With the fast-paced digital modern world offering instant answers to questions uttered to Alexa or Siri or solutions at the mere touch of a button, how do you cut through all of that information to connect directly to the customers you need to?
What is the best way for companies to speak to their customers without being blocked or stopped or binned or spammed or skipped?
Royal Mail MarketReach has found that 2 in 5 people are now suffering from digital burnout, meaning digital channels alone are becoming a much less effective way of communication.
Ironically, good ol’ fashioned direct mail is now one of best ways to communicate with customers; showing higher engagement rates and personalised mail making consumers feel more valued. Plus, if you can combine both direct mail and a digital follow up through text or email, your strategy to reach customers significantly raises its effectiveness!
The following gives the 5 things you should think about when looking for a direct mail provider to help with your next projects and campaigns:
1. Experience and expertise
Like the start of any good investigation process, you want to find a provider that knows what they are doing. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the provider have a long history of delivering the type of results you are looking for?
- Do they know the direct mail process inside and out?
- Can they give examples of case studies on what projects they have previously worked on and what companies they have worked with?
- Can the company showcase blogs and articles to back-up their knowledge?
If the answer is yes to all the above questions, then you are on the right track.
A direct mail provider should be able to demonstrate a long history with clients using case studies describing previous projects that shows their professionalism and expertise. You should research their website and social media to make sure they have knowledge about processes and the products they are offering. Read their blogs and contact them directly either over the phone or email to talk to them about how they would handle your project.
It is also very telling to see what clients have worked with the company previously and if they continue to work with them. This is another good sign if companies have worked with the same direct mail provider for a number of years, signalling good service and the provider being able to satisfy their clients and continually deliver on projects.
There are also added brownie points for companies who have gained an ISO 9001 Quality Management System accreditation. If they have this, then they will have a framework in place for delivering consistent high-quality goods and services
2. Client Service
It is advisable to see which services a direct mail company offers and what level of client service is available. If a company has dedicated account managers, chances are the level of help you will receive will be higher from the beginning to the end of your project.
Plus, check if the company offers extra services which include data collection, document creation, campaign management, online services, response handling, analysis and reporting. By offering these types of services a company will be able to deal with not only the production and postage of your direct mail project, but also the cleansing and tidying of mailing lists saving you time and money in future.
3. Tracking abilities
After viewing what customer services the company offers, make sure they are able to track what happens to the mail after it has been sent. This information is invaluable to be able to analyse and report back on who has seen the mail and see how effective your communication campaign has been.
Direct mail companies should also be able to provide an address which undelivered mail can be returned to. Having this return address allows the provider to be able to record ‘Goneaways’ and helps to keep your database records updated of customer addresses.
Depending on what information you need to supply to your customers or what marketing campaign you have, being able to track and follow-up on communications helps a company stay ahead of its competitors by ensuring the message has been sent and received.
4. Data security
If you have found a direct mail provider that offers the extra data services and tracking abilities, now is the time to check out their accreditations. If you are entrusting your sensitive customer data to the provider for the project, do they have systems in place that protect that data from being breeched or hacked? GDPR is more important than ever, so a good direct mail provider should have accreditations from leading bodies that verify they are able to protect this data from cyber-attacks.
Look out for if they have attained an ISO 27001 Data Security certificate or Cyber Essentials accreditation. Having this certification will acknowledge that the company is serious about their systems being safe and protected for their client’s data.
Once you have seen that the mail provider is able to supply you with all the above, the final choice will usually come down to pricing structure. As the old saying goes “you get what you pay for”, however if your direct mail provider can offer special rates on postage or offers multiple data services inhouse with your printing project then this can easily sway decisions. If the mail provider can offer postage options like Royal Mail Mailmark economy which excludes VAT or Down Stream Access (DSA) then this will significantly cut your costs on the project.
There are also the environmental costs of a direct mail campaign to think about. Consider your own commitment to the environment by using a direct mail provider who uses materials that are recycled and reduces their carbon footprints. Another good indication of whether a mail provider is conscientious about the environment is whether they have an ISO 14001 accreditation which shows they are committed to ensuring their processes are as environmentally friendly as possible.
The best direct mail provider
By following the above guidelines, you should be able to find the perfect direct mail provider that will make your campaigns effortless and effective!
Here at Forth we offer 20+ years’ experience, with many of our clients working with us throughout that time. We have case studies and blogs which provide insight into our capability and knowledge. We offer numerous data services, tracking and can project manage your campaigns from start to finish with our expert account managers. Our numerous accreditations within cyber security frameworks and environmental processes, ensures your data is 100% secure and we care about the environment. Plus, we also offer numerous postage pricing options with our team able to find the best options for your project. Contact us now for more information on how we can help with your next direct mail campaign.