and you’ve set the table for a more meaningful interaction with the personalized content that’s inside the envelope. 

It's all about location, location, location...

Even though this is a real estate industry dictum, marketers can use variable data printing to leverage a more localized approach to content that can be extremely valuable in creating more targeted, personalized messaging for companies that may not be as well known or established in a certain market.

A recent article in Forbes discussed the importance of personalization and localization as critical tools for helping companies gain a leg up on more established brands within a given market or geographic region. 

As such, using geographic data about your customers as part of your personalization efforts can help increase the usefulness or relevance of your direct mail campaign, and also increase the chance your recipient explores your brand, products, or services via other channels like your website or social media platforms. 

For example, you could use the geographic data of your recipient to create highly-targeted messaging that localizes your products or services in a way that entices your contact to learn more: 4.6 miles, Roberta. That’s how close you are to our showroom where you can learn how to increase your operational efficacy by 25%. 

Another example would be using the location of your customer to announce a product or service launch in a specific market: Good news, Terry — a new internet provider is coming to Saginaw! 

In either case, you can see how combining the power of localization with the potency of personalized print can create more engaging, meaningful content to help your direct mail campaign move the needle in terms of results. 

History is instructive

Part of what makes direct mail campaigns so effective is their ability to be a bridge between the print and digital worlds to create a more omnichannel marketing approach. This is commonly achieved by designing direct mailers with quick response (QR) codes that open a website or landing page. 

However, this same approach can work in reverse by using data like online purchase history to create personalized direct mail campaigns that promote products or services similar to those your customer has recently purchased. A recent survey found that 62% of people said direct mail inspired them to take action, and 38% of those polled said direct mail was effective in getting them to visit a website after receiving a relevant piece of direct mail.

This means marketers have some significant opportunities to leverage purchase history and personalized content to create a highly-targeted mailer that prompts existing customers to make additional purchases or buy add-ons to existing products or services provided the call-to-action (CTA) is compelling or the offer is strong — for example, you could create a direct mailer that references past buying history combined with a 25% discount on complementary products. 

Plus, using customer history data in this way can also help companies overcome a very common obstacle in today’s ecommerce space: online shopping cart abandonment. 

Ecommerce companies lose close to $20 million every year due to cart abandonment, and personalized direct mail that is triggered when items are abandoned in a digital cart can be an extremely effective way to recover abandoned carts, or provide limited-time offers or discounts than nudge customers to complete a purchase. 

Thinking about variable data direct mail in a more strategic way that extends beyond a personalized greeting can help you get more out of your print marketing budget, and Varispark can help you execute highly-targeted direct mail campaigns using these creative, data-driven approaches to print. 

If you’re ready to press send on a postcard or other direct mail campaign, tell us a little about your project and we can get started right away.