Monday, March 16, 2009

Bella Pictures: Direct Mail in Nurture Marketing

The marketing team at Bella Pictures is one of the most interesting and innovative groups I've had the pleasure to work with. I ended up adding two Bella case studies to Digital Body Language because of the interesting work they were doing. In the first of those case studies I'll share here on this blog, Teresa Almaraz and her team used direct mail - post cards - as part of a drip nurture campaign. Usually reserved for bulk, outbound, large list campaigns, direct mail worked extremely well as part of a nurturing campaign timed around the bride's wedding date.

By taking advantage of the fact that print on demand providers were able to deliver direct mail in an on-demand way, Teresa and the team at Bella were able to use the media type in an unexpected way, with great effect. I hope you enjoy the case study:

Bella Pictures: Direct Mail in Nurture Marketing

As the premier provider of wedding photography in the United States, Bella Pictures deals with a very defined prospect audience: recently engaged brides-to-be. The sales cycle itself involves an equally well-structured timeframe as anyone who has been involved with the planning of a wedding can attest. To maximize its success, Bella guides brides through photography selection using a carefully crafted nurture program that starts with the first contact with the bride.

One of the key conversion points for brides-to-be was the initial meeting with a photographer to discuss her photographic preferences. In the hectic process of planning a wedding, a meeting with a photographer could easily be forgotten, or the bride could show up without having thought through the questions she would be asked, such as the type of photography, styles, album choices, and special shots to request.

To resolve this challenge in the process, Bella Pictures turned to direct mail. A postcard was sent to each bride, targeted to arrive just days before her scheduled meeting date. The direct-mail piece served three purposes. First, it reminded the bride of her upcoming meeting, with her meeting. Second, it presents a tangible, high-quality piece to the bride to impress on the bride the aspects of photographic quality that are likely to be important. And third, the direct-mail piece provided a checklist for the bride to work from, ensuring that she had considered all the key photography decisions she would have to make.

In a sequence timed around the bride’s wedding date, the nurture process guides the bride through the timelines and decisions needed. By orienting its marketing process around the bride and her decision process, Bella significantly lifts its conversion rate from initial contact to booked appointments. Even with direct mail, which is typically not viewed as a drip/nurture marketing vehicle, Bella aligns with the bride’s buying process.
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
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