Direct Mail Automation 101: Sending Automated Direct Mail that Packs a Punch

"Give a man a fish, and you've fed him for a day. Teach him the intricacies of direct mail automation and you've fed him for eternity"
- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

(Of course, that's not how the original quote goes, but you get the point…)

When it comes to direct mail marketing, you've seen it all. You've probably read it all, too:

How to compose a killer direct mail campaign, enough times to die of misery.

40 surefire ways to customize direct mails for higher engagements, more times than you'll ever need.

Direct mail marketing 101, 101 times.

We get it. You can't take one more miserable or cliché blog about direct mail, or you'll lose it.

Fortunately for you, we're just as fed up with flat direct mail marketing antics as you are. That's why we created this direct mail automation guide, the last one you'll ever need at that.

Don't get us wrong. Direct mail is a phenomenal marketing channel with probably the best response rate around (hint: it's at a solid 9%).

BUT… (of course, there's a catch).

It's also super slow and has got a slew of cumbersome limitations: campaign setup is

time-consuming, lacks tracking and measurement capabilities, and requires a behemoth of physical requirements. Ugh!

Newsflash: there's a new (and better!) sheriff in town, and his name is direct mail automation. Drumroll, please…

Looking Beneath the Hood: What, Exactly, Is Direct Mail Automation?

The traditional approach to direct mail marketing is tedious at best (phew!).

Marketers would develop (or eek! purchase) a list, craft content, shop for a printer, run a massive batch of postcards and—finally—mail them out.

While the process was certainly sluggish and manual, many marketers still send a lot of mail this way because direct mail, as we mentioned, has a historically high response rate. However, that trend is slowly coming to an end, thanks in large part to the magic of direct mail automation.

At its core, direct mail automation is a way to modernize and streamline traditional direct mail. Rather than spend hours on end on a single postcard, marketers can leverage powerful automation software to send highly targeted, personalized, and triggered postcards efficiently and in real-time.

Smart marketers like you know that there's always a big marketing trend lying on the horizon, waiting to bring the industry to a standstill. Kid you not, direct mail automation is right up there with the best marketing tactics ever created!

What Makes Direct Mail Automation Different from Traditional Direct Mail?

We thought you wouldn't ask!

Writing copy, designing mail, collecting and checking addresses—rinse and repeat. All this is a lot of work, and unfortunately, that'll be your routine for as long as you're still doing traditional direct mail. Uh-oh.

Direct mail automation takes the hassle out of your direct mail marketing process, ensuring that the only thing you'll be spending time on is crafting high-level, super engaging campaigns. No more "will this postcard get to the customer on time." No more "I wish I wasn't a DTC marketer," grumbles.

And it's all possible thanks to these slew of features:

1.  Automation/Triggers

Sending the right message to the right consumer at the right time…

It sounds like one of those epic lines from a Seth Godin commercial, right until you stumble upon the perks of automated direct mail.

Triggers in direct mail automation are a lot like cookies in retargeting campaigns. Your target audience comes in contact with your brand on whichever platform, a trigger "senses" this action, and without wasting an ounce of time, immediately sends them an offline personalized response. Yaay!

Best of all, the best direct mail automation software platforms out there have these triggers rolled into their capabilities. These little snippets of code are what differentiate direct mail automation from its flat-to-the-bone counterpart (aka direct mail marketing).

2.  Segmentation

You can buy all the address lists in the world, but without the ability to collect audience data and segment it accordingly, your campaigns will never really take off. In other words, you'll be wasting money on people who'll never convert (ever!)

Direct mail automation allows you to use customer data gathered from your digital campaigns to automatically segment and target your direct mail campaigns. That means you'll only be sending mails to highly specific groups of people who're already interested in your offering—not so bad, right?

Whether you want to create segmented lists based on customer demographic, geographical locations, interests, shopping behavior, purchase history, or anything in between, it's all a cinch with direct mail automation.

3.  Real-time Tracking

Imagine this: Someone on your marketing team creates a show-stopping email campaign with highly personalized messages and high-converting designs. There's even a handpicked, well-segmented audience to match.

BUT…they have absolutely no way of tracking delivery, bounces, or clicks.

Crazy, right? What kind of marketer wouldn't want to track the effectiveness of their campaign?

Well, that's what direct mailers have been doing since the beginning of time. Until now, that is, because real-time tracking is now a possibility thanks to newer direct mail automation software (like PostPilot, of course).

With real-time tracking and powerful built-in dashboards, you can drive quick, informed decisions about what's working, what's not, and how you can make adjustments to improve campaign results. No more clunky spreadsheets or matchbacks.

And yes, you can track everything—from send status to campaign ROI to a mere coupon (yes, you read that right).

4.  Native ecom integrations

Let's be honest. Manually transferring data from eCommerce campaigns into your direct mail platform is far from a cakewalk. Heck, it's a time-consuming, error-prone process that eats into your productive cycle big-time.

