Nothing beats variable printing when it comes to engaging prospects. People love to be addressed by their name. Even more, they like it when you engage them in a personal and unique way. Research has shown that personalizing your mail piece increases the open and engagement rates too!
Surely, you have received letters and offers in the mail from companies that begin with “Dear <Your First Name>,” and of course, you have received bills and invoices with your name, address and account details printed within. All of the above examples utilize variable printing, but have you ever wondered how they are done?
Variable printing is something we do on a daily basis here at Classic. Contrary to popular belief, variable printing is not only available on a large scale – when it comes to Personalized Mail (for example) you need only 100 pieces to achieve a personalized postage discount for your variably printed piece!
The common denominator for all personalized (aka: variable) printing is that the piece (or pieces) contain unique information which connects it directly to the recipient (ex: a personalized greeting, the individual’s name appearing within the body of the text, the offered pricing reflects the recipients specific location, etc.). You should try incorporating these types of variable elements instead of using only generic text. This creates an instant connection that boosts interest and response.
Advanced variable printing can even swap out images or determine the layout the customer receives.
A car dealer might begin their letter by addressing their customer by name:
Then move on to mentioning their customers current vehicle:
“Are you interested in trading in your <<Year>> <<Make>> <<Model>>?”
Then close the pitch with a variable image selected for that customer:
“Are interested in the brand new <<Suggested Vehicle Name>> <<Insert Suggested Vehicle Image>>”
It is very important to note, however, that variable printing is highly dependent on the quality of the data. Poorly formatted or incomplete data can greatly affect the variable printing and the overall success rate of your mailing. There is nothing worse than calling someone by the incorrect name, or using only an initial when you meant to use their full name (the difference between “Hello Scott” and “Hello S”). While keeping good data hygiene is always important, it is especially critical if you are planning to use it to make a personal connection with your customers.
With its unique ability to instantly engage its recipients, there is no doubt as to why variable printing is such an important tool in Print and Direct Mail. The options are constantly changing, even more customization options are being made available as technology advances. Most advancements, however, are based on these core mechanics, and knowing them will help you understand your options. More importantly, how to use them to appeal to your customers.
To always ensure the best outcome (especially if you are new to variable printing), planing ahead with your service partner on how to create, use, and supply your data is always highly recommended.