UPDATED – B2B Direct Mail and COVID-19: Best practices and FAQs for uncertain times

Like most industries today – direct mail has been impacted amidst the COVID-19 breakout. We’ve spoken to our customers and fellow B2B marketers about how they are being affected and what they have been seeing come from direct mail during these times.

 

The reality for 2021

Even in a remote working ecosystem, relationships with high-value prospects and customers need to be developed and maintained for both now and the future.

Growth needs to continue or pick up going into 2021, and direct mail is a highly targeted marketing force that, if used wisely, could be found to be very helpful in this case.

Virtual and hybrid events will continue for the foreseeable future, and marketers will have to continue creatively engaging their audience, which will become increasingly important as digital fatigue grows during these times. 

 

FAQ’s 

Is now the right time for direct mail?

Yes, it is 

During these times, it’s important to find creative ways to stay in front of your audience, and direct mail gift packages are a great way to do that – it not only keeps your brand on their minds, it makes them feel like you care. 

The crowd has spoken, and direct mail is the winner. As a direct mail marketing platform, we’ve been seeing an overwhelming increase in the adoption of this channel in 2020. Before the pandemic, direct mail saw a market benchmark of 5-9% engagement rates. At Outgage, we have seen our customers hit over 35% engagement rates many times. Throughout 2020, we saw direct mail campaigns reach as high as 40% engagement when incorporated into virtual and hybrid events. 

 

How can you integrate direct mail when your audience is working from home?

Address collection landing pages or virtual gifts

Because most work has gone remote, direct mail workflows have tilted. Prior to 2020, a typical B2B direct mail campaign would include an offline-first touch point, then closing the offline-to-online loop with a URL on a postcard where contacts could interact digitally. Now with people either working from home or in the office, that process is more typically online-to-offline to avoid sending unsolicited packages to homes. 

This workflow would start by sending contacts an email with a URL to a unique landing page. Contacts are then able to provide their shipping address to receive their branded gift package. Depending on the campaign type – whether you are hosting a virtual event, sending a thank you gift, or just sending gifts to stay in front of your audience – their package could include a postcard with additional CTA’s and event PURL’s. 

Virtual and hybrid events

Keeping your audience engaged during these times is crucial. By hosting various virtual events, your audience has a chance to see you and connect with your brand even though in-person conferences and events are canceled. Pairing those experiences with a gift package or swag box is another great way to boost engagement and overall brand awareness and trust.

As seen in the Marketing Brew Newsletter, we invited prospects and clients to a fun virtual Happy Hour by sending them a landing page where they could fill out their address and receive two wine tumblers. With this gift, they also got a postcard with a URL leading them to an additional landing page where they could officially RSVP to the event and get a second gift – a drink of their choice for the event!

happy hour event direct mail campaign
Workflow for Outgage Virtual Happy Hour event.

Softer CTA’s for relationship building

It’s tempting to deliver messaging that aggressively showcases why your brand or business is the right tool to use during these times, but audiences don’t want to be sold too aggressively, especially now with limited budgets and purchasing freedom. Using softer CTA’s and hosting events that are geared towards networking and sharing ideas are more likely to get a response and put your brand at the front of your audience’s minds. 

 

What can we expect from direct mail today?

Higher engagement than other channels

When paired with well-crafted email marketing strategies and landing pages, direct mail has been seeing high engagement rates. Our Happy Hour event mentioned previously saw 48.78% of invitees completed the CTA to receive their drink and 87.5% of those contacts became attendees.

 

Stronger relationship building

Building relationships with your audience is more important than ever. Everyone is looking for a reason to smile, and gifts are the ultimate happiness-inducer. Long story short, direct mail packages are a delightful way to boost engagement with your audiences, and pairing these efforts with virtual events and email marketing is even better when trying to convert. 

This holiday season, we sent out gifts to thank some of our clients for working with us over the past year and also to some prospects. Even though emails are slow and engagement rates dwindle around the holidays, we still saw an amazing 34.43% engagement for the campaign. We even got verbal feedback expressing delight and thanking us for the gifts. Not only was it a great way for us to show off what we do, it strengthened the connection to our audience. 

 

How do I know which workflow is right for my brand?

Test it out

There might be a few different ways to use direct mail that could work for your brand, but you won’t know exactly which one gets the highest engagement and conversion rates from your audience until you test the waters. However, your customer-base could help you decide where to start. 

If you have a new product launch that you want to showcase or you have had success with events in the past, virtual and hybrid events with branded packages (similar to our Happy Hour example) could be the best way to test out direct mail campaigns. If your audience is more inclined to engage through one-on-one meetings, you can try a landing page first campaign with a gift enticement and CTA to set up a virtual meeting – gifts can include coffee kits for a virtual coffee-meeting theme and so much more. 

 

How can Outgage help?

We’re happy to work through a customized plan that makes the most sense for our customers, their goals and needs, and budgets. Plans could include: batch testing, changing addresses, or planning to ship at a later date with or without re-messaging campaigns accordingly.

Outgage the ability to create engaging direct mail packages and track it every step of the way. From shipping and delivery to engagement rates, the all-in-one platform is easy (and fun!) to use.  

We firmly believe that direct mail is the key, and a growing component throughout 2020 and going into 2021. We’ll be sure to update our users and anyone else interested in any new findings or best practices as we continue to navigate through these uncertain times. Feel free to contact and consult with our alert team at outgage.co.

 

Want to know more about the power of direct mail with Outgage?

Create enticing direct mail campaigns with amazing landing pages and customized packages for prospects, and track your campaign every step of the way. Get in touch with us to learn more about how you can create, deliver and measure unforgettable direct mail experiences.

 

During these times, it’s important to find creative ways to stay in front of your audience, and direct mail gift packages are a great way to do that – it not only keeps your brand on their minds, it makes them feel like you care.

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