Variable Data is considered an advanced personalization technique by direct mail marketers. Postalytics makes it easy to insert variable data into online direct mail templates.
It very efficiently enables marketers to use data collected in lists or CRM’s to personalize each postcard, letter, or self mailer – without requiring a custom effort.
Traditionally, printer/mailers would provide this as a service that cost extra and require significant project management & communication to execute on. Direct mail automation changes all of this.
The concept exists in other channels as well – email marketers sometimes call them “merge tags” or “personalization tokens”.
Why do marketers use Variable Data in their direct mail? Because it works. Check out these stats:
- Adding a person’s name and full color in the direct mail can increase response by 135%. (Source: Canon Solutions America)
- Adding a person’s name, full color and more sophisticated database information can increase the response rate by up to 500% vs not doing any of these things. (Source: Canon Solutions America)
- Targeting customers on a 1:1 level increases response rates up to 50% or more. (Source: DMA)
Today, Postalytics makes it easy to insert Variable Data fields into reusable postcard, letter & self mailer templates in just a few mouse clicks. Our automation eliminates the phone calls, emails and meetings that traditional direct mail requires. It’s also free within our tool – we want you to use it!
Typical uses for Variable Data range from simple things like greeting your audience by name to more sophisticated use of purchasing, demographic or behavioral data to really hone the pitch.
You can use the Variable Data feature to print standard Postalytics fields, such as First Name, Last Name, City, State, or, you can use this feature to display custom fields that you have mapped to any of the user defined fields Var1 – Var35.
Variable data fields, when inserted into a template, will dynamically output a value that is specifically associated with the contact receiving the direct mail piece.
How To Setup Variable Data Personalization In Postalytics
With Postalytics, you can send mail to lists with our Smart Send Campaigns, or have your CRM/Marketing Automation trigger mail to be sent with our Triggered Drip Campaigns. The two types of campaigns require slightly different approaches to the process.
If you’re planning to send to a list via Smart Send, we recommend uploading the list first. Here are articles that can walk you through the uploading and mapping processes:
If you’re planning to trigger mail via the Triggered Drip Campaigns, there’s no list (at least to start). You’ll be using sample data records to test the Variable Data in the template proofer.
You’ll need to use the Postalytics Direct Mail Editor in order to insert the Variable Data fields into a template.
Why is this important? Because if you’re designing significant aspects of your creative in an offline tool such as one of the Adobe® products, or Canva, you’ll want to account for at least the space for the Variable Data to be layered in with the Postalytics Editor.
Another consideration is the selection of fonts. Postalytics is an online tool and is able to render online fonts properly. What you don’t want to do is choose a font for your text in the offline tool that can’t be easily matched up with our online fonts.
Many customers will choose to build all or most of their text into their templates using the Postalytics editor for this reason. It is just a simpler process, and you don’t need to go back to your designer for small copy changes!
The easiest, most common form of personalization is to greet your target by name. When people see their name in large print – it grabs their attention!
Postalytics makes this very easy to do. When creating a greeting for your template, you can place something like this in the template:
To insert a variable data field into your template:
- Click on the Text Box (or add a Text Box) where you’d like your variable data to appear.
- Click on Variable Data under Personalize.
- Choose Your List (if you have one – skip it if you don’t) and select the Variable Data Insert field you want to insert into your template.
- For example, select First Name to insert your contact’s first name into your template.
This will display the first name of your recipient from your contact list. Someone who’s first name is Jon would see “Hey Jon!”, someone else named Jennifer would see “Hey Jennifer”. Click the Save button on the top bar when you are done editing your template. You will end up with something like this.
Postalytics has included some standard variable data fields for particular circumstances:
Full Address – will print the full address of each contact record in the list, with proper spacing, regardless of whether each contact has an “Address 2” field.
Date – will print the send date (in MM/DD/YYYY format). For Triggered Drip campaigns, the date will be the date that the postcard or letter is being processed. For Smart Send campaigns, the date will be the “Scheduled” date that the campaign will be sent to the printer network.
More advanced uses include using the user defined fields – Var1 – Var35. You can map any profile data to these fields that you’ve gathered from any source, including CRM systems, POS systems, purchased data, forms that have been filled out and more. Postalytics campaigns have been built that utilize things like product names, quantity purchased, purchase amounts, donation amounts, FICO scores, interest rates – there’s no limit to what you can do. The more your personalize your offer and call to action, the better your campaign results will be.
Postalytics also includes an incredibly powerful related feature called Variable Logic. This tool lets marketers, without having to learn how to code, create very unique experiences for different segments of a campaign. Text, images, links, videos can all be displayed when certain conditions exist for the various profiles in your contact lists. Visit our page Variable Logic Personalization to learn more about using variable logic in your templates.