SIS International Market Research provides insights on the current B2B marketing space. Read on for the benefits of interactive media, content marketing, remarketing and more.
In this report from SIS International Market Research and USPS, we present data and insights for tackling the biggest trends in B2B e-commerce and the shipping challenges that come with them.
When a customer opens the product ordered from your business, you have a unique chance to capture their attention. In this moment, how do you impress them and win their repeat business?
Here’s where the unboxing experience comes into play. Unboxing, for the uninitiated, is a customer’s experience opening a product for the first time and removing it from the box. In recent years, customers have begun creating videos as they open up anticipated items and sharing them on social media. As of 2017, people spent at least 48.3 million hours watching unboxing videos on YouTube, often on their mobile phones.1
With a large—and growing—audience, the unboxing video has become increasingly valuable for retailers.2 Read on to learn what these videos can do for your business, as well as best practices for your packaging that can encourage customers to create their own.
Increase Visibility and Reach
As a small or medium-sized business, increasing your reach leads to growth and success. Authentic unboxing videos are a visually-enticing way to spread the word about your product, directly from actual customers.
When someone receives your product in the mail and creates an unboxing video, your brand and product are shared with their entire network of friends and family. If the unboxing is particularly enjoyable—aesthetically pleasing and expertly curated—those friends and family members may want to experience it themselves by becoming customers.
Encourage Purchases from New Customers
A good unboxing video has the potential to persuade someone new to purchase your product. In fact, 39% of adults in the U.S. who use social media and had purchased beauty products in a specific period of time agreed that unboxing videos encouraged them to buy particular products.3
You can think of this peer-to-peer medium as an influential review of the experience of receiving your product rather than a straightforward product review. If your parcel is packed with their anticipation in mind, a customer’s unboxing video should be positive. On the other hand, an underwhelming or sloppy unboxing experience can drive potential customers away.
Test to See What Works
Not sure what packaging innovations will set your product or brand apart during the unboxing? Test it out. Ask a “beta” group of customers to create an unboxing video to share just with you. These videos will teach you what can be improved about the presentation and what draws people in. Plus, the exclusivity of being asked to create a video for your business could boost a customer’s perception of your brand.
What can you do to make your packaging stand out?
Tell Your Story
Let your brand’s personality sing for both new and returning customers. If your company touts sustainable responsibility or a connection to nature, make sure your packaging reflects that. If your business has a touching creation story, include a postcard with that information to reiterate it to your customers.
Brand Your Box
Make a good impression with your customers by presenting your products in thoughtfully designed boxes. Think of your product as a birthday gift, and the box that holds it as the pristine wrapping paper. Make a package that your customers will anticipate and be excited to open.
Monthly subscription boxes are often designed to fit the brand. One popular makeup sample box designs each month’s parcel to be printed with different colors and designs. Not only does this make for an attractive first-look before the unboxing, it has also inspired customers to collect and reuse their boxes.4
Some brands add messaging and designs inside the box, too, as a nice surprise when a customer first opens it up.
While having boxes printed with your logo, slogan or brand colors isn’t in the budget for every business, there are ways to get the same effect without the investment. Things like custom tape, hand-stamped designs and branded stickers can have the same effect.
Situate Your Product
Orchestrate an organized and appealing presentation of the item or items within the box. The first thing people want to see when they open a package is the product that they ordered, not layers of packing material or a receipt. Put the other necessities—receipts, return labels, instruction manuals—below the product, or in an envelope.
Think of unboxing a piece of technology, like a phone or tablet. When the item’s box is opened, the first thing a customer sees is what they ordered. Once they pick it up, plugs, instruction manuals, warranty paperwork and other accessories are revealed. They don’t distract from the initial experience.
Make It Personal
An important step in earning a loyal customer is establishing a connection between your brand and your buyer. Make customers feel appreciated and cared for, no matter the product. This care will keep them coming back.
How you establish this connection is entirely up to you. Choose something that fits with your brand ethos: personalize their box by noting who packed it on an inside flap; add a thank-you note, handwritten or personally signed; develop creative instructions with a strong brand voice that are tailored to that customer’s experience.
