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Direct Mail Remarketing


Using Retargeting Direct Mail to Increase     Donations and Support


The commercial marketing world is continually looking for the next big idea; the one that breaks out of the pack to drive response and conversion.  Marketers are driven by innovation, or at least improving an older technique thereby making something old new again. 

We believe some of these techniques can be used to a greater degree to improve donation conversion.  One such technique is direct mail remarketing, a process that matches anonymous website visitors to postal addresses.   

Just as in the corporate world, not-for-profit site visitors will browse a website, spend some time on a page, learn more about the organization, but not make a donation.   There are many reasons why they drop off: too many choices, too much competition; not sure; not the right time.

How can we cost effectively retarget these prospects, drive interest and a greater sense of urgency and increase conversion rates? 

Direct mail remarketing can boost the chances of converting visitors who did not donate
into those who do.

Remember the first time you saw a retargeting ad?  It seemed coincidental at first, then, the digital ad seemed to be following you from website to website.  You soon came to realize that you were being cleverly retargeted. At first, it was somewhat magical, but after a few years of excessive display ad retargeting, it became annoying and we learned to tune it out.  Some of us even use ad blocking software to keep them at bay.  (According to Bannersnack, 54% of Internet users avoid banner ads). 

Remarketing, as it was originally called, dates back to 2010, and was introduced to work with Google Ad words. The technology evolved into an effective new toy for marketers, moving on from Google Ad words to website targeting and eventually re-marketing on Facebook.  According to Accudata, consumers who are re-marketed with a banner ad are 70% more likely to convert.  Jeff Jarrett, VP of global digital marketing at Kimberly-Clark claims 50% higher conversion rates with re-marketing.   

Smart Insights compiled a study with a 2019 update and concluded the average click through rate for a digital ad is .07%, but a digital ad triggered by remarketing increases clicks to .7%. Although the statistics are dropping from their highs, it is still an effective method for engagement. However, in terms of gaining attention, there is a new arrow marketers are using to increase conversion. Direct mail remarketing.

Advantages of Direct Mail Retargeting

Due to new technical advances in data science, retargeting has become more sophisticated, matching IP addresses to physical and email addresses with greater accuracy.  Of course, direct mail retargeting has been around for a few years, but the innovations in retargeting technology has made a strong impact on driving better engagement and conversion rates.

As stated previously, remarketing using digital media boosts conversion. Adding direct mail remarketing to the equation boosts conversion rates even higher by virtue of the outstanding level of engagement direct mail offers. This is covered later in this post.  On average, only 2% of website visitors convert, leaving 98% of anonymous visitors open to direct mail retargeting.

Direct mail retargeting also isolates your communication from other competing ads and pop-ups. This is a major advantage that gives the reader time to think and analyze the offer, providing them relief from digital marketing fatigue. 

Using best practices when retargeting with direct mail keeps privacy concerns low and intrusion even lower. Of course, anonymous visitors must stay anonymous, however, we still have the opportunity to design mailers that are highly relevant and somewhat personalized based on pages visited.  The key to direct mail retargeting is to create content that is relevant and arrives in the mailbox quickly.  A direct mail postcard will do that.  It’s fast and cost-effective too.

For example, when an unknown potential donor lands on your website and takes a look around, they may spend some time on a particular page, but bounce before they donate. Within a day or two, the visitor receives a postcard with a premium offer for donating to the cause they were reading about.  According to USPS, almost 60% of consumers visit websites after receiving corresponding direct mail.

Using DM Retargeting to Generate New
Generations of Donors

Overall, direct mail response rates are more effective than digital and social media. The DMA 2018 Response Rate Report shows that the response rate for a house list with direct mail is 9%, and a prospect list is 5%.  Compared to email at .6%, paid search at 0.6%, online display 0.2% and social media 0.4%, it makes direct mail 25% more effective that digital ads.

Millennials and Gen Z have embraced direct mail. The USPS has published a study that shows 84% of Millennials take the time to look through their mail and 64% would rather scan for useful information in printed mail than email.

Gen Z too! According to Target Marketing, “to reach Gen Z, marketers should know that everything old is new again. The generation that will account for 40% of consumers and $4 billion in discretionary spending within the next two years loves print marketing and 98% of them buy products in stores some or most of the time.” A few points to remember when marketing to Gen Z. The digital world has been a part of their life since birth. In a white paper titled Generation Z: Unique and Powerful by MNI Target Media, 70% say they need to unplug more and look for content offline, making print a good medium to catch their unplugged attention. An unexpected retargeted postcard will tip the scale in a buy decision.  It’s never too early to cultivate these huge cohorts.

Reports from Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends,have found that respondents who exclusively received personalized print materials, experienced a response rate of around 6% and a conversion rate of over 16%. More generic materials generate an average 2% response rate. 

The following are real cases*:  A furniture store using direct mail retargeting, targeted people who had viewed their products but not made a purchase, then sent targeted mail pieces based on what they viewed. 

  • Nearly 1% (0.9) of the targeted homes made a purchase.
  • The conversion rate was 4,400% higher than for those anonymous visitors who did not get a mail piece.
  • ROAS was over 1,100%

An upholstery company targeted visitor who had placed items into their shopping carts but did not purchase them. The IP addresses of the visitors were captured and the prospects were mailed targeted mail a few days later.  5% of the prospects made a purchase, 250% higher than some of their other direct mail.

Cost effective retargeting with postcards and retargeting with direct mail should be on every not-for-profit test agenda.  With an Omni Channel strategy, retargeting will give your organization a chance to capture more anonymous website visitors with targeted precision, increasing engagement and conversion.  Direct mail will pick up where digital ads and digital retargeting leaves off.

Take your organization to the next level of support and engagement!

Let us know your thoughts.

Rick Levy & Beverly Beaudoin

*Taken from published studies by Early Express

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