How do you make your wide-scale send-out seem more personal and relevant to the individual customer without having to draft individual pieces of mail for every recipient? One way is to utilize the power of Variable Data Printing (VDP). It’s a simple concept: the best way to really reach the most people possible isn’t to be as broad as possible but rather to be as individual as possible. One of the best ways to do that is by making sure you aren’t just sending the same thing to everyone, which can feel distant and impersonal to the customer. Instead, anything from addressing your customer by name, to adding a local color map, will help you connect with your customers, and impart a valuable personal touch. This will help customers hold on to and pay attention to your send-outs far more often and more effectively than mail that sounds mass-produced, impersonal, or “boilerplate.”
Don’t Be a Stranger
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Imagine that you’ve moved into a new house and have taken the time to introduce yourself to your neighbors on either side. You go out of your way to introduce yourself to both your neighbor on your right and your neighbor on your left in the same way. Now, whenever you run into the neighbor on the right, they greet you by name, ask you about your specific profession, and ask if you need them to take in your mail while you’re on vacation next month, etc. By contrast, the neighbor on the left greets you with a “hi neighbor,” and not much else. Which one of those two neighbors would you go to if you needed something? Which one of these two neighbors would you be more receptive to if they needed something from you? The neighbor on the right who always communicated a little more personally is always going to be your go-to out of those two neighbors for things you need and is always going to be the one you’re more likely to help out with things they need. In short, it’s going to be a better and more valuable relationship for both parties.
The same can be said of customers and what sort of business relationships they’re more likely to be interested in engaging in. Your direct mail marketing is much more likely to connect with potential customers if you address them by name rather than as “current resident” or “occupant.” Stepping back into their shoes, which mail would you rather open? A letter addressed to you by name, or a letter addressed to “current resident?” People are simply more likely to open mail addressed to them by name than they are to open, let alone feel invested in, mail that seems like it could have been sent to anyone.
Variable Data connects you to your customers and it puts them at ease. People want to do business with other people and companies they know and trust, and companies that know and care about them individually. Variable data personalizes their experience with you and your marketing message. This creates a feeling that you know them, and can, in turn, make them more comfortable trusting and working with you. Customers are going to be far more likely to feel like you are capable of understanding and meeting their specific needs when they feel like you are talking to them on an individual level, rather than talking to everyone in your target area all at once.
Variable Data Printing: Go the Extra Mile
While it’s a simple and effective start, variable data printing can go a lot further than simply individualizing the address on your direct mail send-out. For example, a marketing campaign for a chain of pizza places has a better chance of reaching customers if you include a map that points out the nearest location to each individual customer. That way the customer will feel like they’re being spoken to on a personal level when they see their own neighborhood pizza location on the map, rather than feeling like the mail is just broadly addressing the whole country. This can be especially effective for welcoming new movers to the neighborhood.
A simple greeting for new movers can go a long way toward building a business relationship with new potential clients. If you were new in town, would you rather turn to a takeout menu that welcomed you to the neighborhood by name or one that looked like it could have been sent to anyone? And if you’re in a new house, you’ll probably need new furniture to fill it. Even if you aren’t thinking of updating, a letter from a furniture warehouse that welcomes you to your new home, while at the same time presents the idea to you of updating your furniture, might actually convince you to update your furniture anyway. That’s the power of VDP not just to reach customers but to generate customers.
Another example would be a personalized birthday message. Most people are probably checking their mail more eagerly around their birthday anyway for letters from wellwishers. And wouldn’t you be more likely to want to engage in business with a company that remembered your birthday rather than one that doesn’t even know your name? A simple birthday greeting can go a long way toward bolstering a positive business-customer relationship.
Along the same line, a customer loyalty message is another great personalized send-out which can take advantage of the power of variable data printing. A simple coupon after a given amount of time, a year of being a customer, for example, can go a long way towards making customers feel not just valued and remembered, but individual and special as well.
Maybe you want to send out a Christmas card to all of your clients, but you don’t want to simply overwhelm them with a group picture of your whole team. VDP can help you establish a template for the Christmas card which can then be filled in with the people on your team who worked with each individual client. If, let’s say, a bank wants to send out a Christmas or other holiday card, their customers can receive individualized mail that features a picture of their favorite teller, or the person who manages their loan, with an individual greeting from that person. Wouldn’t you rather receive a personal message from Stacy who helped you get pre-approved for a mortgage than receive a boilerplate send-out from the bank at large?
Another idea would be to send an individual message based on the customer’s specific shopping history. An “if you’re enjoying your recent purchase of this, then you’re going to love this” sort of message is a great way to tap into and build upon the positive experiences of an initial customer in order to turn them into a repeating customer. Repeat business is often vital for success, and personal touches to previous customers can help you convert one-time customers into lifetime customers. Customer loyalty is extremely important and making your customers feel valued and special goes a long way toward fostering customer loyalty.
And the ideas don’t stop there. With variable data printing, the ideas are effectively endless, limited only by your creativity and imagination. Variable Data Printing is the perfect vehicle for your next great idea, and also the perfect way to connect with potential customers on an individual level that makes them feel comfortable and valued. From generating new customers, to fostering customer loyalty and generating lifetime customers, variable data printing is one of the most effective tools in the marketing arsenal, and one of the best ways to beat out the competition.
Increasing Your ROI with Variable Data Printing
The powerful tool that is variable data printing doesn’t have to slow down printing. Instead, innovative VDP technology allows you to insert personal, demographic, and marketing information unique to your recipients to make every piece of mail individualized, without pushing back your deadlines. Since your marketing materials can have the same basic design and branding, even though your content and addressee information is unique, VDP represents an impressive tool for increasing the effectiveness of your mail without blowing the lid off of your budget. As such, VDP will offer a better return on investment compared to boilerplate mail.
Current marketing data highlights that customers are 70% more likely to open mail with personalized content and color text. Using a variable data printing system to tailor each marketing piece to your customer’s profile can increase your live response rates by 15%. And by creating templates that can be filled in with relevant individual information, the time and financial cost of printing individually are far less with variable data printing technology.
Even those aforementioned personalized maps, for example, which might seem complex and expensive, remain cost-effective. Geo-location mapping software, combined with variable data printing, can add personalized features to your existing mail file. You have the convenience of a robust software tool while avoiding the hassle and cost of setting up individual maps for each recipient.
Take Advantage of Variable Data Printing Today
The technology is here now. You never again have to send out your marketing message on a vehicle that feels massively produced, bland, and impersonal. Instead, take advantage of variable data printing, of unique customer data, and geo-location mapping software to deliver a message that is more likely to be read by your potential customer, more likely to connect with your potential customer, and more likely to generate a response, turning that potential customer into an actual customer — potentially a lifelong customer.
The only limit to what Variable Data Printing can do for your next marketing push is your imagination. From Christmas cards to birthday send-outs, and from loyalty coupons, to new-mover greetings, VDP gives you the best tool to create your own new market for your business by connecting on a personal level to your recipients, thereby converting them into new and repeat customers. With this potential, there has never been a better time to utilize this technology to your advantage and to increase your return on investment.
Let’s Talk about what Variable Data Printing can do for You
Give United Mail a call today to talk about utilizing variable data printing in your next direct mail campaign. We’re here to help and look forward to hearing from you. Request a call today.
By Kenton Jetton