Give Something Extra
Add in a little something extra for your customers to elevate their experience and create a feeling of exclusivity.
Keep your freebies on brand: samples of products similar to those they bought, or things that would partner well together, like hand cream and gloves. You can also opt for coupons that encourage additional purchases, benefitting you and your customer.
Unboxing is a powerful experience for shoppers that can be incredibly rewarding for your brand. Building a positive connection with a customer before they even open your package can encourage positive reviews, social interactions and returning customers. Leverage these best practices as you develop the most effective packaging in your budget.
For businesses today, it’s high priority to understand how a customer wants to receive transactional communications. While a variety of digital alternatives have emerged, none of them cater to the basic preference of most customers: they want to receive these documents in the mail.
Transactional pieces like bills, invoices and statements are still the most read and opened pieces of mail: 96% of people open and read bills while 92% open and read statements.1 Physical documents have value for both the recipient and the sender.
With this understanding, you could make your transactional mail work twice as hard—using only one stamp. When you send your invoice alongside promotional marketing elements, you can generate additional revenue or exposure for your business.
Get more out of your transactional mail
Mail has an impact on consumers: 60% of consumers surveyed feel that direct mail helps solidify a brand name in their mind, and people almost always open transactional mailpieces.2
Sending bills and statements has more impact in the mail than in email:
- People surveyed spend an average of 2 to 3 minutes reading transactional mail and only 15 to 20 seconds reading transactional email.2
- Once opened, bills and statements stay in a home for an average of 17 days, while emails live only for about 2 seconds.3
- 63% of people surveyed see direct mail campaigns as more serious while only 17% of people surveyed think of email that way.2
Imagine the marketing potential of your company’s routine bills, statements and invoices if you incorporate brand messaging and direct mail tactics into them. Try restructuring your transactional direct mailpieces to do more work for your brand. Make sure that your branding is present on the envelope and the documents inside. Then, find creative ways to seamlessly fit in marketing messages and calls to action.
Here are a few ways to get more out of your transactional mail:
Introduce new products and services with digital enhancements.
A bill can be more than just paper. With QR Codes®4 and augmented reality (AR) technology, transactional mailpieces can engage customers and lead them to related content.
Use QR Codes or AR to:
- Connect customers to promotions or discounts
- Share supplemental content like a rich blog post
- Develop an app that lets customers experience a new product or service virtually
Incorporate Informed Delivery® ride-along content into your pieces.
Informed Delivery® lets businesses connect with customers multiple times with one mailpiece. The free feature from the United States Postal Service® sends people a daily email with images of what is coming in the mail that day. Businesses can also include a full-color image and a unique link that lives next to that image for free, driving consumers to connect digitally.
Create ride-along content to:
- Connect customers to a video, blog post or social profile
- Link users to your site to take an action, like buying another item
- Drive people to digitally schedule an appointment or finish completing a profile
Cross-promote relevant products and services, and offer savings.
When you’re sending transactional mail, you’re talking with existing customers. These people know and trust your business already – now you have a great opportunity to further your conversation with them.
Introduce relevant upsells to:
- Highlight the benefits of adding another service or product to their account
- Introduce savings offers, like bundled services or time-sensitive discounts
- Educate customers on your suite of offerings
Use personalized messaging and offers to encourage sales.
Because transactional mail reaches your current customers, you already know a little bit about them: from basic information like names to what services or products of yours that they use and how long they’ve been customers. Using the information that you have about them can help you create personalized messaging and offers.
Try personalizing your mail to:
- Reach customers who haven’t visited your location or site in a while
- Offer custom incentives to encourage repeat visits
- Celebrate milestones, like client anniversaries
Market your referral program to gain new customers.
Word of mouth is one of the strongest ways to gain new customers: people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend.5 Use your transactional mail to encourage current customers to bring their friends, offering incentives to each.
Share your referral program to:
- Introduce it to an engaged audience
- Offer current customers an incentive to share your business with friends
- Build up your network of customers organically
Share how-to content to help customers take advantage of your offerings.
Help your customers get more out of their product or service by incorporating helpful and instructional content into your invoices, bills or statements. This can live on the piece itself or as a separate piece within the same mailing.
