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Five ways direct mail can re-engage lapsed customers

Increasing customer retention rates by 5% can boost profits by more than 25%, according to research*. So, it’s important to breathe life back into lapsed relationships with direct marketing, especially using direct mail. The reasons for turning to direct mail are simple –you’re likely to know who the lapsed customers are and they’ll be warm to hearing from you, especially if you make contact with a tailored, personalised message.

We’ve waxed lyrical about the benefits of direct mail here, but here’s a quick recap:

Direct mail …

  • Achieves higher response rates
  • Is highly engaging and has the potential for interactivity
  • Can be highly personalised
  • Has a longer shelf life

And, to back this up, according to research from Royal Mail’s MarketReach unit:

  • 23% of all mail is shared between people in a household
  • 21% of promotions and special offers are shared
  • 57% of us feel more valued when we receive advertising mail
  • 60% say the best mail advertising keeps a sender’s brand top of mind

Of course, too much communication can be more harmful than too little. To make a direct mail campaign a success it must be highly targeted. This means keeping it personalised, relevant, showing an understanding of customers’ needs and the likely frequency of how often they want to hear from you.

These are our favourite ideas for using direct mail as a tool to re-engage your lapsed customers:


1. Newsletters

Newsletters are such an effective way to keep in touch. A hard copy newsletter can be an unusual thing to receive in this digital age, and that’s why it makes an impact. It is important that a newsletter adds value to your customer’s day and provides insightful advice for their business growth – from new product lines that may benefit them to inspiring human interest stories. As printed materials carry more authority, you can also showcase your industry expertise to capture the readers’ interest and remind them why they decided to become your customer in the first place.


2. Event mailings

Send event mailings by post, rather than a blanket email, to capture the recipient’s interest. Whether you’re sending invitations to an event, an online sale, your next exhibition or festival, a printed mailer will build excitement and act as a physical reminder. And, don’t forget to include an engaging cover letter – a technique tested by our clients and shown to improve response rates.

With this type of mailing, the first impression is vital. For that wow factor use a heavy, quality stock and personalised digital foil finishes. Details, such as coordinating the invitation’s colour with the envelope so that it pops on the doormat will mean the recipient can’t resist opening it there and then.


3. Staged mailers

Sending a personalised letter or one-piece mailer can help to re-open the dialogue with lapsed customers. As part of a staged, integrated campaign, direct mail plays the role of piquing interest and encouraging the recipient to stop and take notice – then you can reinforce and convert with digital mediums.

To make this work, all elements of the campaign must fit together as part of the same puzzle. Everything should join up, from the campaign’s theme down to the colours and style of imagery.

The other really important factor is to make the mail piece stand out. If the first impression falls flat it makes it so much harder for the other pieces of communication that follow to make an impact.

How can you make your direct mail pack a punch?

Make the mail lumpy – high-value customers are worth going the extra mile for. A package creates intrigue straight away, and if the gift inside is thoughtful and relevant it will remain nearby as a constant reminder of your effort and investment in that customer. 

A personalised letter – this is the perfect opportunity to make the best use of your data such as demographics and purchase history to pinpoint your customers’ needs and customise accordingly.

For a data-driven and effective approach, remember to use A/B testing to understand how your lapsed customers prefer to hear from you.


4. Brochures and leaflets

To reignite interest, produce brochures that convey the look and feel of your brand. Gain sensory appeal with a satisfying tactile feel to the brochure, and aspirational imagery. It pays to highlight lead products from your website and use editorial layout and lifestyle images to inspire.


5. Postcards

Postcards are cost-effective, versatile attention grabbers that can be used in several ways:

  • Thank you cards.
  • Targeted special offers – if a lapsed customer looks at a specific item on your website more than once, send a postcard including a promo code for that item’s category. Alternatively, mail discrete groups with discounts, samples or trials. It could be just the thing to stir them into re-engaging.
  • Follow-ups to earlier mailings or digital communications.
  • Announcements – anything from new lines to new stores or special offers.


See our success stories and discover how our clients have used printed marketing materials to boost their business growth. Feeling inspired? Call Managing  Director, Mark Bidewell, on 01622 677541 or email  mark@madebybison.co.uk for an informal chat.



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