LMS marketing can be tricky. Whether you are promoting CE credit solutions, exam or test preparation, professional development courses or any of the many other e-learning tools out there, you need to find ways to stand out in the minds of your prospects.
Often, your prospective learning management system customers are at different stages of their buying cycles. Some are very early, at the “discovery” phase, and are gathering information about tools like yours. Others might be narrowing down their choices and will make a decision soon. Others might be staring down the gun of a CE certification deadline and need to move quickly.
To maximize your impact, each of these different prospects have to be segmented and marketed to differently. If you can identify targets that have a high probability of making a purchase decision because of an impending deadline, you should pull out all stops and hit them via multiple channels and with strong offers.
For those prospects that know they want to invest in further their skills in what you teach, but are not quite ready to take the plunge, many LMS marketers are using marketing automation tools with built in nurturing programs that send out automated email and direct mail campaigns to move prospects through the funnel.
LMS Marketing Is Growing More Sophisticated
In e-learning marketing, there is often a balancing act between giving away or teasing information for free, and saving the most important bits behind your paywall. That balancing act, across multiple different personas, awareness levels, and channels, can get difficult to plan and manage. But companies that are willing to invest the time and energy into creating a cross-channel strategy will reap the rewards throughout the funnel.
Here at Postalytics, we have seen clients achieve amazing results in their LMS marketing programs by introducing automated direct mail.
You may see direct mail as a more “traditional” marketing channel, better suited for local businesses that are more geographically-conscious than your typical e-learning company. You also might think that your direct mail campaigns would float outside of your existing digital efforts, disconnected from your broader marketing strategy. Both of these are myths.
73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can engage with it whenever it is convenient for them. 98% of Americans check their mail on a daily basis.
Automated direct mail can be a boon to any e-learning marketing strategy and put you in a position to develop closer relationships with both prospects and customers. It can reliably serve a positive role throughout the funnel — including for acquisition, nurturing, renewal, and loyalty.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the reasons why automated direct mail is particularly well-suited as a complementary channel for e-learning marketing in all industries. Let’s take a look:
1. Establish Connections Through a Channel Your Competition is Overlooking
LMS marketing programs tend to be more digitally-centric than others in the continuing education space. For good reason too — the type of customers that seek out online learning options tend to be more digitally-focused as well. It makes sense to meet them where they are most comfortable.
But that doesn’t mean that the only place that you should connect with prospects and customers is through digital channels.
You can bet that a lot of your competition is overlooking channels like direct mail, that are often perceived as more traditional channels. This means that they are leaving a gap in their strategy that you could potentially fill with your own communications to endear yourself to early-stage shoppers that are still shopping around at different educational providers in your industry.
A direct mail campaign often feels more personal to prospects than digital communications. It allows you to deliver something tangible, and often more creative than you would be able to deliver through email or digital ads.
This is especially true when a prospect feels like a direct mail letter or postcard has been individually prepared for them. It just feels more personal, which allows you to stand out from the competition and put yourself in a position to succeed. traditional
2. Stay Top of Mind with Prospects
Often, the sales cycle for e-learning customers can be a long one, especially for higher ticket courses. In industries where there are multiple good options, prospects may spend a long time evaluating options or even begin their search well before they are ready to make a commitment and fully invest.
This means that the most successful companies in e-learning typically do a good job of staying at the top of their prospects’ minds as they weigh their options or move toward being more ready to invest in bettering their own skills.
Direct mail marketing campaigns give you an easy way to stand out from the crowd and increase the chances that your prospects continue to open your emails or engage with your marketing materials through other channels.
3. Use Direct Mail to Break the Monotony of Email Marketing Campaigns
Prospects, and particularly those that are digitally-fluent (as many continuing education customers will be), will experience a certain amount of “inbox blindness” when it comes to your ongoing nurturing campaigns.
We’ve all been there. You sign up for an email list for a product or course that you are considering buying. You read the first few. Then, over time, you stop opening them. Eventually, Gmail starts to sort those emails into the “promotional” inbox and you never interact with that brand again.
This is a typical path for many of the prospects in your inbox. Sure, they are receiving your marketing materials — but are they truly paying attention? This is a hurdle that can be tough to overcome for companies that have longer sales cycles.
Research shows that there are roughly 270 billion emails sent each day. It’s easy to see how they would begin to overlook emails from familiar senders and become numb due to the sheer volume that they receive on an ongoing basis.
Direct mail can be a great way to “reset” your prospect’s attention. Since it is unlikely that your competitors are also sending direct mail campaigns, it can be a great way to grab their attention and jump-start their participation in the other marketing activities that are directed their way.
