Professional education firms assist practitioners of many industries to both achieve and renew their professional licenses. Dozens of professions and state licensing authorities require practitioners to certify their understanding in their field of expertise and then periodically re-certify by taking exams.
In other industries, professionals take part in continuing education to maintain their status as accredited individuals. Many of the continuing education firms that offer tools and services to help them are deploying dynamic content in direct mail to scale their outreach.
Skilled trades, software development, health care, finance, education, and many other industries demand professional certification. An individual’s career advancement opportunities in some occupations may depend on official accreditation. Busy professionals turn to continuing education providers to supply the instruction or test preparation services they need to maintain their professional credentials.
One professional education firm is using Postalytics to drive revenue and support healthy customer relationships with current students. Their strategy utilizes dynamic content in direct mail to remind students of upcoming certification requirements and guide them through the specific courses and steps required for their profession.
License requirements in the industry this firm supports are different for every state. The timing, number of hours, and scope of the education required to re-certify varies widely across the nation.
The firm discovered early on that direct mail is a perfect channel to reach out to prospective students. The ability to deploy dynamic content in direct mail, otherwise known as “variable data printing” makes direct mail easily personalized for each recipient.
When the firm first began offering their services, the dynamic content necessary for variable data printing was manageable; they worked in only a few states. As the company expanded to be a nationwide supplier, the disparity of messages to compose and the intervals at which they needed to deliver them became unmanageable with traditional direct mail workflows.
Initially limiting operations to only a few states, the company enjoyed good returns on their direct mail investments while working with a local print service provider. They knew their marketing approach worked. To scale up to nationwide coverage, however, would be difficult and expensive using a traditional lettershop approach. That’s when they started looking for a better way to connect with their clients and generate recurring revenue.
The continuing education firm understands their customers are busy. They knew that sending a single marketing piece would not be successful. Their customers are on the move or in meetings all the time, and a single touch would not produce satisfactory results.
The solution they chose to handle communications critical to their nationwide rollout had to be economical enough for the firm to contact students multiple times as their renewal dates approached. The company now sends up to 40,000 postcards per month. In shopping for an answer to their problem, this firm took notice of print and mail charges, and especially subscription fees.
Flexibility was also an important factor in the company’s solution selection. The chosen system had to handle a large number of state-specific license renewal requirements as dynamic content in direct mail templates. The firm did not have the time or the budget to design fifty unique sets of mailpieces to address the licensing regulations in every state.
Postalytics’ ability to handle mass personalization and variable data, along with a reasonable fee structure impressed the professional education company.
The firm’s marketing mailpieces could take full advantage of variable logic statements built into the Postalytics template builder. The software varies the wording on each postcard according to values passed to Postalytics from the firm’s CRM. This allows them to avoid all the extra work it would have taken to create state-specific dynamic content in direct mail.
Combining the functionality of the firm’s CRM system and Postalytics, the company can mail the correct postcards to targeted students at the precise times and intervals appropriate for everyone. The dynamic content on the postcards lists the package of educational courses each student must take to satisfy the recertification requirements for their state. Students can purchase their courses online or call customer service to sign up.
The continuing education firm uses promo codes on all their marketing materials. This allows them to understand which mailpieces are generating revenue, compared to their marketing efforts in other channels. They are tracking the progress of their campaigns with the Postalytics dashboard and can respond quickly if they notice delays or other issues with their direct mail campaigns.
The company is a believer in the power of dynamic content in direct mail. “Everyone else is really focused on digital marketing. We think we stand out because of the direct mail,” says the firm. The company is convinced they wouldn’t have been able to make direct mail the focal point of their marketing strategy without the Postalytics system. Their prior solution was not scalable in terms of cost or time.
As the company approaches the first anniversary of signing up with Postalytics, they are planning a thorough review and intend to expand the program. They have already noticed response rates that differ from state to state. Going forward, the firm may change the strategies for certain states by expanding efforts in some geographic areas and reducing their outreach efforts in others. The Postalytics system makes such segmentation easy to accomplish.
The professional licensing and continuing education business is quite competitive. Differentiation, trust, and brand awareness are extremely important when all continuing education course providers within an industry are selling similar things. Getting someone’s attention in the cluttered environment of web advertising, social media, and email is difficult, so companies that use dynamic content in direct mail can make a big impact.
Studies have shown that consumers trust messages they receive in postal mail more than advertisements they see online, they remember them better, and they respond more frequently.
As this company has seen, investing in dynamic content in direct mail with multiple touches can impact their ability to connect with the right individuals in the right locations, and deliver relevant, personalized messages at the right time.