Technological progression has changed the dynamics of nearly everything in our life. From how businesses operate to how we do our daily chores, everything looks different from what it was around 20 years ago. Amid all this momentous change that we are going through, there are few things that still exist in their primitive form and have acquired a universal status.
For instance, businesses still need to establish a strong bond with customers to ensure survival and sustenance of their operations. Customer loyalty, which was needed by businesses 100 years ago, is still relevant and needed for any venture to move forward.
While talking about the things that haven’t changed or got superseded with time, it would be fitting to mention direct mail marketing. It is the oldest form of promotions from the post-industrialization era and still stands relevant as it was hundreds of year ago.
Direct mail marketing can also be used by businesses to earn customers’ trust and loyalty. But before we delve into this discussion on the ways through which direct mail can be used to garner customer loyalty, it is imperative to know the difference between customer loyalty and retention.
How a Loyal Customer Is Different from a Retained Customer
Many people use the terms ‘customer loyalty’ and ‘customer retention’ interchangeably. To some extent and in a few contexts, the terms can be interchanged. However, the two terms don’t mean the same thing. A loyal customer is different from a retained one. Lets’ have a look at some of the distinctions of the two to understand the difference.
Loyal Customers Prefer Your Business
A loyal customer prefers your venture to other brands and competitions. The retained customer might also repeatedly do business with you. However, they are only retained due to the fact that they haven’t interacted with any other business.
Loyal Customers Also Persuade Others
The loyalty of the customer implies that he is really satisfied with the services or products of the given venture. For that matter, such clients also try to persuade and convince their acquaintances to follow in their footsteps. Word of mouth from loyal customers often results in valuable referrals. Retained customers often don’t show such passion about the business they are retaining with.
Direct Mail Marketing and Customer Loyalty
Besides the quality of services and products, there are many things that factor in to build a loyal customer base. Let’s have a look at how direct mail marketing can help in executing all those things.
Sharing Values with Customers and Conveying It Through Direct Mail
In the long run, customers want to know what your brand stands for. When customers find that a business shares the same values as them, they tend to stick with the business. Therefore, it is important for businesses to define their values first and then share it with customers as well.
Direct mail can be used as an effective tool to keep reminding your customer base of your values. For instance, a healthcare establishment must tell their perspective customers time and again that they don’t consider any disease a taboo. They can effectively convey the sentiments through direct mails by using ailment mailing lists.
In a similar manner, other ventures can also put together a pertinent set of values in place and share it with customers. According to one statistical report, nearly 65 percent of loyal customers have a strong connection with the given businesses due to shared values.
Transparency Is the Key to Unlock Customer Loyalty
No matter how exemplary your service delivery and quality of products are, there are some days where you couldn’t manage to pass the set benchmark. Occasional slip-ups are part and parcel of every business operation. But what distinguishes a good business from its competitors is how transparent it is about its failings in front of customers.
Telling the customers the actual reasons why you have failed to deliver and tendering a heartfelt apology will help you in earning the customers’ loyalty. You can effectively use the route of direct mail to be transparent with your customers. Going transparent through hard copy mails is convenient and looks more authentic.
It is better that customers come to know about a problem or blunder from the business itself instead of finding it through other sources.
Community Building and Loyalty Go Hand in Hand
For businesses working in a local environment, it is really easy to build a community among consumers. Direct mail can work in so many ways to help you in community building. You can introduce some of the top customers in your consumer base through a direct mail campaign. Not only will it act as a bridge between people of the same locale, but it will also beat a healthy competition among consumers to share the limelight in your direct mails.
With community building, businesses can effortlessly encourage a two-way communication with consumers. And all of this would add up to establish a community of loyal consumers.
Social Proof, Consumer Loyalty, and Direct Mail
It is normal human comportment that they assume actions of others as an appropriate behavior in any given condition. Psychology calls it social proof or informational social influence. Social proof also plays an important role in swaying customers. Likewise, consumer loyalty is also proportional to the amount of social proof a business can offer in its favor.
From celebrity endorsements to user reviews and neutral stats, there are many elements that can be used as social proof. For businesses operating in a local domain, direct mail marketing is the most suitable way to reach out to consumers with social proof.
For instance, attaching certifications and reports from impartial entities regarding the performance of your business in the direct mail will provide enough social proof to many to remain faithful to your business.
This type of social proof works well when you are carrying out a B2B direct mail marketing campaign through specific professional mailing lists.
Aside from that, you can include verifiable customer reviews in your direct mail as well. With more social proof on your hands, you will not only be able to strengthen your brand, but also make more customers loyal to your business.
