The common view of direct mail is one of a campaign that delivers marketing materials directly into the mailbox of potential customers. Usually, those customers are the consumers, and the idea of using the same method to reach business-to-business (B2B) clients simply doesn’t occur. That’s not entirely accurate, however, as marketers have found business mailing lists to be a powerful way to reach prospects and generate sales leads.
Here are 5 tips for using direct mail as an effective method of B2B marketing:
Make the Most of In-House Intelligence
Most companies already have a comprehensive internal list of current and former clients. That means you have a ready-to-go mailing list to use for your campaign, which comprises people who know who you are and may have already used your products or services. This typically doubles your chances of getting a response, compared with using a brand new or external mailing list. Before you begin, get a professional direct mail company to help you clean your list. This means checking that addresses are up to date, removing duplicates and correcting obvious errors, which will help you to improve your campaign’s ROI by reducing “undeliverables” and saving you money. At the same time, you can add the addresses of any new prospects you may have hanging around, and make sure they aren’t already on your list.
Use Personalization Practices
With B2B direct mail you run the same risk of having your mailer trashed before it’s read. The difference is that you can take steps to clear that hurdle by making the item appear to be business mail, as opposed to the “novelty” mailer approach that works so well with B2C recipients. Do this by:
- Addressing each piece to a specific person by name, not just by job title
- Using a standard-sized envelope to give the appearance of being personal or professional correspondence
- Adding words such as “Requested Information Enclosed” to the envelope, which suggests that it was solicited mail.
- Using proper postage stamps instead of bulk mail facilities.
All these tactics will increase your chances of the mailer actually reaching the person it’s intended for.
Employ a Targeted Approach
Market segmentation based on customer personas is more important than ever in the B2B environment. You can’t send the same message to the small businessperson as you do to the buyer in a large corporate, or the IT director of a big bank. They might all be members of your target market, but by personalizing your message for the intended audience you’ll increase the effectiveness. We know it takes more effort and requires several different versions of the same mailing, but making each direct mail message relevant to the recipient will give you a better ROI.
Talk Benefits, Not Features
It’s Marketing 101, but far too many marketers still fall into the trap of listing every feature of the product in the hope it resonates with the prospect. Here’s a newsflash: it doesn’t and it won’t. What it will do is bore him and seem irrelevant. The thing that’s important to your prospect is not what your product or service can do; it’s how it improves his life, his company or employer’s performance, and how that will benefit his position. So talk in those terms.
Add Easy Access
One thing applies to both B2B and B2C direct mail: contactability. Have you ever received a mailer that makes you hunt for the contact info? It happens more than you think. Ideally you should include several ways to contact you, so your prospect can choose the one most convenient for him (or her). Focus on the options business people are likely to prefer, which usually doesn’t include insisting on coming to your store or branch. Toll-free phone numbers, direct URLs or scannable QR codes are your best options for a seamless response experience.
One of the most powerful methods of generating leads (and one you can’t use with every prospect, for obvious reasons) is to personalize your mailing with a promise that you will call them on a particular date and time to discuss how you can be of service. All that requires from the prospect is to schedule the call. As long as you remember to make it, of course!