It will come as no surprise to anyone in the marketing world that personalizing a direct mail piece can increase response rates.  How to do so effectively, however, is less well understood.

The first step, of course, is to address the recipient by name.  While this alone could increase response rates 20 years ago, this is basically expected today.  Something that’s not a lot more work on your part but could help your recipients feel appreciated and special is to mention a past purchase or recent donation.  “We’ve included several stir fry recipes you might enjoy using your new wok to try” could be very well received, for example.

Thinking more broadly, however, the purpose of personalization is to delight recipients with how well you understand their interests and needs.  Consider how you can personalize all three components of your mailing – the benefits of the product or service you’re promoting, the testimonials you’re including, and the offer itself – to appeal to specific groups.

Start by segmenting your list into groups with similar interests and thinking through what is likely to be of interest to each group.  If you’re marketing a resort, for example, there are several distinctly-different groups you could target, including the following:

  • Families with Young Children: Safe environments, separate play areas for children, and the ability for parents to drop their kids off in a supervised kid’s club so they can have a quiet meal alone could all be selling points.  Images showing children happily immersed in fun activities and a lifeguard on duty are likely to be quite appealing to this group.
  • Young Singles: This group will probably be most interested in sports activities and having a rollicking good time meeting other singles.  Images of late night dancing, parasailing and swim-up bars should predominate.
  • Older Couples: Having likely raised their own kids, this group is apt to be turned off by pieces designed for either of the first two groups.  If you survey your existing older customers, you may find that the quality of the food, the attentiveness of the service, and the availability of high-quality evening entertainment might be most appealing to older couples.

In addition to focusing on different benefits for each segment, you should also include testimonials from members of the targeted groups.  And don’t forget geographic factors – research has shown that consumers find testimonials from someone who lives in a nearby town to be more relevant and truthful than if they live across the country!

You should also think about how to customize your offer for each group.  You may choose to talk to young singles about Spring Break specials you’re running, for example, while focusing on quieter months with older couples.

One question that often arises when a company is exploring personalization is how to get useful information on which to segment your list.  If a record is on your house list, you might already know a lot about the person.  Past purchases in particular can be a powerful source of data.  If you don’t know enough about the names on your list to adequately segment them, however, data appending services can add demographic, lifestyle and business data to your list. Information about age, marital status, home ownership, activities, and interests may be particularly useful in helping you persuasively tailor your message.

And no matter how much you personalize your mailing, we can still help you mail it very cost-effectively!


MailSmart Logistics provides worry-free shipping at remarkably-low postal rates –
You’re going to love working with MailSmart Logistics!