Surveys can add relevance to direct mail campaigns

As DMNews points out, relevant messaging is rapidly becoming the gold standard for boosting response to direct mail campaigns. It is increasingly common for direct marketers to send out pieces crafted to match customers’ known behavior (based on data from previous purchases, mailing preferences, and buying patterns). People who purchased children’s play items will get the toy catalog; customers who purchase luxury items will get the jewelry preview catalog, and so on.

Now a new white paper from Silverpop (free with site registration) points out a way that direct marketers can use high-ROI relevant messaging to reach people on their mailing lists who have never made a purchase from them.

The secret is surveys.

The problem confronting marketers mailing to people who are not yet customers is the minimalist nature of the data — often just name, address and contact information. Surveys offer one way to collect individualized information on interests and preferences — before the prospect has become your customer.

While the Silverpop white paper focuses on email surveys, many of the ideas are easily applicable to postal direct mail as well.

Successful surveys are short (three or four questions), easy to complete, and postage paid (for postal direct mail). They might even be clever and fun to fill out. They sometimes include the opportunity to win a prize or the opportunity to enjoy a free download or discount.

You might ask the potential customer about the types of products/services that interest them, their recent purchases, their anticipated purchases, their biggest concerns about making a purchase, and even the amount they expect to spend for a product or service. Don’t be afraid to tell them you’re asking these questions so you can provide them with the types of offers they like to get. Think of the survey as giving them a taste of the experience they’ll have doing business with you — hassle-free and satisfying.

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