Dear John: Using Variable Data Printing to Boost Direct Mail Response

DIrect_mail_personalize_2Direct mail took a major leap forward when information technology allowed list managers to personalize messages for their customers. When mail no longer arrived addressed to “Occupant,” response rates rose dramatically. Variable data printing, or VDP, takes that concept a step farther by letting you customize other parts of your mail – even printed images.

How Does VDP Work?

In any industry, your prospects fall into a number of different market segments. If you sell commercial cleaning supplies, for example, your biggest customers might include hospitals, restaurants and shopping malls. Variable data printing lets you connect with each of these market segments in ways that make your message uniquely relevant to them. Your restaurateurs get direct mail featuring culinary imagery and appetizing colors while your healthcare prospects receive patient-centric images against a backdrop of serene blues and greens.

VDP goes by another name that gives you a better indication of what it can do: one-to-one marketing. You have the power to send a large direct mail campaign yet make each recipient feel recognized and valued. With VDP, you personalize more than the address and opener of your mail message; you and your marketing company tailor multiple parts of your message to individual customers according to demographic and firmographic segments.

Why VDP Gets Results

Have you ever been in a crowd and heard someone call your name? You instantly hear and recognize that bit of personal information in an impersonal setting. Hearing your name is a kind of targeted message, and VDP follows the same philosophy. By customizing names and even imagery on direct mail, you speak directly to your customers and grab their attention. People respond more readily to targeted, individual messages than they do to background noise, and VDP makes you stand out from the crowd.

VDP makes a visible and immediate difference to direct mail response rates, and data from numerous sources bears out that analysis. After studying VDP campaigns, analyzing raw data from printing services and tracking response rates via split-variable testing, research suggests VDP email campaigns experience a 30 percent leap in response rates. When compared against undifferentiated, non-customized campaigns, VDP performed 3 to 10 times better than conventional mailings.

Not only is the overall response rate better, but volume per sale also increases. The data suggests an average increase of 25 percent over the non-personalized average order value. Response times are lower by a third. Repeat orders showed tremendous growth, increasing by almost 50 percent with VDP campaigns. When prospects respond, they respond enthusiastically.

What You Need for Variable Data Printing

Before you can customize your direct mail campaigns, you need the data with which to build and refine market segments. A well-maintained database is essential to successful VDP; without it, you’re calling names in the crowd but aren’t sure your audience is there to listen. Split A/B testing can help you define your audience and make your VDP campaign more successful by personalizing it more completely.

VDP also benefits from creative marketing. You can use the technology to add a prospect’s name to the page, but VDP is much more powerful than that. Personalize mail by integrating images and text in natural ways to give the appearance of a custom photo shoot designed expressly for each prospect on your list. Your creative team can also play with layouts to emphasize different aspects of your offer to appeal to specific market segments.

Get on a first-name basis with your prospects by sending them images and text that move them. VDP and a talented marketing team make it possible.

Contact our direct marketing experts today at 855.867.3224 to help you devise your next campaign strategy.

© Reach Marketing LLC 2014 All Rights Reserved.

Essentials of Multichannel Marketing

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