Leverage More Print and Mail Opportunities with This 1 Fundamental Principle

There is a basic marketing concept we all know about that can be used to leverage more direct mail campaigns from print service provider clients.

The concept is this: there are only three ways to grow a business:

1. Get new clients

2. Increase the average transaction amount

3. Increase the average number of transactions per client annually

It's simple. Yet it exposes opportunities missed by many companies that can be fulfilled by direct mail and cross-channel campaigns.

The problem is that companies of all sizes tend to focus primarily on customer acquisition (#1 above) rather than acquisition and retention (#1, 2 and 3), according to various studies over the years.

It's natural. After all, we need clients to have a business and more clients means more business.

Yet there are compelling financial reasons companies need to focus on all three to get sustainable growth.

✅ Research by Bain & Company found that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25 to 90%.

✅ The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while for a new prospect it's only 5-20%.

✅ Existing customers tend to spend more - they are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more than new customers.

The simple math of working all three growth tactics are dramatic.


direct mail marketing mind map


I'll demonstrate with a simple example. Grow the number of new clients by 5% annually without changing the average transaction or the average number of transactions and you grow revenue 5%. (You can do the math in the calculator below.)

But grow in all three areas by 5% and total revenues grow by 15.8%.

Use the calculator to plug in any numbers you like. It will show the compounding effect of working in all three areas versus working only on client acquisition. And remember that retention strategies are almost always an easier way to get the sale.

(When you enter a number in the calculator, be sure to hit Enter or Tab to calculate the result.)



So how can clients accomplish this with direct mail?

Let's look at all three areas.

Getting New Clients with Direct Mail

This is an obvious goal but it bears repeating.

Direct mail can be used in many ways for both lead generation and for selling. If clients aren't yet using direct mail to solicit new clients with both lead gen and direct sales campaigns, it's an opportunity.

Use this direct mail calculator to present ROI scenarios to justify direct mail. It can also be used to plan a campaign.

For clients who focus primarily on digital channels, they might be surprised to learn how direct mail can improve their digital conversion rates. This related article on overcoming digital fatigue with direct mail has additional details.

Ways to Increase Average Transaction Amount

There are at least two ways to increase the average transaction amount with print.

Print Newsletters

Clients never remember the full range of products offered by any given company. Newsletters can increase the average transaction by staying top-of-mind with reminders about all the products and services offered. Offering bundled packages of these services to existing customers can quickly boost the average.

Personalized and variable data campaigns

Direct mail campaigns can be segmented according to products purchased, geography, personal preferences—basically any consumer data a company has.

Companies can also append their existing lists with demographic and geographic data to help with segmentation. A good list manager can also profile an existing list to create a new lookalike list.

For example, if a client has a list of customers in one city or region, a new lookalike list can be created for another city or region. Such lists can also be appended with behavioral data that matches the original client list. These and other list management techniques can boost the ROI of direct mail campaigns.

Ways to Increase the Average Number of Transactions

Increasing the average number of transactions means staying top-of-mind. Print newsletters, already mentioned, excel at keeping your brand in front of clients and encouraging additional purchases. Here are more ways to get bigger average transactions.

Upsells and Cross-Sells

Cross sells simply offer complementary products or services at the time of purchase. For example, if a customer buys a brochure, you could suggest a sales letter campaign to go with it. An example of an upsell is a discount for ordering a bigger quantity. Or a client who orders an EDDM campaign in one neighborhood could be offered a discount for adding a second area.

If the upsell or cross-sell happens at the time of original purchase, obviously it increases the average transaction amount.

But the key here is to not give up on the upsell or cross-sell at the initial purchase. If they decline the upsell or cross-sell offer, repeat the offer via direct mail follow up. These follow up sales increase the average number of transactions.

Bundled Offers

Create bundle offers or package deals that provide value for customers when they purchase more than one product or service at a time. Bundles make the individual items seem more cost-effective and encourage larger transactions.

An effective technique is to always have a series of three bundled offers available for new clients, basically a "good, better, best" offering. A small percentage of clients will always go for the "best" option. If one isn't available, it's a lost opportunity for a higher average value. The key is to also make these offers offline via direct mail.

Seasonal Promotions and Events

Capitalize on various seasons, holidays, or special events by offering promotions that encourage customers to make purchases during specific times. Some examples include back-to-school offers, holiday sales, or special promotions tied to important dates in the client's industry.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Birthdays and anniversaries are two of the top reasons for special offers, especially for retail consumers. Systematic direct mail offers for these occasions are known to be a prime driver of revenue for all types of retail establishments such as restaurants. Simple postcard reminders are an effective method to spur return visits. For example, "Free Birthday Dinner On Us – come in for your birthday with a party of two or more and your entrée is on us."

Remarketing and Retargeting Campaigns

Remarketing can reach customers who have already shown interest in your products, downloaded content, or visited your site without making a purchase. These campaigns remind them of what they viewed and encourage them to come back and complete a transaction.

Although remarketing and retargeting is typically done online, with good data and lists it can easily move to offline direct mail. 

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs reward clients for repeat purchases. They offer incentives to return more frequently and make additional purchases. In exchange they get benefits like discounts, exclusive offers, or points toward future purchases.

For companies that don't currently offer reward programs to clients, it might pay to partner with a rewards program vendor or create a program of their own. A cross-channel direct mail campaign throughout the year can play a significant role in the success of a loyalty program.

The Bottom Line…

This perspective should give you some good talking points with clients about the benefits of direct mail in growing a business.

If you need help with any aspect of a direct mail campaign, call our estimating department at 559-251-8595 ext. 1.