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Identify your best customers for direct marketing

Joan Patrick, director of marketing for NewMoversMail, pinpoints the types of customers you should be targeting with your direct marketing.

In the past, the direct mail philosophy called for spreading your marketing message far and wide. If everyone gets the message, at least a few will respond, right?

Today, both rising costs and better consumer analytics mean that targeting your campaigns is the way to go. By sending your marketing message to your ideal customers, you can get far better results than you can with a wider, less targeted list. According to experts, 40 percent of a direct mail campaign's success depends on getting your marketing pieces into the right hands. Here are a few ways to figure out the best possible targets for your direct mail campaigns:

1. Look at current customers.

Break down your current customers’ demographic information. You will likely find that your current offerings are more popular among one sex than the other, certain age groups, some professions or certain income levels. No information on your current customers? Put a survey on your website to gather more information about who shops there.

2. Think about who your competitors market to and fill the gaps.

You can learn a lot about your competitors' targets by looking at who they target for online, print and direct mail advertising. Though, instead of directly competing, consider who they are neglecting. By directly targeting the customers who your competitors are leaving in the cold, you have a better chance of reaching them first and closing the sale.

3. Target by ZIP/postal code.

Have you found that shoppers at some income levels seem to buy more of your goods than others? Are you more popular with urban dwellers than people in the country or vice versa? Where a person lives can tell you a lot about him/her. Some areas are more population dense, more or less affluent, and more or less likely to have a large population of a specific age group. By picking ZIP codes that match well with your target demographic, you can better ensure that your marketing materials get into the hands of those prospects most likely to respond.

4. Target by life event.

If your product is a good fit for new homeowners, sending a mailing to new movers can get you a great return on your marketing investment. Likewise, youth-oriented products can be a huge hit when your mailer arrives in a college student's hands a few days after a new semester starts. When people are in the midst of changes, they are often more open to new vendors and products, as well. This can be a great time to capture their interest and hopefully win a long-time customer.

5. Use direct mail for retargeting.

Every e-commerce platform deals with a certain number of abandoned carts. Periodically send targeted direct mail campaigns to those who have made accounts but never made purchases or who have abandoned the process partway through. Often, it can take several touches before a customer is finally ready to use the plastic and make a purchase. If he/she has forgotten about your brand, a direct mail bump can remind him/her and re-spark his/her interest.

Over time, you will learn which cohorts are the most likely to respond to your messaging and be able to select for the groups who have the potential to be the most responsive. Through careful targeting and consistent marketing, you'll find your marketing return on investment improves and your amount of regular customers will expand.