Offer supplemental content to:
- Build up trust with your customers
- Establish yourself as a go-to informational source
- Provide customers with helpful information
Transactional mail can serve a dual purpose. Not only does it send important documentation and information to your customers by nature, it can also drive home your marketing messages, introduce other products and services in your lineup, and deliver educational content to your engaged consumers. With one piece of mail that does two jobs, you could potentially enhance your brand image and build up your business.
Elevate your transactional mail. We’ll show you how.
If you’re looking to learn more about transactional mail, talk to a USPS representative.
In a competitive market like financial technology, where growing startups brush up against traditional finance companies, marketers need a way to differentiate and convert customers. One way to turn prospects into customers is through programmatic direct mail.
By observing the actions of prospects on your website or mobile app, you can trigger personalized direct mail that is sent out within 48 hours of the interaction.
Direct Mail Has a Huge Impact
Reaching people in their mailboxes can impact growth.
In fact, one financial services company found that 90% of borrowers were acquired through offline channels — the largest of which was direct mail.1
|Compared to emails and display ads, direct mail:|
|Generates 10% more customers2||10%|
|Has a 90% or higher open rate (compared to email’s 30%)3||90%|
|Drives 60% of consumers back to the website4||60%|
|Has a house-list response rate of 5.1%
(compared 0.06% click-through rate on digital ads)5
Mail is also secure. There are more than 200 federal laws enforced by the Postal Inspection Service to protect Americans from fraud.6 This assurance, as well as the less intrusive and more tactile experience of direct mail, leads 76% of consumers to trust direct mail when it comes to purchasing decisions.7
Programmatic Direct Mail Converts Prospects
When you use data gathered from digital channels to inform direct mail pieces, you get the best of both worlds. You can understand what a visitor to your website or mobile app is interested in based on what they looked at, then send a personalized piece of direct mail to help convert them from prospect to customer.
7 Reasons to invest in programmatic Direct mail
Combining the scale of digital and the efficacy of direct mail yields close to a 40% conversion rate.8
In a space as competitive as FinTech, where customer acquisition costs are high, conversion rates matter. When a company sends a personalized email, conversion rates hover between 1% and 5%.9 A physical direct mailpiece is 8 to 40 times more effective, converting close to 40% of prospects into customers.8,9
Used together, digital and direct mail can result in 20% or higher response rates.10
That’s ten times higher than the response rate for all digital channels combined and more than 200 times higher than the click-through rate for digital retargeting.10 To get prospects to invest, borrow or bank with your business, consider using programmatic mail to translate digital behavior into an opportunity to engage and ultimately convert prospects.
Multi-channel campaigns saw a 37% increase in response over single-channel campaigns.11
On its own, direct mail outperforms other marketing channels. But combining direct mail with other digital media, such as email, gives you a greater chance of reaching your customer with the right message at the right time. A site visitor may not be ready to sign up today; if you send regular reminders to their inbox and mailbox, response rates could see growth.
One study showed that using direct mail and digital media together increased customer purchase or signup intent by 10x.12
FinTech businesses need a sustainable customer base to survive. When digital media and direct mail are used in conjunction, one large study of a telecommunications advertiser showed a brand-to-customer connection that is 10-times stronger than digital-only campaigns.12 This translates to greater rates of consideration or intent to sign up and could mean a strong opportunity to capture and convert consumers in search of investing, borrowing or banking services.
Research has shown that campaigns that use direct mail and digital together produced 10% higher brand recollection than single-channel digital campaigns.13
Brand recognition is vital for FinTech companies solidifying their place in the market. Using well-branded content across digital and direct mail channels has been shown to increase a customer’s recollection of a business: Brand memorability in one study was 5.5 times higher after an omni-channel campaign than that of a digital-only campaign.12 When a person recognizes a brand in a competitive market, they are more likely to give that company their business.
Recipients of omni-channel campaigns paid 39% more attention to the messaging than to that of single-channel campaigns.12
Messaging helps differentiate your FinTech business from competitors. When you use a mix of digital media and direct mail to communicate a consistent message, people will pay more attention than they would if you were using just one channel or the other.
