Direct mail done well can give you a great ROI. The best way to increase your response is to personalize your direct mail pieces. In order to help you do that we have put together information you need, in order to correctly use personalization with variable data printing.

5 Variable Data Printing Musts:

  1. Data: The most important part of your personalized mailing is the data you are using. You need to make sure that your data files are accurate. The worst thing you can do is send out a mailer with incorrect personalization. (A man does not need a tampon coupon mailer and a woman does not need a prostate health newsletter.)
  2. Templates: Create a base template design that both images and text can be dropped into based on the data. You can create multiple templates for testing but try to keep them to a minimum. The reason for the template is so that you can stream data into it for faster rip to print times. (Do not stare at your computer screen for hours twiddling your thumbs, take a small break and let it finish.)
  3. File Mapping: Creating your file mapping between your data and images is vital. The data needs to be coded with the correct information to call up the right image/images for each person as well as any text and special fonts. The data file, image file and template should all be on the same machine so that you are not reaching across a network to rip a file. This will speed up processing and cut down on data errors. (This is not drawing a line on the map of the US for your travel plans, it will take more work, but it’s well worth it.)
  4. Create Batch Files: In order to help with rip time and also to mitigate errors it is best to create smaller batch files. The number of pages will be based on the size of your files but usually you see about 1000-2500 pages in a batch. Large or very complex variable data will require smaller files. Sometimes when ripping large files your computer can max out the memory and this causes all kinds of issues with the files created. (Do not make files you have to flush that then have to be redone, leave that for the sanitation department.)
  5. Continuous Proofing: In order to make sure that there are no issues as the print process goes along it is important to proof as you go. Pull a sheet every so often and check that the name goes with the correct images and template. (Sometimes you will find that the information was not translated correctly and instead of an image or text you get a bunch funky characters like this !%&*%$#* or something.) The issue may only occur with a few people so constant vigilance is very important.

Personalization can really boost your ROI. It does not have to be difficult. You can create a personalized variable data mailer with just a bit of information on previous purchases. You can say based on what they purchased before they may be interested in this other product. Or something as simple as females get one offer males get another. Adding more personalization can increase your response rate by as much as 5%. The more you are able to target the offer to the person the better your response will be.

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