Digital customer communications? First, make paper pull its weight
Physical letters are always going to play an important role in customer communications. But that doesn’t mean they can’t adapt and evolve. By using new techniques and digital processes, you can improve efficiency and reduce the cost of your paper-based mail.
For years now, digital agencies have told us all about how paper is wasteful and old-fashioned, and that digital is the way forward. Meanwhile print and mail houses (not to mention the Royal Mail themselves) maintain there’s no substitute for the real thing.
The fact is, both camps are right. Physical mail is certainly still a communication mainstay – especially for businesses in tightly regulated industries. But just because physical letters are old, doesn’t mean we can’t teach them new (and more efficient) tricks.
If you can optimise your mail, and combine it with new digital techniques, you can help reduce the cost and complexity of postage – while improving your response rates – making it a more useful part of your multi-channel communication.
Here are a few techniques you can use to enhance your physical mail.
Optimise your postage
Your physical mail need to be printed, fulfilled and sent, but typically two thirds of the cost is postage. Small refinements – like checking your database to make sure the postcodes are complete or changing the design of an envelope – can make a big difference.
Small changes like this can help you avoid surcharges, and even benefit from cheaper tariffs.
Consolidate mailing with others
If you regularly send small quantities of mail, combining your mailings with other companies in a similar position can help you all achieve volume savings. We often facilitate discussions among our customers, helping orchestrate consolidated mailing.
Say goodbye to the office printer
If you or your colleagues are printing and sending mail from your office printers, you could be wasting a lot of time – and a lot of money.
The fact is, printing communications from a standard printer is inefficient – and often means you pay over the odds for printers, maintenance, consumables and postage. With hybrid mail, your teams can still send letters with a single click from their desk, but the physical printing and sending is handled offsite – saving up to 60% of your costs.
Personalise more than their name
Letters tend to promote a stronger response as they feel more personal than other forms of communication. And that’s just when their name is at the top of the letter.
You can take this personal effect much further by customising more than just their name and other textual information. And with new digital document management tools and processes, it’s now possible to create engaging data visualisations for individual account histories, or change images and inserts to suit personal details – automatically, on a per-letter basis.
Print each piece from scratch
The traditional way of mailing involves holding on to large stocks of pre-printed letterhead, leaflets and brochures. That’s not just placing demands on the physical space in your office, it also means you risk running out at a bad time – or having to throw everything away, every time the details change.
Creating each mailing from white paper is incredibly flexible, saves on space and wastage, and means you can get new mailings to market faster, without waiting for stock.
Your transactional communications – statements and invoices – are already a significant part of your mailing operation. But if you’re just using them to send bills or invoices, you could be missing a big opportunity.
By including marketing material in with your transactional mail – or even in free white space on billing notes and invoices – you can make your mail do more. Some companies even charge marketing teams internally for including these extra materials in transactional mail.
Small mail changes – big multichannel improvements
If you’re interested in making the most of these optimisations– and exploring the full benefits they can offer – download our eBook ‘Customer communications: using paper and digital together’.