Research has shown that integrating digital and direct mail in campaigns resulted in 5% higher emotional intensity than single-channel digital campaigns.13
Ninety-five percent of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, based on emotional connections and brand recall.14 It’s possible that positive emotions could correlate to an increase in a prospect’s likelihood of investing, borrowing or banking with you instead of your competitors.
Combine your rich digital data with effective direct mail communications to create a comprehensive marketing campaign that works. You can convert prospects visiting your site into customers at a higher rate and build a strong, loyal customer base that will help your FinTech business stay ahead of the competition.
USPS Can Help
Looking to learn more about programmatic mail? USPS representatives can help you find the best solution for your business needs.
We live in a consumer-driven era of personalization and customization. Shoppers are no longer satisfied with products that are delivered the same way for every person. Instead, they are looking for and purchasing products that are tailored to fit their individual wants and needs.1 They are also patronizing businesses that help create that experience for them.
These preferences are changing the logistics landscape for shippers. It is essential for businesses to have adaptable models built on customer data and systems for communicating in order to survive now and in the future. Read on to learn more about the seamless experience customers crave and the tips that can lead you to success in a post-one-size-fits-all market.
The Customer-driven Ecosystem
Personalization and customization goes beyond monograms. Customers want businesses to anticipate their needs and create a smooth and rewarding experience.
Here’s an example:
A shopper adds something to her digital cart on a store’s website but doesn’t complete the purchase. The abandonment triggers a direct mail piece that is personalized with the item that was in her cart and offers a free-shipping discount. The mail piece arrives within 48 hours and the shopper then completes her purchase using the unique discount code to get free shipping. Her order is processed and shipped from a nearby location, arriving at her door as quickly as possible. This rounds out a tailored experience with a brand she showed interest in.
For customers, this experience can feel magical. But it only works if the business providing it has a flexible network that is rich in data and uses clear communication to maximize the efficiency of the supply chain.
Here are three tips for adapting your shipping and logistics processes to better capture your target audience:
Focus on your customers
The first step toward updating your processes is understanding who your customers are. Study the data they have provided you, from demographic basics to shopping habits. Do older shoppers prefer ordering online and picking up in store? Are male shoppers more influenced by promotions on social media?
Starting with customer data, you should be able to redefine your goals as a supplier. Maybe you’ll use this data to home in on customer satisfaction and build up your customer base instead of focusing solely on product sales. With a strong grasp of who your customers are, you can begin to see the path toward end-to-end visibility in your supply chain.
Build an integrated network
Many businesses see their platforms and tools as independent structures: a CRM tool doesn’t necessarily need to connect with a warehouse inventory system. However, both of those tools interact with customer data.
A CRM tool tracks how and when a customer buys something from your business. When an item is bought, the warehouse inventory system makes a note to replenish that item. Letting these two systems, among many others, talk to each other can greatly reduce downtime. This will help your shipping business run more efficiently.
In the same vein, it’s important that the different people within your business also communicate with one another. Let those in marketing communicate more regularly with those in shipping and logistics. Connecting different departments can lead to better ideas about how to optimize communications between systems.
Strengthen your supply chain
As you gather more data on your customers and allow your systems to communicate with each other, you’ll begin to see efficiency gaps in your supply chain. For example, if you see that many of your orders are coming from a location far from the nearest distribution center, you can find a more sustainable solution, such as shipping from a local store or adding another new fulfillment center closer to that area.
As your business expands internationally, you can also streamline supply-chain processes by partnering with global suppliers. Save time and money by sending orders through an outsourced fulfillment center closer to your global destinations.
Using valuable data and systems communications, you can adapt your current shipping and logistics process to curate a better direct-to-consumer experience. Take the time to learn who your customers are and what keeps them coming back to your business. Then, integrate your systems for better internal communications and reform your supply chain. Small changes along the way will help you emerge as a top player in this customer-experience-focused landscape.
The months leading up to the holidays can be a particularly demanding time for senior-level marketers.
