Despite a mass migration to online marketing in recent years, direct mail remains a critical tool for most senior living communities to reach out to prospective residents.
It’s true that seniors have increasingly adopted online channels for their entertainment, banking, learning and even medical needs. However, many older adults still enjoy opening their physical mailbox to find a beautifully designed invitation to an elegant special event.
Direct mail marketing still works. If your response rates don’t always reflect the effort and expense you put into your campaigns, it may be time to take a look at engagement. What are some steps you can take to attract and hold the attention of your direct mail recipients?
Choose the Right Audience
Before you execute any tweaks, ensure that you’re sending your mail pieces to the right people. Walker Marketing can assist you in reviewing demographic information for your market and creating customer personas. As you and your creative team put together direct mail pieces, use your customer personas to keep in mind the personality and preferences of your ideal prospective resident.
It’s critical that your messaging directly address the concerns of your audience members as expressed in your persona profiles.
Stand out from the Crowd
Do you want your prospective residents to open your marketing pieces — or toss them into the recycling bin? To improve the open and response rates, your pieces must stand out from everyone else’s.
How do you differentiate yourself in a sea of sameness? Your direct mail pieces should flow naturally from the strong visual branding elements you create over time, with customization for specific messaging and subject matter.
Within the design framework of your brand, think creatively. How can you illustrate your main idea in an unusual way, whether through the physical size and shape of your mailing piece, the artwork you include, an attention-grabbing headline, or copy that tells a personal, specific story?
Have a Clear Message
What are you trying to convey with your direct mail piece? Your prospects are busy, and they won’t devote more than a few seconds to quickly reviewing your piece to determine whether it interests them.
What is the reward for reviewing your mailing piece? Whether you’re offering helpful information or an invitation to an exclusive event, your mailer must include some type of “compensation” for your prospects spending time focusing on your brand and messaging.
Consider how you can make your offer so enticing that your prospects feel that they must act quickly — for example, you may have a limited number of seats to hear an in-demand speaker.
Your piece also must include a clear call to action. Once you’ve gotten your prospects’ attention, they need to know what to do next. If they want to attend your event or take you up on your offer of lunch, how do they contact you? In addition, clearly highlight any deadline or other restrictions.
Create an Effective Follow-up Strategy
If your direct mail piece is successful, your prospects will call to request more information, visit you for a meal, attend an event or take other action that you’ve suggested. What’s the next step?
Once you have a prospective resident in your database and that individual has expressed interest, you’ll need an effective strategy for building the relationship and creating further engagement. Determine how often your marketing team should contact prospects, as well as the goal for each contact. Track the results of each call or email, and schedule additional followup.
Review and Test Your Results
Do you measure the results of your direct mail campaigns? For the best possible outcomes, consider monitoring your campaigns for the calls and emails generated, positive followup interactions, sales and other metrics. In addition, testing different messaging and designs can help you achieve optimal results.
Walker Marketing can assist you with designing a direct mail campaign that builds on your brand identity to create engagement with your prospects, as well as testing and measuring outcomes.
In the daily buzz of online marketing, well-executed direct mail can differentiate you from competitors and create a lasting impression with your prospects. By selecting the right audience, creating strong visuals, clearly communicating your message, following up effectively and measuring your results, you can increase campaign engagement and get the most for your marketing dollars.