Email plus Print is a proven combination. Take it a step farther by personalizing the printed piece, and you put your customer’s preferences foremost in the experience.

And yet, in discussions with clients about this powerful pairing, clients often say:

“If I send a direct mail piece based on intelligence gathered from an email campaign, my customers will know I tracked them and freak out!”

In reply, I give the following examples:

  • You shop at a high-end boutique where the salesperson knows your tastes. A new item comes in to the store that is perfect for you. The salesperson leaves a friendly phone message so you don’t miss out.
  • You go to your favorite Italian restaurant with friends. The owner asks if you’d like “the usual” and has the chef make a special dish for your guests. He comps your dessert and coffee.

In each of these cases, you received special treatment and got extra value for being a good customer and having your preferences known.

So the question is, how can you combine the actionable insights you get from your email campaign and then use personalized print to up the ante without being perceived as creepy?

Here are a few possibilities:

1. Let’s say you’re a press manufacturer who sends a monthly email newsletter to prospects you meet at trade shows. For readers who click through to the press specifications, you could email the following:

“We’d love to mail you our monthly Press Lovers newsletter. It’s geared to folks who like to dig into technology, and it includes step-by-step instructions on some pretty cool print effects you can try yourself. If you’d rather not receive the print newsletter, click here. Otherwise, you can expect your copy in about a week. We look forward to having you in our Press Lovers community!”

In doing this, you’re giving customers control and choices. You’re being polite and personable. You’re showing you care about their taste and interests.

Most importantly, you’re tailoring a future printed product to the preferences they’ve shown through their interactions with your emails.

2. One of my clients tracks color preferences among his email recipients. As an email campaign goes along, he will place images on background colors that recipients seem to favor. When it’s time to send a direct mail offer, guess what? The postcard features their preferred color. The experience is seamless to recipients.

3. A non-profit gathers large numbers of email addresses at rallies and events. In each email newsletter, recipients are prompted to follow a link to become full members. They are told they will receive a personalized gift and printed member materials when they complete their online registration.

On the printed membership materials, a personalized note like this one is added:

“We loved meeting you at the Starlight Parade. Enclosed is a VIP pass for you and a guest to attend our next event in Portland. Please feel free to come backstage and meet our keynote speakers!”

The recipient is honored to be treated like royalty.

As you can see, email campaigns tied with personalized print is actually marketing tailored to customer preferences.

Successfully using print with email starts with good intentions. Put customers first, make their interactions with you positive and valuable, and be transparent and helpful in how you use their data and their preferences. Add a little creativity and salt to taste!

sandygatf6Sandy Hubbard helps printing companies thrive by maximizing the marketing programs they are already using. You can find Sandy every Wednesday at 4 pm ET at Twitter’s best print party, #printchat!

 

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