For some retailers, the holidays can account for as much as 30% of annual sales.1
And with customer expectations at an all-time high, marketers are increasingly accountable for their spending and under pressure to show clear-cut business results.2
Fortunately, by implementing various technologies, marketers can better reach customers, and track campaign success to understand what is and isn’t working. Read on to learn how you can use technology to make your direct mail campaigns intelligent for the holiday season.
How to make your holiday mail more sophisticated.
By marrying print and digital, you can ensure that your direct mail campaigns yield powerful insights.3 Consider implementing the following technologies in your next direct mail campaign:
Add a QR code to your mailpiece.
Quick Response (QR) codes, which look like barcodes, can be scanned with a smartphone, prompting a related app or website to open. Think of QR codes as a way to provide your customers and prospects with additional value. In one example, a grocery store retailer used direct mail to send food-themed magnets with QR codes, which, when scanned, allowed customers to instantly buy grocery store items from the comfort of their home.4
Include an NFC chip in your direct mail design.
Embedding Near Field Communication (NFC) microchips in your mailpiece will allow you to instantaneously transmit information through short-range radio waves to NFC-enabled smartphone devices. Unlike QR codes, NFC does not require users to download an app or open a separate web browser, enabling a seamless experience. In one example, a musician engaged her fans by embedding an NFC tag on a mail piece that gave them access to extended album content, including song lyrics, photos and videos.5
Consider incorporating Augmented Reality (AR) in your design.
With AR, you can transform a piece of mail into an interactive experience by layering digital graphics over a physical mail piece. In one example, a surf camp sent a mailpiece featuring an image of waves as the AR trigger that prompted recipients to download the AR app. This in turn, activated the AR experience, which concluded with a promotional offer.6
With each of these technologies — QR, NFC and AR — you’ll be able to gather a rich pool of data and learn about your most-interested customers, allowing you to refine and better target your future direct mail campaigns.7
Add a PURL to your direct mail design.
A PURL is a personalized URL that features the recipient’s name in the link and leads them to a personalized landing page. By including a PURL in your direct mail copy, the recipient can access and complete a response form prepopulated with information from the direct mail. This is a surefire way to capture leads.8
Go one-step further by adding a remarketing code to your PURL.
After a recipient views your mailpiece and visits the personalized landing page, you can then tag them with a cookie so that they can receive an ad later while browsing the internet, redirecting them back to your website to help drive conversions.9
Send your direct mail to a targeted group.
Similar to the above approach, you can serve online ads to the targeted niche group that received your mailpiece to leave a lasting impression.10
Direct mail is more intelligent than ever before. Each of the technologies described above can provide you with a rich pool of data, allowing you to better target your customers with more relevant messaging, ultimately resulting in a stronger return on investment.11 Consider how implementing smarter direct mail campaigns can help you reach your marketing and sales goals.
For many companies, the holidays are a crucial time to drive business. Marketers need a fine-tuned plan to capitalize on the busy shopping season and attract customers. Some include email in their holiday marketing mix, others choose to focus on direct mail. But choosing one channel over the other could do your business a disservice.
By combining email and direct mail, you can target and convert consumers even more effectively. For example, in one study, businesses increased their order value by more than $3 when using the two mediums combined; they also saw a 25% response rate.1 Learn about the benefits of email and direct mail, and best practices for creating a campaign that uses both channels in sync.
Two Potent Channels
Email and mail can make a real impact on holiday sales.
Email has serious reach.
eMarketer estimates that there will be 253.4 million email users in the US in 2018, accounting for nearly 90.6% of internet users and 77% of the population. By 2021, that number will grow to 266.3 million users.2
Direct mail has a high return on investment (ROI).
A 2016 report showed that, in the US, direct mail has a 27% median ROI.3
Email campaigns convert more with a house list.
The same report showed the following conversion rates:
House list rates:
- 21% open rate
- 10% click through rate
- 5.5% conversion rate
Prospect list rates:
- 16.4% open rate
- 5.9% click through rate
- 4.3% conversion rate4
Personalization makes a difference for both channels.
One study showed that brands that personalize the subject lines of their emails experience 27% higher unique click rates and 11% higher open rates than those that do not personalize their promotional emails.5
By personalizing a direct mail campaign with a customer’s name and location, one company achieved a 9.7% conversion rate.6
Using both channels in tandem can capture more consumer attention during the holidays.
