Data is the essence of your direct mail campaign. Successful marketers make sure their data is always accurate and protected from misuse and harm. Ensuring your data is safe builds trust with your prospects and members. Making sure your data is clean and up-to-date saves you money on postage and printing costs.
Your direct mail data includes your mailing list and all the details you have about the people on your lists. How you collect, use, and protect that data can make the difference between a thriving marketing campaign and one that struggles with finding and retaining members, achieving goals, and driving a more significant contribution to your organization’s mission and prosperity.
Here is a quick guide to direct mail data management.
The Data You Need
You must define your ideal prospect no matter the size of your audience. If you are compiling your own list, you have many ways of building a database by generating leads from social media, surveys, event signups, or online forms. Developing your own list only goes so far. To be more productive, use a third-party provider for high-quality and verified data. You can test different segments and offers when using more qualified names.
Segmenting Your Data
You can segment data in many ways, including by gender, age, income, financial status, and education level. You can match and append from vendors with this data and dig deeper into psychographics like a person’s hobbies or religion. Geo-marketing is an option too, which allows you to target an audience based on their state, zip code, or neighborhood.
Behavior is another reliable segmentation factor because it reflects what your prospects and members have done already. One way of incorporating behavior is by listing your members using the Recency, Frequency, Monetary (RFM) model.
A person’s online actions can result in data that spurs a direct mail effort too. With a programmatic mail approach, an organization can retarget someone who showed interest in a product or service with a follow-up printed mailer. You can send a personalized special offer in just a few days if it meets specific behavioral criteria.
Formatting Your Files
Your mail list data file must be formatted appropriately. A well-formatted file shortens the turnaround time for your mailing. It saves you money by eliminating the need for your mail specialists to perform time-consuming alterations to the data. The following formats are the most preferred:
- Excel (.xls and .xlsx)
- Microsoft Access (.mdb)
- Microsoft FoxPro (.dbf or .dbc)
- dBase (.dbf)
- Comma Separated Text (.CSV or .TXT)
- ASCII (DOS text) fixed width or delimited (.txt)
- Paradox (.db)
Structuring the Datasheet
Structuring the datasheet is a critical step as well. Your database should be formatted with data separated into the following columns:
- Individuals Name
- Individual Title
- Company Name
- Address Line 1
- Address Line 2
- Zip Code
Combining data slows down processing, and you may incur additional costs. If you include any foreign addresses, you must include the full country name in its own column.
Personalizing with Variable Data Printing (VDP)
VDP is a powerful direct mail strategy that tailor-fits a direct mail package to each recipient based on individual data points. The mail piece has higher perceived relevance to the receiver because you personalized it more deeply.
There is an abundance of data that marketers and their third-party partners have, which means VDP provides many possibilities. But don’t misuse this data. You can make your brand and messages appear overbearing, disrespectful, or creepy. Focus on leveraging what you know in a way that brings immediate value to the relationship you are starting and growing.
Data Management with Valtim
Your data is a precious asset. At some point during your direct mail marketing flow, you are dependent on accurate, clean, and properly formatted data. Valtim understands the importance of these data needs and requirements. Valtim now specializes in direct mail marketing, but over 30+ year history was built on our expert-level data management. Using your data and our imaging capabilities allows us to create uniquely personalize mail pieces that speak to your audience and increase your ROI.
Contact Valtim to learn more about your data management services and how we can help with your next direct mail campaign.