Direct mailing can be a very ineffective marketing method. It is reported that only 1% of standard direct mailing successfully leads to a sale.
Using lumpy mail can dramatically increase the results of a direct mail campaign and help build an engaged and loyal customer base.
Find out how you can use lumpy mail in your marketing in this blog.
What Is Lumpy Mail?
Lumpy mail is defined as a direct mailing campaign where the contents of the envelope seem bulky. This is often because contained within the envelope is a branded gift or sample for the recipient.
The term was devised by Dave Nichols of Denver’s Heinrich Marketing. Since then it has become a staple for some brands to reach out to customers and engage with them.
Why Does Lumpy Mail Work?
Like with most forms of marketing, lumpy mail is designed to stand out from the crowd. Essentially, the recipient becomes curious on the contents of the envelope. This encourages them to open the mail before any other activity. Then because the contents inside are unique, the recipient will remember the mail and your brand.
Direct mail which is not lumpy has a poor reception. This is because there are already negative connotations associated with this type of direct mail. The first of these would be that the sender is only interesting in selling. In the day of relationship management, businesses need to actively engage their audience to encourage two way conversations. Standard direct mail does not do this, lumpy mail does.
The Disadvantages Of Lumpy Mail?
Sometimes lumpy mail isn’t successful. The extra costs of sending the bulky envelope and producing the additional content can mean the campaign could be an expensive failure.
There is also the chance that while people enjoy the content of your lumpy mail campaign, they don’t see the relevance to your brand. Or the lumpy mail item does not have a long enough shelf life to remind the recipient of your brand for the long term.
It might also be the case that instead of just one campaign, you might need to organise several in order to have an effective return on your efforts. This could cost your business a significant proportion of your marketing budget.
However, the return of your marketing campaign can be tested using a small population. Simply send out two versions of a direct mail campaign. One will include extra content to make the mail lumpy; the other will be a standard piece of direct mail. Monitor the results to see if lumpy mail will work for you.
What Can Be Included In Lumpy Mail?
The contents of a lumpy mail campaign can be almost anything which gains the attention for the recipient. Some examples have included balloons, pens, bags, chocolate bars and toy trumpets. The only limit to the campaign is your imagination.
Many organisations send samples of their products, tailored to the recipient. Other companies send other content which is unique.
There are certain best practices which can increase the success of your lumpy mail campaign. These are:
1. The content has some use for your audience – many businesses stick to the tried and tested method of sending pens (with the recipient’s name), branded mouse mats or calendars. Although these may be useful items, if every organisation is doing it – how do you ensure your gift is being used? Instead consider other items which might be of benefit to your audience.
2. It provides entertainment – sometimes the best way to start engaging your audience is to make them laugh. One company did this by sending out toy trumpets to targeted individuals in order to “toot their own horn”. The humour gave good returns on the expense.
3. It can be posted – logistics are still very important when it comes to sending lumpy mail. It is not only the cost to consider but also the deliverability of the package. If it is too big it is likely it will never be received.
How To Run Your Lumpy Mail Campaign
Running your lumpy mail campaign is straightforward. There are a few steps involved which help to ensure your campaign looks professional and is delivered perfectly to your potential clients.
Here is our step by step guide to lumpy mail:
Step One: Select a small group on your contact list to send the mail to. Ensure those on the list are potential or current clients who you know and have engaged with you recently.
Step Two: Decide what you are going to send to your contact list. Take quotes on how much it will cost to produce, package and deliver. One of the most common mistakes companies make is to not include the delivery charges. Ensure the content is either highly valuable to your recipients or that it provides some entertainment.
Step Three: Create good copy to accompany the content. Many businesses attach standard sales letters. Try to avoid this and create something just as unique as your gift. Try asking the recipient to share a picture of them and their gift on your Facebook page or on Twitter using your handle. This also allows you to increase awareness for your brand by utilising cross marketing techniques.
Step Four: Do a test run and have the lumpy mail product delivered to your office. This way you can see it is logistically possible and the condition which the mail will arrive in. If the mail comes badly tattered then you might want to reconsider your campaign and change the content.
Step Five: Make any changes, run another test if you feel it is needed and then run the campaign.
Step Six: Monitor the results of the campaign by noticing who uses social media to thank you for their gift or by noting who is calling your business after the lumpy mail should have been received. For better tracking results you could include a special offer with the mail that contains a special discount or promotional code.
Lumpy mail can be an expensive form of marketing and if not done right can ruin your marketing budget. Yet with the right technique, content and some preparation, lumpy mail can support your business’ growth, encourage long-term customer relationships and return significant revenue.
Run a lumpy mail test and monitor the results.