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How To Improve Customer Retention With Direct Mail

It’s no secret that retaining customers is difficult - especially in an age when expectations are changing and customer loyalty is capricious. 

And when acquiring new customers costs five times more than retaining existing ones (FinancesOnline), the need to retain customers has never been greater. Especially when you consider that loyal customers are more likely to buy from your company and bring you word of mouth referrals, making them more profitable than new business.

As well as having a thorough new business strategy, it’s important to have a well thought out customer retention strategy that makes your existing clients feel valued.

One way to engage with active and passive customers is through personalised direct mail. 

At Sorted Direct Mail, we’ve helped hundreds of brands (including Costco and West Midlands Safari Park) strengthen their existing customer base through data management and personalised direct mail campaigns

So we thought we’d share some tips on increasing customer loyalty and repeat business  through the power of direct mail. 

Make the most of data segmentation

If you’re not using your existing customer data to tailor your campaign, then your direct mail is at risk of going straight in someone’s recycling bin.

 Before you even think about campaign concepts, creatives and print, you need to understand who your customers are and whether there are any similarities and differences with them. 

With this, you can create different audience groups based on any commonalities. This can also inform the type of campaign you craft for each cohort and segment, allowing you to create a truly personalised and relevant mailpiece that is more likely to convert. 

Find out everything you need to know about data cleansing.

Test your customer retention campaigns 

What makes data driven direct mail so exciting is the fact that you can experiment and strengthen your campaigns, helping boost retention.

This is done through A/B testing or multivariate testing.

A/B testing has two to three different types of direct mail, all with one variable changed (this could be call-to-action size OR different images). You can then determine which is more effective. 

Multivariate testing changes several variables at once (such as call to action size AND different images). This allows you to test several combinations. 

You should include trackable URLs, custom discount codes or even QR codes to measure the success of your campaigns and understand the conversion rate.

Types of direct mail campaigns for customer retention 

Once you’ve segmented your audiences, you’ll have the data you need to create a strategic direct mail campaign that will resonate with your audiences.

Welcome packs 

If you’ve got relatively new customers who have just made their first purchase or signed up to a service you provide, sending a welcome pack is a great way to give extra value. If you own a retail or ecommerce business, you can send the kit with the product. 

A welcome pack should explain how the product or service you’re providing will solve any problems - the benefits should be clearly communicated. However, it’s important you don’t over-promote your product or service, as this is about building a rapport.

You can even go that extra mile and make your welcome pack Pinterest or Instagram worthy, so that your customers share a photo on social media.

For retail and ecommerce brands, including your social media handles and a hashtag on your collateral may incentivise your customers to share any unboxing photos or videos, which is great user generated content. 

Welcome packs often include: 

  • A personalised welcome note or letter 

  • A ‘new member’ voucher code 

  • A Discount code for a future purchase

  • Informational inserts about the product or service 

  • A free gift or branded piece of merchandise

This is something protein powder company Huel did really well. When a new customer signed up, they would send a free t-shirt and protein shaker, along with an informational leaflet, welcome postcard and discount code for future orders. 

A welcome pack from Huel including a protein shaker, grey tshirt, leaflet and two bags of Huel protein powder, in a box.

Image source: Huel
Image description:A welcome pack from Huel including a protein shaker, grey tshirt, leaflet and two bags of Huel protein powder, in a box.

Anniversary and birthday cards 

If you know your customer’s birthday and you have the date of their first purchase or sign-up, sending them a personalised card will make them feel valued.

The Insurance Sector had found that companies who sent birthday cards to their clients retained 16% more customers than those who didn’t (Hallmark Business Connections). 

These cards shouldn’t be salesy. They should celebrate the customer. A great way to get extra sales is to offer discount codes or money off their next purchase (all of which should be trackable!)

Company or product update mailers 

If you have customers that regularly buy from you, there’s a likelihood that they care about your brand and will want to hear about any news, giveaways, raffles or updates - especially if it impacts them. 

If you’re releasing a new product or service, you could make your customers feel like they’re part of an exclusive club by sending them a teaser leaflet with messaging such as “insider access”. You could even take this a step further by adding a trackable early-bird discount code or pre-buy link, making them feel really valued. 

If you have company announcements, you can send personalised ‘handwritten’ letters with your customer’s first and last name. Whether you’re expanding the business, adding new team members or moving to different office spaces, personalised direct mail is a great way to communicate this - especially in the B2B world. 

When disabled children’s charity, Newlife wanted to promote their £1,000 Summer Grand Draw. We sent personalised mail to their existing donors, in order to promote their draw. We included a free returns envelope, along with a letter and form for the draw. 

Using language such as “exclusive invitation” and “valued friend”, Newlife were able to appeal to their donors and raise money for new equipment. 

Event announcements and follow ups 

Sending existing customers personalised direct mail about any future events will make them feel like they’re on an exclusive guest list. Messaging such as “Be the first to sign up to our event” or “you’re invited” will make them feel really special. 

For local in-person events, you can segment your audience by location so that you’re not sending mail to people who are too far away.

Why not use attendance tracking and go that extra mile by sending follow-up direct mail to attendees? This is something that the software company, Intercom did really well after their seminar. 

They sent handwritten direct mail and branded merchandise to seminar attendees who had Tweeted about them during the event. This is a great way to get some user generated content, re-engage attendees and promote future seminars. 

Intercom’s handwritten direct mail and branded merchandise.

Image description: Intercom’s handwritten direct mail and branded merchandise.

Milestone and subscription alerts

If you own a subscription business, sending a thank you note when they’re half way through their subscription, or a note when they’re up for renewal may incentivise them to renew the service. 

Remember, renewing their subscription should be as easy as possible. You could add a QR code that takes them straight to the renewal page, or include a short succinct link that’s easy to follow. 

Improve customer retention with Sorted DM

At Sorted Direct Mail, we’ve been in direct mail for nearly three decades. We offer bespoke print and direct mail services for businesses across a wide range of industries, including housing, charity, automotive and more.

We pride ourselves in being ISO 27001 accredited, ICO registered and fully GDPR compliant, and understand the niche requirements of data management across different sectors. Get in touch.

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Ham Lane, Kingswinford, DY6 7JU

01384 296817

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