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The Guide To Trigger-Based Direct Mail Marketing

Sunday, February 04, 2024

The Guide To Trigger-Based Direct Mail Marketing

If you’re a business owner, one of your primary goals is to see your business grow and become more profitable. In my experience, direct mail is one of the most powerful tools available to help you achieve that.

Now, imagine if you could just set up and forget about your direct mail campaigns, and the benefits just start automatically flowing in – without the hassle of placing a print order, or uploading art files and mailing lists. This concept is called trigger-based marketing.

Once upon a time, trigger-based marketing was limited to only online activities, such as display ads and emails.

Now, with advancements in technology, businesses have the capability to send targeted, personalized, and tangible messages directly to their audiences.

The principle of trigger-based marketing is action and reaction; by interacting with your brand, your customers give you all the intelligence needed to reach them. All you have to do is send a message that fits best. Trigger-based mail is a strategy wherein you create a tailored direct mail response based on consumer behavior data.

​For example, let’s say you have a customer who filled their online shopping cart from your website, got distracted, and never actually bought anything. A few days later they may find an email in their inbox reminding them that they still have items in their cart. Basic stuff. But then, several more days after that, they receive a physical brochure with a coupon from that same company – your company.

With trigger-based direct mail implemented, direct mail is automatically sent alongside an email, or even in place of an email. You won’t have to worry about any constant planning, placing print orders, uploading artwork, or running to the post office. Your direct mail pieces are established along with your database. This is the power of Trigger-Based Direct Mail campaigns.

Depending on the nature of events that occur during your customer’s purchasing process, you can use triggers to respond quickly to any unique opportunities that present themselves.

Your direct mail marketing becomes just as effortless as digital marketing, and you’ll receive higher response rates and ROI – because rather than sending out mass mailings to your entire list, you can hone in on specific targets.

If you manage to attract customers at just the right time with a great offer, they are more likely to be persuaded to take action.

How To Use Trigger-Marketing

Most of the people reading this should know that you need to understand your buyers if you want to make any marketing strategy work. That’s common sense.

However, trigger marketing is a little different in the sense that: there is no room for a flexible approach.

You can only craft great trigger marketing once you have a concrete understanding of your customer’s life cycle stages and pain points.

You can create trigger-based direct mail campaigns by connecting your database with your print and direct mail provider – this database is often your CRM or marketing automation platform, achieved using Direct Mail CRM Integration. Alternatively, it can be connected to your website activity using Direct Mail Retargeting.

How To Use Trigger-Marketing

Then, to get your message to the right people, you need to identify the right trigger. The ‘if’s and ‘then’s. IF your customer does this, THEN what happens?

The ‘if’ part is what you use as a go signal – the trigger, basically – to commence the ‘then’ part. Some common signals include:

  • ​Actions taken on your website
  • Responses to past mail/emails
  • Certain criteria met in the database

After you’ve determined your triggers, you can decide on the actions that occur after. This can include both sending an email and the consequent direct mail piece.

Creating customized and personalized messages will become easier for you using this strategy. The reason is that your trigger-based direct mail campaign will be to your database; giving automatic access to names, addresses, account information, and any other relevant data.

Harnessing the power of personalization will open many doors – opportunities to nurture, maximize efficiency, and increase your overall response rate. Your triggers will guide you in crafting a personalized message for any situation, and you can use a multitude of different triggers that will help you determine what type of tailored message to send.

Before you can start your targeted campaign, you will need to decide which prospect and what customer actions you’d like to take advantage of. I’ll discuss a few examples of triggers you can implement to meet your business goals.

Welcome Trigger

Welcome Trigger

This trigger is activated when a person makes their first purchase, or if they sign up for your service for the first time. It signals the beginning of their customer journey with your business, and usually, these customers look for connections with businesses that can supply what they need.

This is the best time to stimulate those emotions with a piece of direct mail. It could be a letter of gratitude, expressing your appreciation to them for choosing your business.

Or, it could be a nice postcard with a discount for repeat purchases.

The bottom line is that this sends a (literal) message to your new customer that you value their presence and their purchase, no matter how small or big it may be. They will feel like they matter to you, so they will become more susceptible to engaging with your business again.

Following Verizon’s strategy, you can also trigger a direct mail when a customer makes an add-on purchase. Verizon does that when a customer signs up for a device protection plan.

Thank You Trigger

This is another trigger that aims to go beyond the transactional aspect of the customer relationship. Unlike the welcome trigger, you are expressing gratitude for a customer’s purchase regardless of whether it is their first time or not.

This can be triggered when a customer signs up for your newsletter, or when they purchase a high-value service from you. Your direct mail response can then be a simple acknowledgment that conveys your business’ appreciation.

Alternatively, you could make it highly personalized to acknowledge the specific action that triggered the direct mail piece. It may include details such as the customer’s name, the product or service they purchased, or the specific feedback they provided.

As long as you are making your customers feel appreciated, they will feel more inclined to continue doing business with you – and potentially become advocates for your business.

Life Event Trigger

Life Event Trigger

This strategy will allow you to use triggers for events – sending an automated, direct mail to a lead or customer at the right time with the relevant message.

College enrollments, marriages, birthdays, and even newly established businesses are event-based moments that you can set triggers for.

When one of these events occurs for a prospect on your mailing list, you can one of these two messages:

  • A “Congratulations!” greeting with a gift card or coupon.
  • A personalized message offering a product or service.

Another common event trigger is birthdays or even half-birthdays. If your business has some kind of loyalty program or anything that requires your customers to submit their birthdates upon sign-up, you can use this information to create an automated system that triggers a personalized, direct mail campaign.

The mail might include a birthday greeting, a special discount code for birthday shopping, and perhaps even some recommendations for products based on the customer’s previous experience.

Additionally, reaching out to your customers based on certain events will help you build a connection with them because they know you care and value their loyalty. The more you engage with them at well-timed moments, the more likely they are to make repeat purchases.

Renewal Trigger

Renewal Trigger

It is crucial to maintain a dual focus on both acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones.

Getting new customers is like getting more building blocks for your castle – but when you don’t maintain the old blocks that make up your foundation, then everything will be bound to crumble. This is the value of brand loyalty and customer retention.

If your current customers haven’t renewed their subscription, membership, or other plans, send a reminder.

Encourage them to re-engage with your offer, renew their commitment, and remind them of the value you can provide. This reminder should communicate the necessity of your customer’s continued support and the practicality that a renewal will provide to them.

For instance, you can send a postcard asking if they forgot to renew, along with some kind of a special VIP discount to thank them for their loyalty if they renew.

As a marketer and business owner, you should be proactive. By prioritizing customer retention through reminders, you fortify your bonds with your clientele and position your business as a trusted partner.

Last Remarks

With these four trigger-based examples combined with online tactics like email marketing – trigger-based direct mail can help you boost customer acquisition, retention, conversions, and revenue. Just remember to do more research beyond this guide and select the right direct mail company to cover your triggered mail needs.

Work directly with experts who can guarantee quality, and you can expect to see your response rates increase exponentially.

​If you need more help to get started with your trigger-based direct mail campaign, or just any direct mail campaign in general, then you can join our NO B.S Newsletter for marketing strategies, behind-the-scene walkthroughs, and more.

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