According to a study by Canada Post, marketing campaigns that integrate direct mail and digital media hold 39% more of a customer’s time than digital campaigns alone.7
Consumers prefer email and direct mail during the holidays.
A 2017 survey showed that Internet users most preferred email and direct mail to receive their holiday deals.8
How to Create a Multichannel Campaign
Consider these best practices when implementing a holiday campaign featuring email and direct mail.
1. Decide on the optimal timing.
When planning a direct mail and email campaign, mail is typically the first touchpoint. Once the mailpiece is sent, choose two to four different moments to send out emails. The first email should go out a week after the mailing to keep the original mailing top-of-mind. Send the other emails a few days apart to not overwhelm the recipient. According to HubSpot, Tuesday is the best day of the week to send an email, while 11 am ET sees the highest email click-through rates.9
2. Make sure your branding aligns.
Creative elements in the mailpiece and subsequent emails should match. Leverage the copy and visuals you’re using for your holiday campaigns in both. For example, your holiday tagline can be used in header copy of the mailpiece and the subject line of your first email or its body copy. Be sure your mail and email also leads to the same final touchpoint – whether it’s your website or a holiday microsite.
3. Personalize the content.
Help boost conversion rates by personalizing the copy in your mailpiece. For example, you could include the name of the recipient in header copy and customize content in the rest of the mailpiece to their specific customer segment. For the first email sent out, consider including the recipient’s name in the subject line. This small change can bump up email open rates and direct mail responses.
4. Use a comprehensive mailing list for your campaign.
Creating a house or prospect list for your campaign will be more complicated, since you’ll need to match email addresses to physical addresses. For a house list, work with your internal teams to merge the address data you already have. For a prospect list, work with a list supplier that can tap into a multichannel database. You don’t want to buy a list that’s missing email or physical address information for the same prospect.
5. Consider using programmatic mail instead of a list.
The latest trend in direct mail leverages programmatic technology to send personalized mailpieces triggered by digital interactions. You’ll need to be sure the programmatic database has customer information that includes email and physical addresses. Once a visitor interacts with a specific touchpoint on your site—whether your homepage, a category page or product page—the programmatic technology will send a mailpiece within 24-48 hours of the interaction.
Nailing down the right marketing mix during the holidays is crucial for year-round success. Sync up your email and direct mail efforts instead of choosing one channel over the other. With a well-timed, well-designed campaign, your business could see increased sales during the holidays.
Even though online buying is becoming an everyday practice, shoppers and retailers alike are showing that paper is still the way to go in terms of marketing. Because, while they are bombarded with online ads that they rarely trust or click on, consumers consistently show a strong attachment to physical mail that they can interact with on their own time.
Print marketing might mean more time and money than digital, but catalogs that positively engage your customers are worth the investment. Follow these eight best practices when creating your next catalog campaign.
Inspire Your Customers
First and foremost, your catalogs should inspire your consumer. Gone are the days that a catalog is a simple product list. Now–through thoughtful design, photography, and copy–you can tell the story of your brand and connect with customers that have the same aesthetic tastes.
In an age where people are curating their lives through social media, brand images can now be aspirational rather than just advertisements. Make a goal of creating an emotional connection through your catalogs in addition to being informational.
When designing your catalog, it is important to design with your audience in mind. Visuals can go a long way and, from start to finish, should reflect the aesthetic of your customer. Even if the product comes from the same category–say fashion–a catalog for young professionals will look much different than a catalog for mothers.
Consider personalizing catalogs to show items based on previous purchases or to show items that are available in nearby stores. This level of personalization will set you apart. Consider working with vendors that offer variable data printing.
Present a Strong Brand Identity
Catalogs are always competing for space in a consumer’s mind. However, many of them look so similar, it’s difficult to differentiate between the companies. In order to create brand loyalty, you need to stand out among the crowd, and you can do that by creating and showing a strong identity.
A catalog should be an extension of your brand and should support whatever messages you stand for. A successful catalog will both display products and present a clear individuality. Don’t let your catalog get bogged down with product details. Use the unique voice of the brand to carry your products forward.
