Best B2B Direct Mail Campaigns is the only book that explores successful strategies, revealing the tactics and secrets to effective direct mail campaigns in businesses-to-business environments.

The Best B2B Direct Mail Campaigns report delivers a rich collection of data-driven stats and strategies for your next campaign. You’ll walk away with the top 10 B2B direct mail campaigns, 9 ideas for your next campaign, 3 lessons to learn from each campaign, the 8 best practices that lead to direct mail success, and our 6 ways to measure ROI.

B2B Direct Mail Marketing

In 1983, David Ogilvy referred to direct mail as the “secret weapon in the avalanche of new business acquisitions” which catapulted his agency to “an instant success.”A decade and a half later, however, the rise of digital marketing was said to usher in a “new era” of marketing, replacing direct mail with email, digital ads, and inbound tactics.

But as we welcome a brand new decade, many B2B marketers are assessing their marketing mix and integrating direct mail marketing into their holistic marketing strategies, and there’s little surprise why:

  • Campaigns including direct mail are 27% more likely to deliver top-ranking sales performance, and 40% more likely to deliver top-ranking acquisition levels, versus campaigns without mail.
  • 57% of people claim that receiving mail makes them feel more valued. Sending mail creates a more genuine two-way relationship between the brand and consumer.
  • Direct mail is easier to understand and more memorable than digital media. It requires 21% less cognitive effort to process and elicits a much higher brand recall.

Direct mail isn’t a B2B marketing tactic of yore. Instead, it’s a touchpoint you need to incorporate into your 2020 marketing and sales strategies to see the solid results. Here are best practices to drive an effective B2B direct mail marketing campaign.

How to Use B2B Direct Mail Marketing Throughout the Funnel

Direct mail marketing tactics are effective throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Everything from driving brand awareness to preventing customer churn rates can be strengthened through direct mail efforts. For instance:

  • Top-of-funnel B2B marketing: Direct mail marketing can be an effective tool to drive brand awareness at your targeted accounts. If your goal is to encourage prospects at targeted accounts to book a demo, consider sending them a handwritten note introducing your brand, and follow-up with an email to book a demo. The personal touch of a handwritten note will make it more likely for them to open your email.
  • Mid-funnel B2B marketing: After your targeted accounts are aware of your brand, it’s likely they’re evaluating if your product is the right fit for their current needs. Direct mail is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You can even use it to reward a prospect or customer’s engagement with your company. For instance, after a prospect or customer attends a webinar, send an eGift coffee with a quick note saying ‘thank you.’
  • Bottom-of-funnel B2B marketing: By the time prospects reach the bottom of the funnel, they know about you, and they’ve taken the time to understand your company. To get your prospects across the finish line, send them personalized direct mail and gifts.

Your upfront direct mail investment is dependent on the buying stage of your buyers. You’ll like invest more in a prospect who is at the bottom of the funnel, than you would a prospect at the top of funnel. It simply wouldn’t make sense to spend $20 or more dollars on every top-of-funnel prospect, when you can be more strategic and save big sends for prospects who are more likely to purchase.

Does direct mail work for B2B?

According to the 2018 ANA-DMA Response Rate Report, 45% of marketers prefer using B2B direct mail, ahead of paid search, online display ads, and social media. So we know it works.

But why does it work? To answer that question, we have to look at some of the best practices that successful B2B companies follow.

B2B Direct Mail Ideas

Your direct mail can stand out from that glut by reaching the right prospect at the right time with the right message, and persuading them to act. With powerful words and compelling images, your mail can help you turn a prospect into a customer, and then, to keep spending money with you.

1. Build Your Audience

Think hard about your audience. Today, high-volume, mass-market direct mail for a B2B audience may not be as sustainable as it once was. Instead, you have to be more targeted in your approach. Segmentation lets you zero in on specific groups of prospects.