If only there was an easier way to get your platforms to work together. Spoiler alert: there is!

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ecom integrations available for most direct mail automation platforms to connect to your digital marketing tools.

Weaving automated direct mail into your current marketing stack allows you to create punchier, more holistic campaigns without completely upending your processes. You can rest easy knowing your tools are talking to one another—literally.

The best part? These ecom integrations improve the experience for your recipients with more relevant, personalized, and timely sends (here's to sending seriously cool physical cards in half the time).

3 Undeniable Benefits of Direct Mail Automation for DTC/Ecommerce Brands

In a world of digital overload (think: declining email engagement, iOS impacting Facebook ad performance, etc.), it's absolutely critical to leverage other unsaturated channels to reach your audience in ways digital alone can't.

Number one on that list?

You guessed right—automated direct mail.

Here are ways automated direct mail can be beneficial to your campaigns:

1.  It Breaks through the Digital Clutter

Customers crave authenticity. And 57% feel truly valued when they receive direct mail. Those deeper and authentic customer connections eventually lead to brand affinity. And we all know just how crucial brand affinity is to the sales process (hint: it's the engine that keeps everything moving).

You can send emails, LinkedIn messages, and make dials all day long. But if you aren't thinking out of the box, your outreach efforts are bound to fall at the first hurdle. Automated direct mail lets you build deeper, unfiltered connections with customers by using highly relevant, personalized physical cards that purge their heartstrings and leave them in utter awe.

Get this. A lot of your prospects have never received an item of direct mail before. So, to them, it's real surprise and delight.

2.  It's Super Interactive

Direct mail, on its own, is an incredibly interactive channel. Now imagine what automated direct mail can do.

With the best direct mail automation software, designing your own bespoke, highly interactive cards becomes a total breeze. Better yet, every card is printed on premium quality card stock for a lasting, delightful impression.

The end result? More eyes on your marketing. Your ROAS and engagement rates shooting through the roof like they're on steroids.

3.  There's not as Much Competition

You know it. We know it. Everyone knows it— the fields of digital marketing is saturated to the brim.

And you know what that means?

A prime opportunity to get noticed through channels that are not inherently digital. Direct mail is one of those—and it's probably the least saturated of all.

Remember that most people will at least skim through their mail before binning it, and a colorful, creative, personalized piece of mail has a much better chance of standing out in someone's mailbox than your website does on Google.

Thing is, people don't expect physical cards as much in the modern age, and they aren't subjected to the same distractions when looking through physical mail as they are when they're online. So your chances of getting your message across with direct mail are very much in the upper quadrant.

Direct Mail Automation Best Practices: 3 Tips to Boost Your ROAS & Engagement

At this point, you must be thinking that the above is all there is to know about this concept, right?

Erm, not quite.

These three best practices are what savvy DTC marketers use, and you'll be damned not to take a closer look.

1.  Target the right audiences

Even if you've figured out everything else, your ROAS won't move up one bit if you keep sending your mailers to the wrong target market.

So before you rush to create a bunch of cards, carefully consider your target market. Choose the metrics for which you'll segment your audience (i.e., demographic, shopping behavior, etc.), and then drill in on the specifics. After all, customers respond far better to a targeted message that gives them exactly what they're looking for as opposed to a generic message that hardly speaks to them. Do your due diligence.

2.  Test different RFM segments

"Know thy customer like the back of thy hand" is one of those marketing sayings that never seems to lose its mojo. A proven way to put it into practice is through RFM segmentation—an approach that allows you to divide your target mailing lists based on recency, frequency, and monetary values.

Different RFM segments will inevitably perform differently. So it pays to test them accordingly and on the go. A/B testing can be an invaluable tool in this quest. As always, look at what the data tells you after you test our new RFM segments. Observe which campaigns were successful and which were not. This will consequently help you plan your next campaign and avoid drawing blanks on your loyalty and CLV goals.

3.  Make it unique and memorable

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? Be sure to create something you can proudly put your logo on and one that's unique to your brand's look and feel.

Get Ahead of Curve with PostPilot

They say it takes two to tango, and we strongly believe there's no better marketing pair out there than you AND us.

PostPilot was made for savvy DTC marketers like you—marketers who are fed up with

wishy-washy direct mail tactics and are ready to incorporate automation into their strategy for maximum impact.

PostPilot is like Klaviyo for direct mail—an out-of-the-box direct mail automation software that helps you send perfectly-timed promotions and create memorable moments that increase customer loyalty and boost your bottom line.

Stop leaving LTV and incremental profits on the table and start sending delightfully personalized on-off triggered campaigns instead—all in literal minutes!

The best time to try PostPilot was yesterday; the second-best time is now. What are you waiting for? Try out our direct mail automation platform risk-free!

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