Focus on Quality
Hand in hand with a strong brand presence is quality. This means quality in design, size, and type of paper – everything that goes into a catalog should be purposeful, and it should represent your business in the best way possible. These small details can enhance the overall appearance of your catalog and ultimately say a lot about your brand.
Make It Easy to Navigate
Catalogs should have a user-friendly layout and be designed in a way that naturally leads from page to page. Readability and scannability are both essential in clear design.
There should be a clear hierarchy to each page, with one or two items standing out and other elements lending support. Remember: using different fonts can be confusing, white space is your friend, and important information should always be clear and up front.
Use Impactful Photos
Catalogs that are image-heavy give a sense of brand personality and allow customers to scan through with minimal effort. In general, environmental photography–that show products in a surrounding where they would naturally be–is most effective, especially when the people in the photos are interacting with your products.
However, don’t group too many products in one photo as it will be distracting to the viewer. It is best to show items individually or in very small, related groups. Make great photos the centerpiece in your catalog. They’ll do the work to keep your reader engaged.
Make Ordering Easy
Think beyond aesthetics, as well. If a reader can’t figure out how to place an order or what items they want to purchase, then you stand to lose out on sales. This is why it is essential to organize your catalog to make ordering as easy as possible. Often top-selling products are lost among similar items. Focus on these items and position them with products that would go well in addition to rather than instead of. Any opportunity to cross-sell companion products through copy or callouts can increase sales up to 15%.1
As a customer browses the catalog, it should be clear how they can place an order. Include website URLs and a phone number that are easy to find within the design, and then push orders with promotions and time-sensitive offers.
Successful catalogs will help lead your customers online to make purchases, but should only be sent with controlled frequency as to not overwhelm or annoy them. While 53% of consumers like the number of catalogs they receive and 25% want even more, a fine line exists between more catalogs and too many.2
For consumers that desire catalogs, once a month should be the maximum frequency. However, quarterly or seasonal catalogs are optimal for most effective brand-customer interaction.
Engaging catalog marketing has been a proven method of boosting online sales. By following these best practices, you can provide your customers with a memorable experience that makes them feel inspired, connects them to your brand, and drives them to shop.
Mail has the power to drive business and convert customers in different stages of the marketing life cycle. It’s an especially effective medium when it comes to acquisition. Countless companies are leveraging mail and working with USPS in new and exciting ways to do just that. Since finding new customers is a major goal for any business in any industry, we decided to sit down with Adam Solomon, Chief Product Officer at PebblePost, to get a better understanding of acquisition marketing and the role mail plays in that equation.
PebblePost is the inventor of Programmatic Direct Mail™, which transforms real-time online activity into dynamically rendered, personalized direct mail that’s sent out every 12-24 hours. The company leverages data, proprietary advertising technology and mail to win new business and drive their digital marketing partners’ ROI. Though their solution is a digital platform, mail plays a crucial part in their campaigns’ success. Read on as Solomon talks in-depth about how technology, messaging, and personalization help convert new customers.
From your perspective, what are the benefits for using mail for programmatic advertising and customer acquisition?
At PebblePost, we solved a very interesting problem for both brands on the one hand and for consumers on the other. From the brand side, there’s been a lot of innovation when it comes to using data and programmatic technology to understand what consumers are doing in real time on their websites.
The challenge in digital has been the delivery vehicle, whether it’s desktop sites, mobile sites or mobile apps. It’s become a very busy Times Square experience, where ads are just jumping up in your face and really aggravating consumers. This has been proven out by the rise in consumers using ad blockers and all the news we see about consumers getting frustrated with advertising.
Not only is the digital ad experience lacking, there’s also a challenge over whether consumers are in the right frame of mind and in the right modality to receive those messages. Are they ready to transact and take action at the moment that the digital ad or technology is delivered?
Tangible media sent to home is a very polite, respectful and effective vehicle. Consumers check their mail maybe once a day. There’s some ceremony they go through to collect the mail and sort the mail. And if it’s a relevant and compelling offer, they’ll act on it on their own time. So the combination of using a strong real-time signal, which is a digital action that shows consumer intent, and other capabilities of digital and programmatic, in addition to the effectiveness of sending tangible media to home—literally delivering digital with feeling—that’s something that we brought together. We’ve found it in practice, in the last year, to be highly effective.