Topping the Expectations Helps in Developing Loyal Customer Base
It is often said that businesses shouldn’t overpromise to customers if they want to stay in the field for a long time. A more constructive way to put this thought into practice is to exceed the expectations of customers. Getting customers through pleasant surprises always bring them closer to the business.
For instance, a business sending out guidebooks through direct mails on customers’ demands may take 3-4 days in delivery. By using urgent mail services, they can shrink this time to a single day. Using EMS will be costly, but its intangible benefits will ensure better ROIs for the future.
Don’t Forget Existing Customer Base
To increase their size and scope, many ventures take up aggressive expansion measures. Devising a hard-hitting marketing campaign to acquire new customers is not a bad strategy. However, while launching such campaigns, don’t neglect your existing customer base.
A thank you note to your existing customer through direct mail will do wonders for your business. Similarly, tell them again and again that you care for them. You can also show this care through customized promotional offers and discounts for longstanding customers.
Keep in mind that your existing customers have the most chances to convert into a dedicated loyal base. So, make sure you are doing the needful to achieve that.
Get Personal with your Customers via Direct Mail
A lot of marketing studies have proven that people tend to respond to marketing messages with more personalized content. The seed of loyalty is also sown when you start to interact with your customers on a personal level. There are several ways through which you can go personal through direct mail in order to garner their loyalty.
- Always address them by their full name in your mail. You can get the complete name of the recipients in the targeted mailing lists procured through experienced mailing list brokers.
- Send them birthday greetings. This information can also be retrieved through different target mailing lists.
- You can also send them loyalty coupons on their anniversaries as your customer.
Also, keep the language of your mail as personalized as possible. A personalized communication with your customers’ help in creating an emotional bond that eventually rewards you in the form of strong customer loyalty.
Incentives Are Important to Have Customer Loyalty Intact
There is no such thing as a free lunch. This adage holds true for most life situations. So, in order to maintain the loyalty of your customer base, you have to give them incentives time and again. This becomes more crucial when you are operating with more than a single competitor.
Even the most loyal customers will eventually ebb away if they are being constantly presented lucrative offers from other businesses. So, always try to incentivize the customers with one thing or the other.
For example, launch a direct mail campaign where customers are required to write back to you to earn a discount coupon or a freebie. Such activities will simultaneously engage and incentivize the customers, which will ultimately conclude in establishing their loyalty.
The Route of Loyalty Goes Through Customers’ Feedback
There are many ways to get customer response. A hike in sales suggests customers love your products and services whereas a dip indicates that something is off. There are many other ways as well through which you can gather customer feedback.
For instance, you can start a direct mail marketing campaign to ask questions related to the products and services you offer and to get suggestions for improving your operations. This direct communication is a better way to gauge the mood of your customer base instead of finding this out through their buying behavior.
To ensure that the majority of customers get back to you with their meaningful feedback, enclose an empty stamped envelope in your direct mail. Establishing two-way communication with clients is, in fact, a route to establish a group of loyal customers.
Inform Them About Their Contribution
If you have implemented any of the suggestions put forward by any of your customers, inform them specifically and thank them for their valuable contribution. There are strong chances that the customer will submit his loyalty to your business.
Ask for Review
As mentioned earlier, reviews act as a significant social proof. So, always ask for reviews while you are collecting customer feedback through direct mails. Different surveys suggest that reviews now play an integral role in shaping up customers’ decision. A recent survey has found that nearly 90 percent of customers go through reviews before choosing the products or services of any local venture.
The above discussion has shown several ways through which businesses can win the trust and loyalty of customers. The discussion has also made it clear how relevant and effective direct mail marketing is in implementing all these different measures to get the loyalty of customers.
The arrival of targeted mailing lists and role of mailing list brokers has redefined the status of direct mail marketing in today’s technology-driven world. Innovations in the domain of direct mail have made it effective for carrying out almost all forms of promotions and marketing stunts.
You should simply go with direct mail marketing because:
- It’s cost-effective: Direct mail marketing campaigns can be carried out with small budgets and lots of creativity and insight to provide great ROIs.
- It’s highly targeted: From behavioral interest mailing lists to voters mailing lists, there are dozens of targeted mailing lists that you can choose from, to devise a highly targeted marketing campaign, which seems pretty incredible in the indistinct environment of the online world.
So, get in contact with any good mailing list broker and acquire targeted mailing lists that you consider fit for the promotion of your business. Happy Direct Marketing!