The one word that runs right through direct mail, from the conception of a campaign to the hook, design, messaging and targeting, is engagement. There is no other single factor that can claim so much importance in determining the success of a campaign and its ability to deliver return on investment.

Engagement begins at the very outset of the campaign, when marketers need to decide who they want to target and what the desired outcomes will be. Modern technology gives them access to a series of tools, including data analysis and customer modelling that would have been unheard of a generation ago, allowing them to define these key parameters more accurately than ever before.

Once the basis of the campaign is set in stone, engagement needs to be the focus of the campaign collateral. The theme, design and copy should be led by the data analysis, tailored to the demographics of the target market and focused on generating maximum responses. Design should be dynamic, without being busy, copy should be short and detailed, without being overly long or complex, and the size or format should be suited to the tastes and expectations of the recipient.

The single most important factor in engagement is the hook itself, which for online gaming businesses will usually be a discount or incentive, such as a free-play bonus, discount or enhanced benefits (i.e. VIP membership status). Get this wrong and your whole campaign will be a waste of time and money, but get it right and it’s the key to delivering genuine ROI. Consider your target market carefully and focus on the playing habits and aspirations of the people you’re communicating with. Also, remember to tailor your campaigns to retain, reactivate and acquire.

Next thing to consider is the response mechanism. The days of premium-rate phone lines and postcards are long gone and most successful online gaming brands now use an online model, with the mailer driving the customer to the web through a simple URL, QR code or even augmented reality, which is the next revolution set to sweep the industry. 

This not only offers instant gratification, it is also simple and tangible, giving you an opportunity to maintain the attention of the customer. Remember to always keep It simple, straightforward and relevant to your target demographic.

The final tool in the arsenal of the modern direct-mail marketer, which makes engagement much more straightforward, is personalisation. Modern print and sorting technology means that every mailer can be personalised according to the playing habits, demographics and characteristics of each client, with everything from the content to the hook tailored accordingly. This means, for example, that a big spender could be offered a £100 bonus, while someone else could be offered £10, all with the goal of engaging them on their own level with an offer that is likely to generate income.

Engagement is not rocket science, but it is fundamental to the success of modern direct mail campaigns. Postal campaigns will always cost more per unit that email marketing, so your campaign needs to be about quality over quantity, and engagement is central to this.

It’s vital that you get your campaign right in terms of the design, the message and the hook. By keeping engagement at the forefront of your mind, you can ensure that the campaign delivers on its key goals and thereby maximise the response rate.