Five Print-on-Demand Direct Mail Tactics You Should Be Using

By Jeff Cracolici

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Marketing Manager & Digital Expert

In direct mail, the print-on-demand (POD) model creates personalized and customized marketing materials, such as postcards, flyers, brochures, and catalogs that are mailed directly to specific recipients. Instead of doing large, batch mailings, POD offers direct mail on a smaller scale typically triggered when a customer meets a specified business rule. For example, if a customer is a first-time buyer or is about to lapse, a direct mail piece can be printed and sent to that individual automatically.

This POD approach combines the convenience and cost-effectiveness of print-on-demand with the targeted nature of direct mail marketing. Campaigns can be nimble and niche for maximum impact.

Whether you are fully integrated with a POD platform you know and love, or you don’t know where to start, here are five strategies you can (and should) be implementing.

The Mindset Going In

The beauty of print-on-demand is that it combines the physical touchpoint of direct mail with the targeting capabilities of email. If you have automated workflows set up for email campaigns, almost all of those can be adapted for direct mail inside a print-on-demand platform. Many platforms are out there, but if you need assistance narrowing the field, let us know.

1. Reach Buyers Before They Lapsed

Keeping your customer retention high is incredibly important for the long-term success of your business. For most industries, a customer lapses if they go 12+ months without a purchase. Once they lapse, it becomes a harder sell as they forget about your brand or turn to your competitors.

Use print on demand to send customers a postcard 11 months after their most recent purchase with an enticing offer to buy before they become lapsed. Focus on your latest best sellers or complementary products to their last purchase. The very nature of print-on-demand makes this incredibly easy to do as a “set and forget” strategy.

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2. Birthday Campaigns

Sending personalized birthday postcards is a compelling way for marketers to nurture customer relationships and drive purchases. To implement this strategy, start collecting birthdays or turning to a third-party data vendor like LiftEngine and our LaunchPad service to help fill the gaps.

Design visually appealing postcards that incorporate the customer’s name, a warm birthday greeting, and an exclusive discount code or gift offer. Craft a persuasive message that expresses appreciation of their past business and excitement for their big day. On the postcard, provide a clear call to action, a deadline to redeem the offer, and time the delivery during their birthday month for maximum impact.

3. First-Time Buyer Follow-Up

Following a customer’s initial purchase, sending a well-crafted postcard can significantly enhance their experience and foster continued engagement. Begin by designing a postcard that reflects your brand’s identity while incorporating gratitude and recognition for their first purchase.

Include a personalized message expressing appreciation for choosing your products or services and welcoming them to your community. Mention the item they purchased and highlight its benefits, reinforcing their purchase decision. Consider adding a special discount or loyalty offer to incentivize their next purchase. Lastly, ensure the postcard exudes a friendly and approachable tone, creating a warm connection, and leaving a lasting positive impression.

4. Remind Customers to Refill or Restock

While not applicable to all industries, sending a direct mail piece to remind customers to replenish a product they have previously purchased can be a strategic and customer-centric approach to drive repeat sales.

Craft a postcard acknowledging their past purchase, expressing gratitude for their support and trust in your brand. Highlight the benefits and features of the product they previously bought, reminding them of its value and utility.

Regarding timing, you’ll want to estimate how long it will take for a customer to use the products they purchased. You can take a calculated guess or use purchase history to help determine this. Once you have that set for each product, ensure the postcards reach the customer around that time. Make sure you base the in-home date of the postcard on when the product was received, not when it was purchased.

For example, if you are a retailer that sells shampoo, and you know that customers go through the 12oz bottles in 60 days, their “it’s time to replenish” direct mail piece should arrive 60 days after initial delivery.

Tip: Tag each product or variant in your e-commerce platform with how long it takes for the product to be used by customers. For example, a tag called “60-Day Re-Up” or “90-Day Re-Up” will make it easier to sort out this workflow when you integrate your print-on-demand platform.

5. Up-Sells and Cross-Sells

Leveraging POD postcards as a channel for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities is a strategic move by marketers to enhance customer engagement and drive sales growth. Begin by designing visually captivating postcards highlighting the value of the customer’s prior purchase and seamlessly introducing complementary or upgraded products. Personalize the message to acknowledge their existing relationship with your brand and explain how the suggested offerings can elevate their experience or fulfill additional needs.

Infuse the message with persuasive language, spotlighting the distinctive advantages of each suggested product and positioning them as tailored solutions aligned with their preferences. Include a clear call to action guiding them to explore these offerings more deeply through your website, a dedicated landing page, or your physical store. Enhance the appeal by considering time-sensitive discounts or exclusive bundle offers for a comprehensive purchase.

With print on demand, you can simply merge personalization, product knowledge, and appealing incentives, postcards can effectively stimulate customers to think and embrace supplementary purchases, boosting overall sales.

Get the Data You Need for Next-Level Print on Demand Campaigns

Are you already using a print-on-demand platform? Take your campaigns to the next level with LaunchPad’s Customer Tagging. We provide demographic, financial data, and much more so you can create advanced print-on-demand workflows. Alter postcard creative based on gender or marital status. Recommend products appropriate for each customer’s net income or discretionary income. The possibilities are endless.

About LiftEngine

Since 2005, LiftEngine's primary mission has been to help clients better understand and connect with their most responsive prospects and customers, online or offline. Our expertise is behind the marketing campaigns of 400+ clients.

Behind LiftEngine is LiftBase, our proprietary addressable consumer database. Comprised of 250 million US consumers, 140 million US households, and 1,000+ enhanced data elements, LiftBase powers our audience development services and industry-leading products, PortalLink and LaunchPad.

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Published on Aug. 31, 2023, Last Updated on Nov. 08, 2023