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Automating our daily lives has improved many aspects, both personally and professionally. Automation is likely to have helped you if you've used dictation for sending a text message or had separate "home" & "away" settings in your smart doorbell.
Most people associate automation with digital technology. Automation has also evolved to be useful in the offline realm, where it can be felt more acutely.
For example, research shows that direct-mail messaging has a stronger impact on our emotions compared to digital only, leading to a stronger recall one week later. The same study found that participants showed more neurological activity while interacting with online ads compared to direct mail.
The human brain is hard-wired for tangible stimulation, as opposed to digital. It could unlock untapped revenue by leveraging it at key points of your marketing and sales funnel.
I have used direct mail automation for my business and I have also sent out 23.2 million automated pieces for clients across the country. I understand what it takes to run a successful campaign. Here are some basic tips to help you get started.
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Direct mail automation refers to a technology which automatically prints and sends postcards, letters, or other offline materials based on pre-programmed triggers. Also known as "triggered mail" and "programmatic mail," it is a technology that automates the printing and mailing of postcards, letters or other offline material based on a pre-programmed trigger.
Triggers are programmable from your website, CRM system (customer relation management system), or third-party sources like Zapier. These triggers can also be based on data, behavior or timing – or any combination of these. In some cases, contact details are not required; automation takes care of that while protecting privacy.
Here are some examples of automated direct mail:
Online retailers can target users who abandon their shopping carts. You can send them a postcard the next day with a 15% discount to encourage them to complete their purchase. You can target any website visitor, regardless of whether or not your website includes a shopping basket. I recommend targeting visitors who spend more than 30 seconds on your website. It is called "direct-mail retargeting", and it works the same way as digital retargeting but offline.
A moving and storage firm could target homeowners who have just had their homes placed under contract. A mailer could be sent even if a customer does nothing. Imagine that a customer receives a postcard as soon as they reach the 3-month mark without making a purchase or calling you.
You can use this technology in many different ways to attract more customers and retain your existing ones. Ask yourself some questions about your current funnel and customer base. Can I take advantage of any commonalities that my customers share? Are there certain points in my funnel that a high number of people abandon? These are prime places to automate direct mail.
Direct mail marketing: How technology can help you make money
I won't get too technical, because if you ask, what's really important is not how direct mail automation functions, but rather what it can accomplish for your business.
Most people want to know how magic works.
API (Application Programming Interface) is what makes automated direct mail possible. An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a way for one software program to communicate with another, similar to a translator.
Direct mail automation is a way to tell a computer program what you want it to do. Send this postcard, for example, if someone spends over 30 seconds on my site. Send this postcard if someone calls me and we do not speak for a week.
The software linked to your website, if you wish to target visitors, or your CRM if you wish to target only one-time callers must be able speak directly with the software which will trigger the mailing. The API is what allows your website to communicate with a printer about who and what to send. You just need to follow your instructions!
Automating your marketing allows you to set it up once and let it run automatically for as long as desired.
You only need to pay for the postcards if you have 20 visitors a month. You can set limits if you are worried about spending too much money on cards. If you only have the budget to send 500 cards per month, your system will automatically stop sending after it registers that you have reached 500.
The most significant benefit of triggered mailing is that each mailer is specifically targeted to the prospect who you are trying to convert. Many recipients are warm leads that have shown interest in your product or service. Now you can take advantage of this opportunity without having to lift a finger.
Related: Marketing Automation Risks to Avoid
You should do some research before you hand over your credit card.
Print quality is the first thing you should consider. Some direct mail automation companies only offer software/API and don't print anything. Printing and mailing is outsourced to a network (often with a focus on lower costs). This can lead to a lack in quality control.
If you want the best automation, choose a provider who doesn't subcontract the work. This is because, if anything goes wrong, it's important to have direct support.
Cost is another thing to consider. Direct mail automation companies may charge "tech fees", on top of printing and mailing costs. This is their chance to make a profit, instead of just taking a small amount off each mailer. You're likely to find no tech fees if you work directly with a printing and mailing house.
Consider your design options as well. You can upload your design to any direct mail automation service, but using a professionally designed template is a better option.
In my 25-year business career, PostcardMania has delivered over 250,000 direct mailing campaigns and sent more than two billion postcards. This experience has helped us fine-tune our design formula to prioritize real returns. This has led to a gallery with templates that are industry-specific and based on designs which have been tested for generating calls, clicks and revenues. For example, this real estate investor made $70,000 by mailing slightly more than 100 automated cards over the course a year. A proven design is more likely to generate revenue.
I've seen small business owners waste money on mailers of low quality that did not meet their expectations. If you spend a bit more on a mail service that is experienced in automation, it's more likely you will see results.
After you have shopped and selected the provider of direct mail automation you wish to work with you will want to create an account. You can then get started by linking your account to your CRM or website. You'll have to follow the steps for each platform to get this done. I can't walk you through step-by-step. You've probably chosen a service provider who makes it simple to place your first order, and provides support when needed.
It is best to test your connections on a controlled environment, all the way up to the mailer delivery stage, before releasing them onto your website or CRM. You can test automations for design, messaging and timing, as well as print quality, by paying only per mailer. Your price per piece will decrease the more you automate per week or per month.
Set a budget for each week and monitor the results.
This shouldn't cause you any stress. This technology will help you impress your customers, stay ahead of the competition, and grow a thriving and growing business.