Defining Custom Mailers
Before diving into applications, let’s define what makes custom mailers unique.
- Serve as both envelope and inside content
- Use variable data printing (VDP) to tailor messaging
- Experiment with non-traditional materials and finishes
- Focus on unique unboxing experiences
For instance, a custom mailer could be:
- A personalized gift box for a loyal customer
- A discount postcard with custom imagery
- A branded poly mailer showcasing new arrivals
Benefits Over Direct Mail
While direct mail has a 4.4% average response rate, creative custom mailers take it further by:
- Personalizing across multiple elements – names, visuals, copy, offers, etc.
- Adding creativity in shapes, sizes, and textures that reflect the brand image
- Crafting memorable unboxing experiences that customers want to share
The tangible medium stands out amidst the digital noise. When combined with personalization, it delivers marketing messages in a context with higher perceived value.
This drives crucial metrics like:
- Open and conversion rates
- Brand awareness and recall
- Customer perceived value
- Long-term loyalty
Now, let’s explore critical applications of custom mailers across marketing functions.
Strategies for Custom Mail Marketing
Custom mailers can drive value across different stages – new acquisition, retention, re-targeting, etc.
Here are the most popular applications:
1. New Customer Welcome Mailers
Welcome mailers introduce new subscribers or customers to a brand.
They achieve up to 50% higher open rates over regular direct mail.
Welcome mailer example with discount and FAQ brochure
Key tactics for welcome mailers:
- Send within a week of the first purchase
- Personalize content based on initial data
- Provide special incentives like discounts or gifts
- Include informational content like user guides
- Set expectations for future communications
2. Customer Reactivation Campaigns
Lapsed or churned users tend to have higher intent and lower acquisition costs over new users.
A re-engagement mailer aims to:
- Remind them of positive past experiences
- Share new offers tailored to their preferences
- Provide incentives to transact again
CARTO, a location intelligence company, employed custom mailers to re-engage lapsed users. They generated 50% more leads for 33% lower CPA vs traditional channels.
3. Customer Loyalty and Referral Mailers
Surprise loyal customers by sending custom mailers with the following:
- Their favorite products
- Special members-only discounts
- Coupon codes to share with friends
Subscription brands widely use incentivizing referrals:
Referral mailer by meal-kit company
Product samples and coupons give existing users a reason to share your brand.
4. Events and Seasonal Mailers
Custom holiday mailers represent a considerable opportunity across retail and e-commerce.
Some occasions that call for custom mailers:
- Holiday gifting season
- Annual sales like Black Friday
- Product launch events
- Store opening events
REI sent custom-branded notebooks to customers for their new store launch:
REI mailer for upcoming store launch
The unique medium stands out from regular email invitations.
Now, let’s shift gears to discuss design and personalization.
Designing Captivating Custom Mailers
While strategy sets direction, design drives results.
Compelling custom mailer design is crucial for:
- Standing out from the inbox clutter
- Aligning to brand image
- Delighting customers upon unboxing
Follow these design best practices:
Guideline 1: Align to Brand Standards
Ensure visual consistency with other touchpoints like your website, packaging, storefront, etc.
Brand elements to carry over:
- Color schemes
- Font styles
- Tone of voice
Familiarity builds trust and recognition.
Guideline 2: Optimize For Specific Channels
Certain design elements can boost delivery and engagement rates across channels.
- Size – Postcards under 6′′x11′′ see higher USPS automation discounts
- Images – Personalized imagery boosts open rates across email and direct mail
- Interactivity – QR codes bridge offline and online experiences
Guideline 3: Make it Tangible
Leverage physical product qualities for delightful unboxing moments:
- Textures – Soft touch laminates, spot UV, embossing
- Shapes – Die-cut mailers in branded shapes
- Finishes – Foils, varnishes, 3D elements
For example, Glossier is known for branded packaging:
Glossier’s recognizable branding across packaging
These elements tell a sensory brand story while creating shareable moments.
Guideline 4: Balance Creativity With Testing
Marketers often debate between consistency and continuous optimization. Balance both through:
- Brand guidelines to ensure consistency
- Multivariate testing of creative variables like shapes, sizes, offers, etc., across campaigns
Continuous testing prevents creative fatigue while giving flexibility for innovations like AR interaction.
Now that we’ve covered design let’s discuss optimizing personalization.
As per Statista, 76% of consumers get frustrated with the lack of personalization.
Personalized custom mailers can include:
✔ Names ✔ Individualized images✔ Purchase history ✔ Behavioral segments ✔ Predicted needs ✔ And more!
Follow these guidelines to maximize personalization:
Guideline 1: Map Data Infrastructure
Catalog available first-party data across systems:
- CRM, marketing automation
- Transactional databases
- Product catalogs
Identify relevant segments and metrics to personalize messaging.
Third-party data enrichment can fill gaps to target ideal customer profiles (ICP).
Guideline 2: Maintain Relevance
Balance personal details with privacy expectations, especially for cold outreach.
Prioritize data points linked to customer motivations like:
- Past purchases
- Preferred categories
- Active usage metrics
- Lifecycle stage
- Channel affinity
Personal details like birthdays see high permission and engagement where expected.
Guideline 3: Test Across Channels
Optimization should tie back to specified KPIs by campaign type:
- Acquisition – Cost per lead, customer lifetime value
- Retention – Churn rate
- Loyalty – Share of wallet
- Referrals – Uptake rates
Measure beyond vanity metrics like open and click rates to calculate ROI—factor in production and mailing costs for custom mailers over regular direct mail.
Multichannel tracking provides a unified view of customer journeys across digital and physical mediums. Relying solely on coded trackable URLs leaves visibility gaps.
Now, let’s explore campaign measurement to complete the personalization flywheel.
Tracking Campaign Effectiveness
Campaign reporting provides crucial insights to refine targeting and creativity and offers continual optimization.
Set up tracking across 3 phases:
1. Production Tracking
Collect delivery confirmation data to segment users for re-targeting based on:
- Successful delivery vs bouncebacks
- Estimated delivery timeframe
This helps account for hard bounces in campaign performance.
2. Engagement Data
Engagement metrics based on the channel include:
- Email – Opens, clicks, browse abandonment
- Web – Page views, custom events like downloads
- Offline – Redemption rates for codes from mailers
Track granular on-site behaviors triggered by the custom mailer.
3. Business Value Reporting
Tie engagement data back to key business goals across:
- Acquisition – Sales driven, cost per lead or customer
- Retention – Churn rate
- Referrals – Share rate
Factor production and mailing costs to calculate accurate ROI rather than vanity metrics.
Let’s wrap up with best practices to amplify impact further.
Conclusion and Best Practices
Custom mailers check many crucial boxes – Personalization, memorability and creativity at an affordable cost per touch.
Here are some best practices to maximize the impact of your campaigns:
- Maintain brand consistency while testing creative innovations
- Personalize based on customer motivations and expected value
- Send timely follow-up emails to nurture recipients
- Track granular engagement data across online and offline channels
- Measure actual business value like cost per lead instead of vanity metrics
- Continually refine targeting, offers, and creativity based on campaign reports
In closing, custom mailers grab customers' attention while conveying marketing messages in a memorable medium that stands out digitally and drives measurable business impact. They enable brands to combine creativity, personalization, and continuity to build memorable customer experiences.
With the strategies, guidelines, and measurement approaches covered, you can develop captivating and effective custom mailer campaigns tailored to reach your buyers.