Yes, there is a way to improve on the mouse trap
Is your property sending the same types of mail pieces out to your players today as you did three or even five years ago? Well, don’t feel too bad about it. Not a whole lot has changed in direct mail since the size requirement changes for self-mailers back in 2013. But there are some out-ofthe-box options that you may want to consider. Keep in mind, some of these options will have a larger, but not crazy, impact on your budgets, so plan accordingly. All the options below do have something in common; either the mailer itself or the response mechanism requires more interaction than simply looking at or reading the mailer. Folks, interaction is key.
#1 QR Codes and PURLs
Most of you know about QR codes and PURLs and may think that they are old trends, but they are still quite relevant and may yield higher than usual response rates. With the still-ever-increasing usage of smartphones, QR codes can take a player directly to your reservations web page to redeem room offers, or connect them to the latest music video from the artist who’s going to be in concert at your property soon. There are many tools available out in Internet-land that will help your agency or on-property graphics personnel create the QR codes using the destination URL of the link required. There is no additional budget impact to print and mail production or postage for this option.
PURLs take a player to a special web page customized specifically for them where they may redeem offers or participate in promotions. Even though the mailer may be a traditional postcard or self-mailer, the response mechanism is personalized and interactive. PURLs require the hosting and creation of the individualized web pages, and the mailers will require digital variable print linking each web page to the specific player using the data, but there is no increase in postage costs for letter-size mail.
#2 Dimensional Mail
Dimensional mail is simply mail that has structure. It may be a pop-up mailer, a padded envelope with a CD of an artist appearing at your property soon, a box containing clues for a murder mystery, a tube with a treasure map, or whatever is appropriate to the promotion or offer you are sending. It may be a self-mailer with multiple folds (which reveal required details of a promotion) that need to be opened in a specific way to redeem the offer for their next trip to your property. Again, different and interactive. These mailers do require a healthier budget for design, production and postage, so they might be best used for smaller groups or higher end player promotions.
#3 Augmented Reality
Augmented reality has been around for quite a while. The United States Postal Service even introduced a promotion back in 2013 that gave mailers a small discount on their postage if they included the element in a mailer. Essentially, an image is scanned with a special app (there are several) that “brings the image to life” in video format on your mobile device. It does require special programming to animate the image, and the recipient of the mail piece must download the app for it to work, so there is extra cost involved. It is, however, nowhere near as expensive as it used to be. There is no increase to print, mail production, or postage with these types of mailers, either. Search “USPS Augmented Reality” in any search engine to see some examples.
#4 Informed Delivery
The USPS is pushing mail service providers to present mailers at “Full Service.” Mailers who fulfill all the requirements for Full Service make the corresponding mailers eligible for another service called Informed Delivery.
Your players can go to the USPS website and sign up for Informed Delivery. It is free for all recipients of USPS mail. On the morning of every delivery day, those who have signed up for the service will get an email with a picture of all the Full-Service mailers that will arrive in their mailboxes that same day. So now they may know in advance when their offers from your casino will be available to them and can be certain to retrieve their mail that day.
There is no budget implication to your property for this service. In fact, there is a discount, be it very small, off your postage for mailers that are entered at Full Service. Check with your mailer to see if they are Full Service capable.
It is the interactive component of these mailers that is representative of the overall trend seen across the marketing landscape of today.
A couple of “make sures” …
- Any content used online must contain responsive design so that it adjusts for desktop or mobile device usage.
- Bite off small projects first and test response before committing to high-cost endeavors.
- Do your research on development time and increased cost, and make sure all is accountable in your budgets so that you may evaluate properly.
- Make it fun for your players and your staff … this is an entertainment industry, after all.
So yes, there is a way to improve on the mouse trap and to improve response from postal mail. Remember, interaction is key.