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March 07, 2017

Four Secrets to a Highly Effective Direct Mail Lead Nurturing Campaign

3_7_17  Nurture_870x 350.jpgWhat happens when you acquire a new lead? Do you, A) Send it straight to sales? B) Enter it into a database, then forget about it? Or C) Nurture it, maintaining consistent contact that establishes a relationship and guides the lead down your sales funnel?

The correct answer is C.

Lead nurturing is the process of courting leads and building trust until they are ready to convert into a paying customer. Only a very small percentage of new leads will be primed to purchase right away, making lead nurturing essential for converting the remaining majority.

According to a 2013 report by MarketingSherpa, only 36% of marketers actually nurture their leads. That means if you do, you automatically have a leg up over 64% of your competition. And quite a leg up it is. Marketo reports that companies that implement lead nurturing programs generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost, and that nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

In other words, lead nurturing is a golden marketing opportunity.

Lead nurturing is often associated with email marketing, but in actuality is a practice that can be applied to any channel. And with the average email open rate hovering just over 20% across all industries, a smart marketer should be looking to other avenues as a means of nurturing their leads. Channels such as direct mail.

While digital channels achieve a response rate of just 0.62% collectively, direct mail boasts a healthy response rate of 1.0%. If you do the math, you’ll find that means direct mail outperforms digital channels by 38% in nurturing new leads. Tell that to the naysayers!

Use these strategies to maximize the results of your next direct mail lead nurturing program:

Segment your lists.

For lead nurturing, one size does not fit all. Nurturing your leads requires addressing their specific needs and introducing your product as the solution. Unless you have an unusually narrow audience, your leads are going to comprise several different demographics. Each of these demographics will have unique pain points. Segmenting your lists based on factors such as age, location, or product/service interest will allow you to address these unique pain points and achieve a stronger response rate.

Target your content.

To build a relationship with your leads and guide them down your sales funnel, ever closer to making a purchase, you need to give them relevant reasons to stay engaged with your communications. That’s where targeting comes in.

Once you’ve segmented your lists, your task is to create personalized (targeted) messages for each audience based on their needs, preferences, and behavior. You may have to create several different versions for each campaign, but the extra work will pay off. Nurturing leads with targeted content results in 20% greater sales opportunities than generic messages.

Use PURLs.

No, not knit one, purl one. PURLs are personalized URLs. They all go to the same place (your website, your campaign landing page, etc), but they have a unique tag that allows you to trace traffic back to specific leads. By assigning each lead a PURL, you can easily measure and track the effectiveness of your campaign. It also gives you the power to contact the specific leads who responded to your direct mail piece. Which leads us to our next point.

Read also: how direct mail and digital can work together to increase conversions.

Follow up.

Contacting a new lead within the first five minutes increases your odds of converting them by 21 times over contacting them even 30 minutes later. Of course, you can’t exactly send a targeted direct mail piece to their doorstep within five minutes. But if you use PURLs, you can contact leads who engage with your campaigns promptly after they’ve taken action, whether that be visiting your landing page or viewing a promotional video.

When you put together a new direct mail campaign, don’t just send it and forget it, waiting for the sales to roll in. Stay actively engaged in tracking the behavior of your leads, and promptly follow up with any who take action. The art of conversion is delivering the right message to the  right lead at the right time. A timely, informed phone call to an engaged lead can be the push they need to become your next customer.

The most effective lead nurturing programs will include multi-channel touch points with prospects, with a combination of direct mail and digital efforts. Implementing the strategies we’ve outlined in this post will guarantee that your direct mail component plays its part.

Ready to get started on your next direct mail lead nurturing campaign? Download our FREE 12-page USPS Postal Rate Guide for the most current information on rates, design guidelines, and more.

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