Creating a personalized customer experience with variable data
Once you’ve mastered setting up your basic mail file, you can expand the mail file to personalize any marketing campaign.
What does this look like? The possibilities are endless! Some ways to personalize using variable data include:
• Using the customer’s NAME in other parts of document (not just the address). This may be in a form letter, or as formatted text in a call to action.
• Add promo codes based on purchase history
• Suggest upcoming maintenance based on past service dates.
• Add a QR code linked to your website to make the subscription process easier.
And just like that, you’ve taken a standard customer interaction to a personalized experience.
In addition to the address information
found in the basic mail file, your UPGRADED MAIL FILE may include many more headers.
These will vary greatly depending on
your business and the types of data you have on
record for you customers.
Automotive shops may have data relating to specific of a their customers’ vehicles:
MAKE | MODEL | LAST OIL CHANGE | TYPE OF OIL | BRAND OF TIRES | INSPECTION DATES | SERVICE LOCATION
Bakeries, Cafes, and Restaurants may have customer information about:
BIRTH DATES | FREQUENT PURCHASES | CATERING HISTORY | REWARD POINTS
Retail Stores may have date about customer purchases:
RECENT PURCHASES | DEPARTMENT SHOPPED
Newspapers & Magazines may have information about their readers:
SUBSCRIPTION RATE | PUBLICATIONS | GIFT STATUS | SUBSCRIPTION END DATES
Veterinary Offices may have records on their human and animal clients:
# OF PETS | PET NAME | SPECIES | BREED | HEALTH CONCERNS | DATE OF RECENT CHECK UP | REGULAR MEDICATIONS | VACCINATION STATUS | OFFICE LOCATION
Making It Happen
The biggest difference between jobs that use variable data for addressing and those that use it for an enhanced customer experience is how you send files for print.
When VD is used for addressing only, you’ll only send 2 files:
a basic mail file and a PDF (with a blank address block placed in the proper location).
If you have bigger marketing goals in mind, you’ll send a minimum of 3 files, possibly more depending on your project:
- An expanded mail file (with a many fields of data as are needed)
- A PACKAGED artwork fold that includes raw design files, associated images, and all fonts used.
- An annotated PDF sample of a completed piece
Depending on what design program you use, file packaging procedures may differ. Adobe InDesign is the most frequent choice of design software by our clients, so our tutorial focuses on the steps found that would be used for Adobe. If you are using a different design software and need help packaging your files, send us a message and we’ll work through it together.
If you’ve created your file in Adobe InDesign, make sure to save before continuing.
Next go to FILE > Package
Click the PACKAGE button.
If there are any fonts in the FONTS section of the packaging dialog box that have a status as “Private Use Only” and you are using them on marketing material, it means you are stealing them and you are liable for any legal recourse. (Pro tip from a non-attorney: pick a different font or buy a license to use the font commercial purposes.)
The newly generated folder should contain a copy of your design file, a file of all fonts used, and a copy of all images used.
Still need to learn about the basic mail file? Check out
Intro to Variable Data: Setting Up Your Mail File
Ready to level up your marketing skills? Check out
Become a Marketing Master: Run Multiple Campaigns Simultaneous