Mixing in direct mail deliveries and campaigns at different time-specific points in your nurturing campaigns — for example at the one-month, three-month, or six-month mark — can be a great way to break the monotony, grab their attention, and get them to begin engaging with your materials through other channels again.
4. Integrate Direct Mail With Other LMS Marketing Channels
One of the biggest myths regarding modern direct mail marketing is that campaigns that you deliver through direct mail must exist in a bubble outside of your digital campaigns.
In fact, modern direct mail marketing solutions like Postalytics make it easier than ever to integrate direct mail campaigns with the campaigns that you launch through other channels. Postalytics, for example, directly integrates with popular marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Zapier. This means that you can directly connect your direct mail campaigns to your CRM, and integrate it with email and ad campaigns.
Postalytics allows you to use personalized URLs (pURLS), which contain the recipient’s name, to track their engagement with your direct mail campaign. You can see when they visit your website, how they engage once on your website, and capture their information so that you can continue to engage with them through other channels.
You can even use triggers to automatically send direct mail campaigns at specific points in the customer journey.
For instance — you could set a trigger so that when a prospect has not opened any of your last three marketing emails, a direct mail campaign is automatically triggered. That would help you to stay top-of-mind and try engaging with prospects that are losing interest in a new way that may bring them back into the fold.
Or, you could schedule a triggered direct mail campaign to be sent at specific points in the customer journey. Maybe a longtime customer will receive a small gift leading up to their renewal date. Or perhaps prospects on the verge of buying could receive a small sample of your e-learning materials in physical form through direct mail.
The ability to connect your direct mail campaigns directly to your digital campaigns can give you a leg up on the competition and a new channel to engage with prospects and customers.
5. Nurture Prospects By Teasing Tangible Learning Materials
Direct mail is a particularly enticing medium for LMS marketing campaigns because it actually serves as a great way to deliver “teaser” materials to your prospects. While e-learning courses and materials take place online, delivering small portions of your materials in a physical format can be an effective way to sell your audience on the overall quality of your learning materials.
This could be a great approach for bottom-of-the-funnel prospects who are on the edge of buying into your offer. Often, one of the things that keeps customers from making the buying decision is actually being able to see behind the curtain and get a taste of the materials that they will gain access to once subscribed.
Sending a sample of those learning materials through direct mail allows them to have a tangible example that they can go through whenever it is convenient for them. A small booklet or folder with some of your training materials so that they can get an idea of what will be offered behind the scenes can be a powerful way to deliver bottom-of-the-funnel materials to prospects that are on the fence.
6. Show Appreciation for Longtime Customers
If you offer a monthly subscription to your e-learning service, direct mail campaigns can be a great way to celebrate milestones and show your appreciation to longtime customers.
Imagine delivering a small gift to customers that have been subscribed to your offer for six months or a year. It’s a simple gesture that can go a long way toward earning their trust and loyalty. Additionally, it will increase your renewal rates or help you to reduce monthly churn.
Sending customers a small “thank you” package through direct mail, even if it is only a postcard letting them know that you appreciate their business, will help you to develop deeper connections and show longtime customers that they are not just another “number” to your business.
7. Personalize Direct Mail Communications for Closer Relationships with Prospects and Customers
Another common myth when it comes to direct mail for e-learning marketing and other industries is that you can’t effectively personalize your mailpieces in the same way that you can through email. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In Postalytics, you can use any data point that you have on a particular prospect or customer to personalize your communications. This could be as simple as including their first name on the mailpieces that you send:
Additionally, you can personalize your pURL and even the text on the website that they are sent to, to ensure that they have a fully personalized experience that feels as if it was put together specifically for them.
8. Drive Renewals and Loyal Customers with Direct Mail Campaigns
Many learning solution marketing organizations live and die by their ability to convince customers to renew a subscription, either on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. A big part of this effort is ensuring that your customers feel like they have received more than enough value out of your offering to justify renewing their subscription.
Another big piece to this puzzle is staying top-of-mind. A customer may subscribe to your CE course or test prep solution, but if you aren’t constantly reminding them that you exist, they are unlikely to maximize the value that they get from your program and therefore, unlikely to renew or become truly loyal customers.
Direct mail campaigns can help you to stay top-of-mind, convince current customers to dive back into the learning materials, and more generally endear them to your brand.
Direct Mail — A Key Piece of the Puzzle in LMS Marketing
Direct mail marketing could become a key channel for e-learning companies in any market. It allows you to establish more personal connections with prospects that build trust and stay top-of-mind, all while integrating with your profitable digital marketing campaigns.
Direct mail might be a more traditional channel, but that doesn’t mean that it has to exist free-floating, outside of your other marketing activities. Modern direct mail marketing systems like Postalytics make it easy to launch triggered direct mail marketing campaigns that supplement your existing campaigns for a true multi-channel approach.