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Eloqua and Direct-Mail: The Return of Physical Mail!

The next generation of postal-mail uses automation, personalization and tracking. Welcome to Direct Mail version 2! 

In an era of digital innovation, does direct mail still matter? Well – the numbers may surprise you.  

Even normal “dumb” direct-mail still works; averaging a 4.4% response rate compared to 0.12% for email marketing. Now that everyone’s email boxes are full, there’s more room in their actual mailbox. 

Physical mail stands out. And more importantly – it doesn’t automatically get buried like an email. If you have a compelling postcard on your desk, you either decide to respond, or throw it away. 

Increasingly saturated online-advertising has resulted in ad fatigue. But how often do you receive truly personalized direct-mail? The opportunity to get noticed in Direct Mail is the highest it has been in decades. It is almost always, at the very least, acknowledged by the consumer once they receive it. 

No opt-in required? 

Unlike email, direct-mail doesn’t usually need an opt-in. This leads to two very powerful use-cases: 

a.   Secure the email opt-in 

b.   First introduction 

a.   Get the email opt-in 

There is one direct-mail campaign you should consider running “by default” – if you have high value customers or clients.That’s to get email opt-ins. 

This campaign is simple, effective, and you can set it up once and run it forever. 

It’s very, very simple. 

Whenever you have a relationship with somebody(lead, contact, client, etc.) but you don’t have permission toemail them – send them a personalized postcard, with a personal link where they can easily subscribe. 

You just set this up, it keeps on running, and theROI is extremely simple to measure (we spend x per month for y new opt-ins). 

If you can get people’s postal addresses it’s a no-brainer to try this out. 

b.   First Introduction 

Another incredible use-case for direct-mail is when you want to do cold-outreach to a specific list of people.This is when you have a message for a very particular group of relatively high-value targets.  

This use-case is perfect. But it takes a bit more explaining, so we will come back to this later in the article. 

Your customers trust Direct Mail  

 The tangibility of mail and its ability to clearly convey its message (it takes 21% less cognitive effort to process– apparently!) makes it a powerful tool. 

It is amongst the most trusted channels, with its ability to add a personal feel. According to a survey by Royal Mail, consumers feel more valued by brands when they receiveDirect Mail and 63% are likely to take a brand’s message seriously in comparison to 18% for those contacted by email.    

Overcoming Direct Mail barriers with Eloqua 

Most people know direct-mail works. But they think it’s just too hard to execute on. This makes sense when you look at the old-way of doing things. 

So how do you take a proven marketing channel and powerful demographics to create a highly advanced Direct Mail campaign?  

First you have to overcome a few barriers...  

The old way… 

Traditionally, if you wanted to send personalized mail, this involved one of your staff going through a laborious cycle of personalizing and printing letters – then putting them in envelopes, and taking them to the post-office or organizing pick-up. 

Even if you manually personalize the letters – you can’t give them a personalized link or landing page, and you can’t track who has viewed.  

You might get a commercial printer involved – but this is normally restricted to higher volumes by printers, eliminating flexibility. 

Not very appealing, right? 

The new way… 

To understand why Direct Mail 2.0 is SO different, you have to understand the technology that makes it possible. There are 3 advances that work together: 

1.   Printers now have automated tools, where you can send them a PDF and it automatically prints & gets sent. This technology means no more minimum-order volumes.  You can even send one-off postcards & letters if you need to. 

2.   Eloqua has incredible segmentation & personalization tools. So if we connect Eloqua to these printers, we can automatically send documents to the printer – giving us true “right message, right time” direct-mail. 

3.   Personalization technology is now so advanced, that we can give each person a unique short-link and/or QR code. This lets us personalize not just the postcard/letter, but also the landing page they arrive at! This also means we can track exactly who has “clicked” our physical mail! Which in turn means we can run A:B testing on physical-mail! 

