eCommerce customers, who have purchased a product or service, provide a wealth of value in addition to sales revenue. They have often responded to a specific promotion or product search. This can tell us which promotions are working and which keywords are the most valuable. They have also validated the value proposition for the product or service just by placing their order.
They may have signed up for a newsletter or other periodic communication from the company or strategic partners. This allows the company to stay connected, continue building rapport, and to market important new offerings. The customer contact information, and related demographic details captured with the order, can help understand target verticals and high-value clusters for future campaigns/promotions. Existing customers can also help build social media communities and provide referrals digitally by sharing and engaging with the brand’s digital content.
It is often assumed that customers who arrived at a website through a Google search or an email newsletter are 100% digital. However, even these customers have a physical presence. Reaching out pro-actively with a physical direct mail campaign (written message) is a powerful way to re-enforce that relationship and provide an avenue to upsell new offerings in the future.
Collating the Contacts
The first step is to create a list of eCommerce contacts that can be used for mail outreach. This requires that each record has a physical mailing address. If the product was physically shipped to the customer, then we should already have this information. If we used digital fulfillment, then more work might be required to gather this information. The best practice is always to capture a physical address and phone number with each order even if fulfillment will digital.
The list can be segmented based on specific verticals, interests, or customer needs. This will depend on the product or service being offered. This will allow us to send more personalized content to this audience – personalization often increases engagement and response rates.
This type of segmentation can also help us anticipate future needs. A family expecting a child might purchase a crib in preparation for their new arrival. Six months later, that family might need a highchair. In another six months, they might need a walker. Understanding this dynamic, and the stage of the customer, will allow us to map timely offers to their needs as they emerge.
The exported and segmented lists should be imported into a direct mail system. This will make sure that they are ready to be used with specific campaigns. Automated direct mail tools, such as Zairmail (www.zairmail.com), allow segmented lists, and related campaigns, to be uploaded and stored. Zairmail also maintains a complete record the campaigns sent to each list.
Choosing the Type of Mail
A very effective follow-up mail format for eCommerce customers is postcards. Postcards are cost-effective, high-impact, and allow striking images and messages to do all the hard work. They are also low effort on the part of the recipient – the message can be clearly shared with just a quick view and/or read. Zairmail offers postcards in standard, jumbo, or sumo size. Thanks to recent postal rule (rate) changes a jumbo postcard just costs slightly more than a standard postcard. The extra space can be well worth the small extra investment. There are also options to send postcards in envelopes which can be effective during holidays.
We recommend reading ‘How to Pack More Punch with Postcards’ to get the most out of a postcard campaign. Here we’ve highlighted the importance of keeping branding consistent and how to choose a message. The team at Zairmail is always on hand to assist with messaging, design, and lists for clients who would like more guidance.
Link it Back to Digital
Online customers appreciate the right blend of online and offline contact. Direct mail contact should still clearly refer back to the website and social properties. A QR code can help make this even easier by allowing customer to scan a link on their phone and visit online properties.
A brand-specific hashtag can sometimes help with online community engagement. There might be a number of events/activities of interest in an online community – like an upcoming competition or giveaway on Instagram. Remember to post any company changes, or significant achievements, that build credibility for the company and value for the eCommerce customer.
Keep in mint that not all follow-up mail campaigns need to revolve around a specific upsell or promotion. Often, we can use mail just to re-enforce our relationship. Chewy, the online pet medication company, sends physical holiday cards and birthday cards to the pets it serves (addressed to the owners). This re-enforces the brand, builds a sense of caring (reciprocity), and makes people smile. It is hard to put a value, or calculate an RoI, on the type of goodwill generated by campaigns such as these. Ultimately, it boils down to building a more personal (human) connection, with online customers, to build brand value and a sense of authenticity.
Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.