Top Trends in Direct Mail for 2012: Variable Printing

Feb 06, 2012

5 Do’s and Don’ts When Personalizing Your Mailpieces

At Click2Mail, we know that personalized mail is smart mail.  Which is why the vast majority of products we offer have a variable data printing option – meaning that you can change certain aspects of your mailer for each individual recipient.  The most common form of variable data is the recipient’s name.  So, on a postcard or letter (or any other mailer), we print “Dear Sarah” instead of “Dear Recipient.”  Of course, there is a whole range of other elements you can personalize on your mailer.  Read on to learn about what you can (and should) personalize, how to do it, and mistakes to avoid.

1. DO weave in customer details.  Personalizing your mailer so that it reads “Dear Sarah” instead of “Dear Recipient” is the obvious first step.  And, in fact, most mail recipients have come to expect it.  But there are other great ways to weave in information about your customer or prospect.  For customers, you should already be keeping a detailed database that includes the products they buy, when they shop, and even personal details like birthdays.  Craft a jumbo postcard mailer around the “anniversary” of the date they first bought from you, and offer them a special discount on the product that they buy most often.

2. DO get it right with a great list.  In order to make variable data printing work, a great list is an absolute must.  For mailing to your customers, a list with the kinds of details we described in #1 is critical.  For mailing to new prospects, you can rent incredibly rich mailing lists with plenty of data to personalize your mailers from our Mailing List Center

For example, if you sell auto insurance, you could purchase a list of households within a certain area that have a “probable teen driver” (meaning that in the household there is a teenager either at or within a year of full driver's license age) and design a mail campaign personalized to each recipient targeting specifically families with teen drivers.

3. DO use MailJack to send personalized mail more efficiently.  You probably use your own form of variable data printing in your business every single day – to send out invoices and appointment reminders, for example.  Where a lot of businesses use mail merge to send personalized mail, it’s a time-intensive (and expensive) process if you’re doing a lot of mailing.  MailJack makes that kind of personalized mailing as easy as clicking “Print.”  Instead of sending your appointment reminders or invoices or any other kind of document to your own printers, you send them to Click2Mail to print (complete with all of the personalized details), and we take care of folding, stuffing the envelopes, and mailing too.

4. DON’T get creepy.  While mail recipients have come to expect certain kinds of personalization, and understand that you have access to information such as, for example, whether there is a driving-age teenager in the house, there is nevertheless a line you shouldn’t cross.  For example, while you can rent a mailing list that tells you the income range a household is in, and you can absolutely use that information to segment your list, sending a mailer that says “We know you make less than $30,000 a year, and we’ve got a product for you!” would probably be crossing the “creepy” line.  The best way to know if your mailer might cross the line: Ask yourself, “If I got this in the mail, would I feel weird about it?”  Ask a few employees or friends their opinions too, before you decide to send.

5. DON’T forget the offer.  While personalization is an incredibly important factor in determining how successful your mail campaign is (smart personalization = higher response rate) you still can’t afford to forget other key determinants of mail success, like the offer.  In fact, it’s said that 40% of a mailer’s success is owed to the offer.  Done right, you can use personalization to make your offer even more powerful.  One easy way to do that is to include the recipient’s name in the offer: “Sarah, register today and save 10%.”  Or, include some customer detail: “Sarah, we know how much you love our [insert customer’s favorite produce here], so come in today and save 20%.”

Speaking of which…for a limited time, get 10% off any postcard order from Click2Mail. 
Postcards are a great medium for personalization, because they stand out right in the mailbox.  Enter coupon code LEAP10 at checkout.

If you’d like to learn more about how Click2Mail makes personalization easy, or if you need some help personalizing your mailer, we’re here for you.  Give us a call at 866-665-2787 Mon-Fri, 9AM to 8PM EST or email .