How to Segment Your Direct Mail Targets to Attain a Better Response

07 January 2020 / By Mike Gunderson
Reading time: 4 minutes

A significant factor in direct mail success isn’t what you send but whom you send it to. By segmenting your audience, you can market to just the people who are more likely to become customers.

It should go without saying, but in marketing, you’re always better off directing your message toward those who are most likely to be receptive to it. In direct mail, that means segmenting your audience and focusing on potential customers who are likely to buy your product or service.

But how do you divide your audience and decide whom to focus on? That depends on what you’re selling and how you’re marketing it.

Here are five ways that you can segment your audience to maximize your direct mail results.

1. Focus on location

The most straightforward method of segmenting your direct mail audience is by geographical location.  Geographic segmentation allows you to target potential customers in a specific country, state, city, or neighborhood, all the way down to select streets within a town.

This segmentation strategy is often used by businesses with retail locations to drive local customers into their stores, but there are many other ways to use geographic segments in your marketing.

For example, one key to using location to define your audience is identifying which areas have more residents who are likely to have an interest in your product. For example, people in affluent neighborhoods will have different budgets and could have different hobbies than those in blue-collar areas.

2. Use demographic data

Another great way to segment your advertising audience is through demographics. There are countless pieces of data that you can look at when doing this, as things like age, income, ethnicity, gender, number of children, marital status, and homeownership status are all applicable.

For example, if you’re selling an item that is generally marketed to young, single males, it doesn’t make much sense to send direct mail to too many retirees.

The further you dig into the demographic data you have available, the more you’ll be able to target your ideal audience.

You can also adjust your message based on the demographic that you’re targeting, as consumers of varying ages could use the same products or services for different reasons.

3. Mail to businesses

Are you doing B2B mailings?

It should go without saying that you’ll spend most of your time targeting businesses that could use your products but dig into the data to more clearly targeting the right companies.

Aspects of an organization like revenue, industry, employee numbers, and the size of the company all matter, as some businesses simply won’t have the resources to consider your offers.

When creating B2B mail pieces, think of ways in which other businesses could assist you and address your pain points. What would make you receptive to one of these offers?

Look for businesses that your services can assist and deliver the message in a way that conveys how valuable you could be to that organization.

4. Consider the audience’s hobbies and traits

When coming up with a marketing plan, identifying a prospective customer’s hobbies, personality traits, attitudes, and interests will help you to better understand what this person wants to see in the mailbox.

For example, a person with a competitive personality who loves sports could be swayed by marketing that depicts a local sports team or provides some sort of challenge.

One method of finding this data is to send surveys to your active customers to learn more about their interests and personality traits. If you see a trend in this data, such as how many people within a geographical area who like a particular television show or have a similar taste in music, you can extrapolate your findings over a wider area, allowing you to reach even more of the population.

5. Look at the sales stage

A final way to segment your audience is through the stage of the sales process they are in currently. Every purchase is a journey of some sort, although it can take longer to reach the destination depending on the customer’s needs and the product in question.

A sale starts with awareness, as customers must be conscious that they have a problem that needs solving. For example, before two people decide to eat at a restaurant, they must recognize that they are hungry.

From there, the hungry people will discuss possible places to eat, evaluate the choices, and come up with a final solution.

Depending on the type of business you have, you’ll want to enter the buyer’s journey at a different stage. A restaurant won’t have time to send direct mail between the awareness of hunger and the eating stages, so it must send marketing ahead of time. A car dealership, on the other hand, can send marketing to those who are still evaluating their options because their journey usually takes longer.

You’ll encounter a variety of customer types in your data, including active customers, inactive customers, loyal customers, prospects, and one-time buyers. Marketing individually to each segment and optimizing what you send them can increase your chances of landing more sales because each group is looking for something different.

A loyal customer already likes your products and might be happy with a small discount coupon, while someone who has browsed your offerings and hasn’t made a purchase might need a little more to finally bite.

Give each member of each segment precisely what they want to increase your odds of making the sale.

Data is everything

Of course, the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign is highly dependent on collecting the right data and then using it correctly.

Gunderson Direct can help you make the most of your data and find external data that gets your message to the right people. Our analytics capabilities allow us to look at the results of each campaign and make the necessary adjustments to reach your ideal audience. Contact us to see how we can boost your direct mail marketing.

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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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