In the case of B2C mail, any targeting will require making sure that your data is in top shape, up-to-date and complete, with no duplicate names. But that’s only a good start. Your data provider will have to give you names with accurate titles or positions and business addresses. With that information, you’ll be able to more closely match what you’re marketing with the profile of your prospect, instead of mailing blindly. You can even go with variable data printing (VDP) to tailor your creative and your offer on a personalized, 1-to-1 basis.

In this example (below), online payroll provider Paycom mailed a personalized offer with a PURL to a company’s HR director.

2. Tap into Emotions

You may think of B2B marketing as cold, analytical, and fact-based. However, making an emotional connection is crucial in setting the stage for people to change their behavior. Swedish entrepreneur Axel Andersson and direct marketing agency founder Bob Hacker identified seven key emotional drivers:

  • Greed
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Exclusivity
  • Flattery
  • Salvation

To get your B2B prospects to respond, your direct mail campaign’s copy should reflect one or more of these motivators. However, the emphasis here is placed on how the company benefits, even for small business owners or solopreneurs.

For example:

“Does hiring feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack? With ZipRecruiter, look no further” (Salvation — ZipRecruiter)

“Your business could save hundreds with Spectrum Business. 0 Added Taxes. 0 Hidden Fees. No Contracts. (Greed — Spectrum Business)

“With the BuyPower Business Card from Capital One, business owners like you get rewarded for their hard work” (Flattery — Capital One)

“Exclusive deals for business customers” (Exclusivity — Amazon.com)

The key here is to demonstrate value more clearly for the business, instead of the target person. Or, to put it another way, to answer WIIFTB (What’s In It For The Business)?

3. Talk Benefits, Not Features

Speaking of WIIFTB, you should assume that your customer may not have time to think about how the features of your product or service can help them. So, get to that part of your campaign quickly.

Corporate trainer Fred Pryor Seminars puts the benefits of its certification programs on the front of its mailing (see below) with a bullet-pointed copy.

4. Lead with Content

To make a decision about what product or service to buy, a customer needs to be educated.

With content, you can:

  • Create brand awareness
  • Demonstrate your expertise
  • Build trust
  • Generate leads
  • Nurture customer loyalty
  • Produce sales

There are other goals for this tactic, but these are the ones most often used.

In this example (below), American Express reached out to its OPEN small business customers with a 4-page leaflet, “Building and Protecting Business Credit”. This guide provides financial management information as well as promotes its own services.

5. Show Your Credentials

To build trust in the eyes of your business prospect, let them know how others see you. Your professional accreditations, business memberships, and even social media or web ratings can help you establish your reputation in your B2B direct mail.

This letter from fintech company Fundbox puts its ratings from “industry experts”, mentions in business media, and a customer testimonial all on the same page.

Direct Mail Plays for ABM

After you’ve segmented your accounts, research each segment to understand what direct mail sends will appeal to prospects throughout the buyer’s journey. Here are some direct mail plays you can copy for accounts in every category:

  • Strategic (One-to-one) ABM: Your strategic ABM efforts should be limited to priority accounts or those late in the decision making process. As such, the direct mail packages you send to prospects in this group will be highly personalized and might require a bigger investment. An impactful direct mail send for buyers in this stage might be a pair of branded headphones or a sports team jersey.
  • Scale (One-to-few) ABM: Scale ABM efforts are an effective method to surround the buying committee and build meaningful connections with prospects at a lower investment than one-to-one campaigns. A solid direct mail send for buyers in this stage might be a surprise swag box or a desk succulent.
  • Programmatic (One-to-many) ABM: Programmatic ABM efforts should focus on driving awareness and prioritizing accounts based on engagement and insights gleaned during initial conversations. A good send for buyers in this stage might be an eGift or a handwritten note.

Conclusion

Great direct mail campaigns are based on well-researched strategies rooted in a sound understanding of both the latest marketing trends and the unique needs of your company and its customers. When it comes to initiating a compelling marketing campaign, you can’t beat the power of direct mail.

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