Why Variable Data Printing Is a Game Changer for Direct Mail Marketing

24 December 2019 / By Mike Gunderson
Reading time: 3 minutes

Personalize your direct mail content and increase reader engagement for your brand

What’s the key to convincing someone who receives your direct mail marketing to read the offer?

Is it flashy graphics?

Perhaps a nice font?

Smart formatting?

While all of these elements help, sending content with personalized features is one of the most effective ways to gain the reader’s attention because it promises the content will speak directly to the recipient.

By including variable data printing in your next direct mail marketing campaign, you can create customized materials that allow you to communicate personally with the reader, increasing your brand’s exposure in the process.

Here’s how variable data printing works and what it can do to increase your brand’s exposure.

What is variable data printing?

In short, variable data printing allows you to change elements of each mailpiece you print. The specific changes may be as small as including the recipient’s name to as large as changing the image or layout for each recipient.

What you choose to personalize depends on what you’re looking to achieve. Elements like geographical location, age, income, and household size are all important when reaching out to potential customers. You don’t have to include that information directly, but providing relevant offers based on demographics is a good idea.

Putting a unique QR Code, promotional code, or personal URL on every mailpiece allows you to track the effectiveness of your letter and see what’s working.

Speak as directly as possible to each list segment you’re reaching out to, as this helps elicit the desired response.

How does variable data printing work?

It might seem like personalizing hundreds, or even thousands, of pieces of mail, would take forever, but the beauty of variable data printing is that it won’t slow you down at all.

The trick is to use a variable print file loaded with data you’ve accumulated on potential customers. This feeds a mail template that contains certain sections where variables will be inserted and uniquely printed, depending on the information you’ve decided to leverage. Some mailers change up the text or offer for different segments they’re mailing. Others may change the image. Some even include a map from the recipient’s street to the nearest store.

You’ll end up with thousands of pieces of personalized mail without much additional work since the computer software handles every aspect of the customization.

Personalized collateral increases engagement

When the information and images on a piece of mail are personalized, you have a much better chance of breaking through and enticing the recipient to read it.

Between email, radio, television, billboards, and direct mail, the average person is exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements every day.

That’s an incredible amount of clutter to get through, but the vast majority of these advertisements aren’t personalized in any way.

By sending direct mail with a few personalized elements, you give yourself an advantage over every marketer who doesn’t use this method, increasing customer engagement in the process.

Another reason VDP increases engagement is that you’re able to create an emotional response in your reader.

What’s important to your potential customers?

Well, it depends on the individual, of course.

By collecting data and then personalizing your marketing content, you’re able to appeal to each person individually, making it more likely that you’ll get their attention.

Stand out from the crowd

There are countless ways you can take advantage of variable data printing. For example, if you’re sending out a large number of pieces within a specific geographical location, you could include images of a local sports team or another source of pride in the community (be sure you acquire any relevant licensing rights to do so).

Likewise, if you have your customers’ birthday information, sending out a birthday card with a special offer is an excellent way to create a lasting relationship and build loyalty.

Variable data printing allows you to stand out from the crowd by doing something that many other marketers in your area might be overlooking, forging a connection with consumers in the process.

Gunderson Direct can help you create powerful variable data marketing collateral to reach out to your ideal customers directly. Contact us today for more information on what we can do for your direct mail marketing success.

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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.