Google the term Triggered Mail and you will get 13,800,000 hits in .18 seconds.
Almost none of them will be correct, however, because Google will assume you meant “triggered email.”
This is understandable, since using triggered direct mail is an obscure but effective use of multi-channel marketing.
Like its domineering big brother triggered email, triggered direct mail is sent in response to a specific action by a customer. Unlike triggered email, however, triggered direct mail is somewhat unexpected and therefore attention-getting.
We’ve all received hundreds or even thousands of triggered emails, to the point where they have become the buzzing flies of our inboxes. They arrive instantaneously and often – so often that many of us never even read them. You already know that whatever else the email says, it is primarily a ploy to grab our attention and persuade us to buy.
Triggered direct mail has, of course, the same goal. But when a personalized postcard or letter arrives two days after you contemplated a purchase, its advantages over triggered email are worth examining:
- It’s fortuitous. Many of us dither over certain purchasing decisions, particularly non-necessities, and especially pricey ones. Just like being unable to recall where on earth you put your glasses until the moment you stop focusing on the problem, difficult purchase decisions that are put off suddenly become obvious choices a day or two later – just as your postcard reminding the prospect of the wonders of your product arrives in the mail.
- It’s personalized. Ideally, your postcard or letter will have many specific details to attract your prospect’s attention. One example: a realtor who sends a postcard with his photo, a photo of the house you toured last weekend, a bulleted list of its best features, and an inducement of some kind, such as a discount on some portion of his services.
- It’s targeted. Since you are sending a personalized communication to a known prospect, you can be 100% sure that your marketing dollar is being used wisely.
- It’s not digital. Believe me, I am all about my email and my laptop and my iPhone. Couldn’t live without any of them. But the fact is, we are all being bombarded by too much digital input. Direct mail is becoming the rarity, the three-dimensional, trusted resource that doesn’t harass us, clog up our inbox, or demand instant attention like a child with ADHD. It just sits there patiently, awaiting our attention at our leisure.
- It‘s versatile. A highly personalized piece of direct mail can be sent in response to hundreds of potential actions. A visit to a website, a visit to a store, a phone call, a related purchase in-store or online: almost any action can translate into a potential opportunity.
- It keeps the relationship active. Thank you notes are another form of triggered mail. Although not a direct inducement to buy, thank you notes are a fabulous way to cement relationships with your customers. And as the etiquette police always insist, you should never use email to send a thank you note. It is just too impersonal. Heck, you shouldn’t even type a thank you note! (Handwriting fonts are a great way around that problem.)
So unlike those trigger-happy gunslingers of yore, who shot too soon and killed too many, trigger-happy marketers can use triggered direct mail to keep in check their desire to tackle a prospect and hold him down until he cries “Visa! Visa! Take my Visa!” Digital age consumers are savvier than ever, and more resistant to old-tyme sales techniques than ever. Tackling just ain’t working the way it used to. Take advantage of that by combining the acquisition and personalization possibilities of the digital age with old-style direct mail, and see how many ducks you can ultimately shoot in a barrel.