Four-color variable image mail is, hands-down, proving to be the single most successful innovation in mail advertising since the invention of the envelope. With success stories of mailers who have received response rates as high as 80% and return on investment rates in the one-thousand-percent range, advertisers everywhere are beginning to take a serious look at this new technique.
“How do I get started?” Actually, it’s easier than you think.
The ability to vary pictures, images and text based on what you know about the recipient all starts with taking a good look at the data file that you will use in your mailing.
For instance, is the recipient male or female? If “male,” you may want to design your images, text, and motif for a male or masculine point of view. Whether working with tools in the garage, cars and trucks, or maybe even a sport such as football, basketball or baseball. If “female,” you’ll want to tailor your images, text and motif to more of a feminine angle, possibly, with images of shopping, family, health and fitness, and so forth.
If “gender” isn’t one of the stored columns in your database, there are several software packages that we can use to assign gender, based on the prospect’s first name. Keep in mind that you will need a “default” non-gender-specific motif for instances where the recipient’s first name could be either male or female such as “Francis” or “Jackie.”
Of course, the more information you have about a recipient, the easier and more effective your message will be. But, lack of information is not as detrimental as you might think. More often than not, the information is there; it just takes a little imagination to capitalize on it.
For instance, the city, state and zip can give you a lot of information, if you think about it. Does this person live in upscale Metro-West, downtown Orlando, or out in rural Eustis? If you are mailing in the middle of winter, does this person live near the beach in Florida or in Green Bay, Wisconsin? Is the address type an “SFDU” (single-family dwelling unit) or an apartment complex? All these little pieces of information can fit together to allow you to produce a variable image and text mail piece that is targeted specifically toward that person. Your message and offer becomes relevant and personal to the recipient, which results in much higher response rates.
Remember, designing successful variable image advertising campaigns starts with your data file. Try and put yourself in the shoes of your prospect and what they deal with on a day-to-day basis.