6 Ways to Use Direct Mail to Win Back Previous Customers

17 September 2019 / By Mike Gunderson
6 Ways to Use Direct Mail to Win Back Previous Customers on gundersondirect.com
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Re-engaging previous customers can create a significant boost in sales, and direct mail is the best marketing medium to get the job done

Direct mail is mostly renowned as a customer-acquisition medium, but if you’re not also using it as a reactivation tool, then you’re missing out on a significant opportunity. As the top-performing direct-response marketing channel, direct mail can be used for so much more than attracting new customers. It can also be used as a lead-nurturing and customer-retention tool, and perhaps most notably, as an effective way to win back previous customers.

Why is re-engaging lost customers a worthwhile marketing strategy? Because there is typically a much higher response rate and increased likelihood of converting based on their prior experience with and existing knowledge of the brand. And, in a world where email inboxes are becoming increasingly overcrowded, business owners and marketers should use direct mail as the means to communicate with this gone-but-not-forgotten group.

To implement an effective direct mail customer win-back strategy, marketers must be able to send messages that:

  • Re-engage lapsed customers
  • Tell the recipients that they are missed
  • Address the reason they left
  • Offer a compelling reason for them to come back
  • Make it easy for them to return

Sounds simple, right? Here are six effective ways to use direct mail to re-engage lost customers.

1.  Offer a hard-to-resist motivational offer

Discounts and promotional offers are a widely used marketing strategy because they work. But there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to providing a motivational offer, especially when it is designed to win back customers. The trick is to evaluate and segment dormant customers into categories, and then assess where each segment ended their tenure with you. For example, newer customers will respond to a different promotion than an offer that speaks to more long-standing customers. Whatever you do, make sure the offer speaks to the customers’ history with you and heightens their buying experience.

2.  Send personal “we miss you” mailers

Sometimes, people just want to know they’re missed. To show previous customers that you still care, use variable-data printing to create customized mailers with tailored content to rebuild rapport with the recipients. Once you have their attention, provide them with an offer or an incentive to make coming back an easy decision.

3.  Mail birthday greetings

What’s more personal than a birthday greeting, and who doesn’t love a freebie tacked on to that considerate gesture? Using direct mail to make previous customers feel special and recognized on their birthday is a surefire way to get their attention, and providing them with a birthday gift from your company, like a discount code for your webstore or free coffee at any one of your store locations, maybe just what they need to fall in love with you all over again.

4.  Create personalized rewards reminders

For businesses that use a customer-loyalty program, an effective way to re-engage lapsed customers is to remind them of any unused loyalty points, rewards, or store credit. To help incentivize recipients to take action, the company can also provide a limited-time bonus offer for those who redeem their points or credit within a specified amount of time.

5.  Employ a multichannel approach

Direct mail as a standalone medium delivers a much higher ROI and response rate than other marketing channels, but when used as part of a broader multichannel approach, engagement levels and response rates are even better. When employing a multi-channel strategy for a customer re-engagement campaign, try creating a direct mail piece that funnels traffic back to your website or campaign-specific landing page. Once customers visit the website, you have an opportunity to track their movement, gauge engagement levels, capture more detailed customer information, and allow for a quick reactivation process. The mailer should include a time-sensitive incentive to visit the site, a strong call to action, and of course, the correct URL.

6.  Use trigger-based direct mail

Triggered direct mail is an integrated marketing approach that allows businesses to gather data from their customers’ online behavior to engage with them offline. It’s also a great way to re-engage recently unsubscribed customers via timely, personalized direct mail correspondence. For example, marketers can create a trigger that alerts them when an existing customer chooses to end their service or not to re-up their subscription. Once alerted, the company can send them a triggered direct mail piece that acknowledges their decision to leave and offers them an incentive to stay, like a discount or a free month of service.

At the end of the day, re-igniting the fire with previous customers can have a significant impact on your bottom line. And, as a marketing medium, direct mail is arguably the best tool to execute your win-back campaigns.

Need help designing a direct mail customer win-back campaign? Drop us a line.

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About The Author

Mike Gunderson

Mike Gunderson is the founder of Gunderson Direct, Inc., a direct marketing agency that helps businesses drive new leads and close more sales through traditional offline channels, especially direct mail.

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