The Most Effective Way to Acquire New (and Maintain) Customers

Welcome to 2019. Brand new year, brand new opportunities to seize the day. And more opportunities for me to talk to you about ways to attract new customers. (My specialty.)

As a marketer, you probably know that email is the cheapest channel when it comes to communicating with your customers. But what about the customers that you have yet to acquire? Do you know what helps to attract them to your products or services?

You might be surprised to learn that paper – in the form of direct mail – has proven to be very effective when it comes to customer acquisition. In fact, about a year ago, Target Marketing reported that about 52% of marketers recognized this and invested in direct mail for that exact purpose.

Integrating direct mail into your omnichannel marketing strategy does several things:

  • It provides another visual way to get in front of consumers and tell your story free from digital noise.
  • It gives you the power to drive business by converting customers in different stages of the buyer’s journey.
  • It allows you to communicate to a new, highly targeted audience, without wasting money on unqualified leads (e.g. advertising).

The DMA Statistical Fact Book reported that 2017 direct mail campaigns sent to prospects received a 2.9% response rate, tying with prior year results. Another study in the 2017 DMA Response Rate Report found that direct mail outperforms digital channels, including online display ads, paid search and social media.

Integrate print into your strategy to attract, retain and win-back customers.

When it comes to customer retention, a house list obviously will provide the best value. What’s more, direct mail receives a 5.1% response rate when utilizing that house list, according to DMA. 

To attract new prospects, analyze current customer demographics.  That allows you to easily define potential segments who are likely to be interested in your offerings.

Armed with that data and a better understanding, seek out mailing lists with prospects who fit that prime target audience.  If your business is tied into geography – like retail, gyms or restaurants – it’s worth using location-based targeting to attract new customers who may not be aware you are even there.

If your goal is to win-back or re-engage customers, direct mail executed the right way can help you understand why they left in the first place. I suggest sending a survey asking them why it’s been awhile since you have “seen” them. A short and sweet business card reply with a prepaid, pre-addressed postcard provides an incentive to complete the survey, and could possibly make them a customer again! The ones who respond should provide you with additional data on how to improve your offerings.

Messaging and calls-to-action (CTA) are pivotal to a successful direct mail campaign.

The CTA must be strong with clear instructions on what to do next. As you try to win back customers, it’s imperative to communicate just how important their business is through genuine messaging, using personalization wherever possible.

Utilizing personalized URL (PURL) codes on each piece, or including a QR code to be scanned – containing coupons tailored to their shopping habits – redeemable either in-store or online offers personalization and real-time tracking for your campaign.

For prospects, your messaging should be very different than it would be to a lifelong customer.  This probably sounds obvious, but I have had to “guide” customers in the past not to speak to everyone with the same message.

It has been my experience that any business, regardless of the size, can reap the benefits from a well-planned and thoughtfully designed direct mail marketing campaign.  It truly supports better engagement all-around, whether customers are new, current or taking a break.

How can I help you and your company succeed in 2019?