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8 Direct Mail Best Practices for B2B Marketers

Salesforce Pardot

Forget everything you’ve learned about direct mail. Gone are the days of catalogues and form letters. At Salesforce, we’re re-establishing direct mail as a top tactic to engage our hottest prospects. The upsides are huge. Namely, it’s a great way to grab people’s attention, even if only for a few minutes, often a major plus over online interactions. Direct mail puts our product front and center, while also offering a tangible reminder of who we are. Plus, who doesn’t like getting interesting, unexpected packages?

Here are 8 best practices, tips, and tricks to help you execute on the best possible direct mail campaign.

1. ALIGN WITH SALES TO CHOOSE PROSPECTS

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Direct mail campaigns can be quite pricey — especially compared to an email drop, per se — so it’s best to work directly with sales to ensure you are hitting the right prospects. At Salesforce, we start by using Einstein lead scoring and data science to help narrow down the list of recipients, but we always run the final list by our sales teams to ensure there are no red flags (like someone who’s changed roles or left the company). Our sales + marketing alignment is that much stronger when we give sales a voice in who marketing communicates with.

2. CREATE CLEAR CALLS-TO-ACTION

This is a best practice for any marketing campaign, not just direct mail. Your marketing must always have a clear call-to-action (CTA) — what do you want the recipient to do once they get the mailer? Do you want them to go to a “contact me” form or download your latest e-book? Call to make an appointment? Visit your website? Make sure you’re explicit in what you want their next tactic to be.

3. CUSTOMIZE TO YOUR AUDIENCE

Accounts come in all different sizes, represent different industries, and have varying goals. It’s critical that you customize direct mail pieces to your different audiences as much as possible. Group accounts by industry or audience, and be sure to use their language. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms, and use examples that companies of any size can understand.
For example, you’d never sell to a financial services audience the same way you’d sell to healthcare. Financial services buyers wants to know how they can improve relationships with clients, while healthcare workers want to improve relationships with patients. These are meaningful differences that make a big impact.

4. PERSONALIZE YOUR MESSAGE

It’s critical to customize to your audiences, but it’s also just as important to make each mailer as personal as possible for the individual recipient. By using things like variable tags, you can insert personalized touches, such as using the account name, prospect’s first name, and signing a letter with the individual account’s sales rep, phone number, and email. This helps take the account relationship to a whole new level.

5. MAKE IT UNIQUE AND SHAREABLE

Think about yourself as a recipient — is your mailer doomed for the trash or will it be passed around, kept at your prospects’ desk, and maybe even shared on social media? Take care to create something you can proudly put your logo on, and that it’s unique to your brand’s look and feel.

6. BE SUSTAINABLE

One common complaint of direct mail is that it can be environmentally wasteful. At Salesforce Pardot, the majority of our mailers are made from 100% recyclable materials. The few mailer components that can’t easily be recycled are reusable.
A great example of this is a recent mailer we did with a personalized video player that showed Pardot demo videos. The mailer itself was made of 100% recyclable materials. The embedded video player was not easy to recycle, but it came with an outlet where recipients could reuse it and upload their own videos. One prospect even put her wedding video in the mailer and left it at her desk! We love seeing creative ways to reuse our direct mailing materials.

7. CREATE A FOLLOW-UP PLAN

Once the mailer is out the door, your work isn’t done yet! You need a follow-up plan ready to go with your sales team, including reports and dashboards to check in on their follow-up activities and hold teams accountable. Make sure your sales team knows how to speak to the mailer CTA’s and how to move the conversation forward to learn more about the business. If sales can’t follow up directly, create an email drip campaign to keep the recipients engaged via extra content.

8. HAVE FUN!

Direct mail is a great creative outlet. Find ways to stay relevant with current events (like movie releases or fashion trends), or anchor your send to a fun holiday (National Emoji Day, anyone?)
We hope to see some of your mailers sitting on our desks soon!

Salesforce Pardot is B2B marketing automation on the world's #1 CRM. With Salesforce Pardot you can engage buyers, close deals, and grow relationships. You have the power to engage with quality leads at every stage in the sales cycle, easily build intelligent nurture campaigns, and smoothly pass leads between marketing and sales. With native data analytics dashboards you'll always know the ROI of marketing campaigns and how marketing impacts your business.