When you take these 3things together – the process becomes highly automated and effective. All you need to do is setup the campaign & let Eloqua automate everything. You can leave it running forever if you want to; just define a Segment and whenever new people match those rules they will be sent physical mail. 

We can then simply focus on creating hyper-personalized, valuable content for our campaign – which, according to The Direct Mail Association, can improve Direct Mail ROI by anywhere between 300% to 1000%.  

How does it actually work? 

Step-by-step: 

1.   Add a Direct Mail step to your Eloqua campaign 

2.   Edit the message using the rich-text editor 

3.   Insert field-merges into your message which will be replaced with each contact’s information. (This works for contact fields and custom-object fields). 

4.   Add personalized links. These are short-links which are unique for each contact, which can be tracked just like an email-click 

5.   Add split-test versions with one click 

6.   Click ‘test’ to see a full PDF preview of the personalized postcard or letter  

7.   Activate your campaign & the PDFs get sent to your printer via. API 

8.   The printer receives the orders, prints them, and sends them out 

9.   Your contacts receive the mail & you can see which individual contacts“click”, overall performance, and which A:B test version worked best 

A Real Setup 

Remember our first use-case, getting email opt-ins? Let’s build that in Eloqua. 
The campaign: 

Here’s how to set this up: 

1.   Create a Segment with everyone you have a relationship with but no email opt-in 

2.   Create a landing page for people to confirm their opt-ins 

3.   Add a Direct Mail step and configure it to send a letter or postcard with a personal short-link to this landing-page  

Here’s a screen shot of the Direct Mail configuration: 

Here you can:  

1.   Specify whether you are using a letter or postcard for the campaign 

2.   Specify the image (postcards only)  

3.   Edit message using “Microsoft Word-style” rich text editor  

4.   Add A:B test versions 

5.   Insert field-merges (contact fields) 

6.   Insert field-merges  (CDO fields) 

7.   Press ‘test’ to see a PDF 

8.   Add personalized short-links  

 An advanced example: First Introduction 

Let’s try something more advanced. 

Imagine you are targeting people who you have no relationship with – but they are high-value targets who are a good fit for your message. Can Direct Mail still have the same effect?  

This example starts with a targeted audience of 10,000 people. Each will get a personalized postcard or letter with a unique link, which we will use to measure engagement.  

The main concept here is that we can look at who was interested – and keep communicating with them. These people are much more likely to be receptive to our follow-up. So we can focus our future sends on these people, reducing the cost: 

1.   We start with 10,000 targeted decision-makers 

2.   Personalized postcards are sent with personalized links  

3.   After 3 weeks, an evaluation step monitors to see which customers have clicked the personalized links but not booked a free consultation. We know these people showed some interest 

4.   These people get a follow-up; this time a letter with more information.This audience is smaller (only the people who engaged with the postcard). As the relevance goes up, the cost per letter stays the same…making this step highly cost-effective.  

5.   After a further 3 weeks, we can expect quite a few consultations to have been booked. We look for people who again typed the URL but didn’t fully convert… these are highly likely to book a consultation, so we flag these as tasks in CRM to be called by sales staff. 

6.   When people type the links – they can go to personalized landing pages, these can even contain pre-filled or “one click” forms 

 The example shows just how advanced we can get in ourDirect Mail campaign using personalized links to measure ROI – but also to increase our return on future direct mail steps, and ultimately give our sales team a list of highly-likely prospects who responded to both pieces of direct mail but didn’t fully convert.  

The opportunities are endless. 

Start your campaign  

I’m sure you are already imagining various ways you can implement Direct Mail in your marketing strategy.  

Our Direct Mail Eloqua extension makes it absurdly simple to add this channel to your campaign to create highly targeted, advanced and cost-effective campaigns.  

The next step is simple. Start by booking a live demo with one of our Eloqua experts here  

1.   Click the above link  

2.   You will see a list of available time slots. Choose whichever is most convenient 

3.   During the meeting you will see the tools, get advice and help planning your strategy and next step. 

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