How does PebblePost leverage its technology to acquire customers?
In Q4 2016, we launched what we called our Website Prospect Remarketing solution. These are prospects already visiting the marketer’s site, but the marketer doesn’t know who they are. They’re not logged in; they’re not existing customers, but they’ve already raised their hand in some manner. There’s some call to action somewhere that has brought them to the site. So they’re already moving in the right direction as far as the brand is concerned, but the brand still needs to seal the deal.
We pick up on that signal. We recognize the fact that someone is not a customer, but a prospect or “new to file”. We have the same ability to use a strong real-time digital signal to qualify a user for a campaign. Then we leverage the power of the proprietary technology on our side that allows us to create connections between an individual visiting a website via a cookie and where to send the mail and find their postal address.
We’ve seen a lot of success with that solution, because this is a prospect that’s already moving down the funnel and we use this very effective tangible media vehicle to push them over the finish line and convert them into a customer.
You mentioned 3 things that I think are important to touch on: messaging, personalization and behavior. Let’s start with behavior. What kind of online behavior are you looking for when you’re seeking out new customers for acquisition?
We have a set way that we think about a user journey on a marketer’s website. If you think about book ends, on one continuum, someone visits the homepage. On the other end of the continuum, someone puts something in their shopping cart. That’s one step towards conversion.
Since we’re mostly focused right now on retail and ecommerce, the in-between pieces are when a user searches for something, maybe goes on a category page. Then they go a little deeper, they’re on a product detail page, then they put something into their carts and they convert. We have a set methodology that we go through, in terms of using a human effort and also machine learning and technology. The deeper someone goes, the more qualified they are.
However, even if someone is going deep and looking in a shoes category and looking at a particular pair of shoes, it doesn’t mean that they want to get a postcard or catalog in the mail just with that pair of shoes. They may just be in the shoe category in general or that might be completely wrong. You may want to promote a cross-sell. If they’re looking at shoes, you may want to promote belts, for example.
When it comes to customer acquisition, would you say that your messaging typically includes offers or is that just one tactic you take?
It really depends on the brands we’re working with and what their goals are. If a brand’s goal is customer acquisition, then we highly recommend as best practice that they have a very strong call to action and a very attractive offer. If it’s a Programmatic Postcard™, the offer should be displayed on the front and back. It should be perceived by the consumer as something being highly valuable, whether it’s the offer itself, or it’s the inclusion of a promotion code or a custom promotion code just for them. “Summer30” is clearly to a consumer a promotion everyone gets, but if it’s a specific number, they know, “Hey, it’s just for me.”
Another interesting thing about creative and the messaging of the offer is we can drive individuals from online to home back to online. We can also drive individuals from online to home to store. This is something you cannot do with a banner ad. People are not printing banner ads, putting them on their fridge and walking them to a store. That’s just not consumer behavior.
When it comes to mail, or what you’re referring to as tangible media, consumer behavior is completely different.
Right. If you get a card in the mail that’s a special offer that you can walk into a physical location that you can hand to a cashier and you get your $15 off or a certain percentage off, that is being perceived as very valuable to the consumer. It also affects behavior in a way that traditional digital cannot. We think PebblePost has a unique opportunity here, because over 90% of strong digital signals picked up today comes from online as people are surfing around websites, searching and taking action. All this signal is being generated.
About 90% plus of all purchase decisions are made in the home. And, though ecommerce is growing, about 90% of all commerce occurs in the real world, in physical store locations. So PebblePost connects through Programmatic Direct Mail™, the strong signal which comes from online, the purchase decisions which are made in home, and then we have the opportunity to drive back to digital, but most interestingly drive individuals to physical stores and complete that loop which is very compelling to marketers.
As PebblePost has shown, mail can be a powerful tool for customer acquisition. Though the company is a digital solution with data-driven decisioning and programmatic principles, it uses mail to get segmented, personalized messaging into customers’ homes. Leverage these principles to acquire more customers than ever before.1