What Working from Home Means for B2B Direct Mail

By Bob Baldridge February 9, 2022 direct mail

According to a Gallup poll conducted in the fall of 2021, nearly half of full-time U.S. employees were still working remotely at least part of the time. What’s more, the poll found that 9 out of 10 workers prefer to remain remote to some degree. With the majority of workers desiring a hybrid schedule — and the pandemic proving that it can, for many roles and functions, be done — analysts have come to the conclusion that the future of work will include a great deal of working from home. 

For B2B marketers, this shift presents a conundrum. Most large industry events have still not made a full comeback. Shifting spend to primarily virtual events and digital marketing worked for a while, but digital fatigue is real, and with the rising cost of digital advertising, returns are diminishing. 

Direct mail has always been a reliable channel for marketers who are looking for a solid return on investment, but is it safe to rely on direct mail when so many workers are still out of the office? Will you be sending your mail into the void? 

Having now helped numerous customers navigate this new challenge, we’ve got a few tips for how to pull off a successful B2B direct mail campaign, no matter where your audience is working.

Strategy 1: If you don't know where your audience is, just ask!

We see this challenge as an opportunity to gather not only better, more accurate data on your customers and prospects but also as an opportunity to convert more of your data to first-party data. 

In the world of marketing, first-party data reigns supreme. What is first-party data? First-party data is data you have collected directly from your contacts and that you own. As opposed to second- or third-party data, which is obtained from another company (usually bought), this data is willingly provided by the contact as part of your relationship. 

As privacy regulations become stricter and consumers grow more aware of how companies use their data, first-party data will continue to grow in importance, putting the onus on marketers to build and maintain their own healthy databases. We see this as great news, because campaigns that use first-party data will almost always perform better.

So, think of this as a chance to improve your database. Reach out to your list via email and let them know you plan to send them something in the mail but need to confirm their address. Include the address you have on file and give them a chance to update it or to provide a second address. If you use a customer relationship management system, these updates can be automated using a simple form. Voila — better data. 

Strategy 2: Offer something in return for the correct address.

We’ve seen plenty of success with a simple address update email, but if you want to increase the number of responses you get, let the recipient know what you plan to send. Especially if you’re planning a high-value, high-quality campaign, give them a sneak peek with an image or video so that they don’t want to miss your mail. 

Alternatively, you could leverage the element of surprise. Let them know that something special is coming their way in the mail — if they confirm their address, of course — and let natural curiosity take over. 

Strategy 3: Turn your virtual events omnichannel to boost attendance — and improve your data.

Go full omnichannel and pair your next virtual event or webinar with direct mail. Ask for attendees’ preferred address as part of the registration process, and be sure to let them know that supplemental event information will be sent via the mail. Then, use this direct mail touchpoint to increase event attendance and/or improve the event experience. A few fun ideas we’ve seen:

  • A box of swag, just as attendees would expect at a live event
  • A personalized notebook, for taking notes during the event
  • A gift card for lunch or coffee to be used during the event
  • An attendee guide to help them get the most out of the event
  • A post-event postcard to extend the impact of the event

A physical mailer can help to infuse a bit of the fun and connection that people miss from in-person gatherings — plus, we know that combining digital and direct mail touchpoints can improve conversion rates.

 

Reaching your B2B audience in the new hybrid work reality may take a bit of creativity at first, but you can use this opportunity to your advantage to gather better data while building a more positive relationship with your customers and prospects. We call that a win/win. 

Ready to get started on your next B2B direct mail campaign? Tell us about your project and we’ll give you a quote.