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Variable Data Printing

By 26 April 2022No Comments
variable data printing

What is Variable Data Printing: 7 Innovative Ways To Personalize Your Direct Mail Using VDP

Companies often struggle with printing personalized or customized print pieces for their prospective and existing customers. Individually customizing direct mail for each recipient can take hours, days, and even weeks of work.

variable data printing

But there is a simple solution to this problem, and that solution is Variable Data Printing. With the right set of tools, you can use VDP for optimizing your direct mail process. It has the potential to optimize your direct mail communication and create successful direct mail campaigns for your business.

But, before you can use VDP to the full extent, you need to understand how to do variable data printing. You need to know the process behind VDP and the best direct mail formats you can use for it. Finally, we also present you with innovative ways to personalize your mailers with VDP.

What is Variable Data Printing?

Variable Data Printing or VDP is an advanced digital printing process that lets you create personalized direct mail for your business. On-demand printing is often a part of the VDP process. VDP makes complex direct mail campaigns easy to run for companies.

One of the best things about VDP is that the elements of the print piece can change from one printed piece to another. It means you can personalize details in your mailers, such as:

  • Customer Name
  • Address
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Graphics 
  • Images

Manually printing and mailing personalized mailers, such as postcards, brochures, flyers, etc., takes hours and hours of work. With Variable Data Printing, you can print customized mailers in bulk without unnecessary stops or delays. You can use an automated print and mail solution for implementing VDP.

Automated print and mail services like PostGrid enable you to use a basic layout and variable print elements. For example, you can connect PostGrid to your CRM for printing mailers with customers’ unique names and addresses.

What is the Process Behind Variable Data Printing?

Variable Data Printing uses computer databases and digital print devices with highly-efficient software solutions like PostGrid. As a result, businesses can easily pull and print dynamic or variable data, such as names, addresses, headlines, graphics, etc.

Placing Variable Print Elements In Your Mailers

Generally, one or multiple dynamic elements are placed inside a static mail template. The complexities of customization of a mailer can also vary. Most businesses only need to personalize the mailers with the name and address of the audience.

Retailers can send invitations to their audience when they open a new store. Here, Variable Data Printing can use a personalized map of the new store and even provide the best driving route. Print and mail tools like PostGrid can help you with its advanced geocoding feature.

Bulk Mail Printing and Delivery

Most businesses employ VDP for direct mail marketing, and communication is the bulk printing process. You can print and mail hundreds or thousands of personalized print pieces using direct mail software like PostGrid.

Variable Data Printing Examples For Bulk Mailing

  • Retailers can use Variable Data Printing for sending invoices to customers
  • Financial service providers can use VDP for sending adverse action letters, collection letters, etc.
  • Realtors can use VDP for sending postcards with pictures of listed properties in the area
  • Insurance providers can send monthly billing statements to their customers via VDP
  • Healthcare providers can use VDP to print and mail patients billing statements and lab reports

7 Innovative Ways To Personalize Your Direct Mail With Variable Data Printing

There is no question that the best thing about using Variable Data Printing services is the ability to personalize your direct mail. But, personalization without an aim can hardly do anything good for your marketing campaigns. Hence, we have prepared a list of innovative personalization ideas to make your mailer more effective and gain the upper hand over your competitors.

1. Add The Recipient’s Name To The Headline

Personalization does not always have to be something flashy. You don’t need to go out of your way to make your mailer look unique. Sometimes, even the most basic personalization using Variable Data Printing can significantly affect the recipient.

When the target audience sees their name printed on the headline, it quickly catches their attention. It encourages them to read the full mailer. The name on the headline is a simple personalization that boosts the response rate, especially when using Variable Data Printing services. 

However, that does not mean you have to limit your personalization with the headline alone. To better connect with your target audience, consider using the customer’s name a few times within the body. The repeated use of their names makes your mailer seem more personal and less robotic.

2. Add Relevant Details On The Envelope 

When it comes to envelopes, most businesses follow a minimalist personalization approach. They use Variable Data Printing services to print the name and address of the recipient on the envelope. However, such an approach rarely works out the way you want it and generally has a low response rate.

Using Variable Data Printing, you can customize the copy and images you want on the envelope. Some of the ideas you can print on the direct mail envelope include the following:

  • Discount offers
  • Urgent deadlines
  • Attractive teasers
  • Images of the product

You can even save some ink for printing by using window envelopes for your business communications. Addressing the reply card inside the envelope and placing it beneath the window enables you to use the same address for delivery and response.

3. Use Personalized Images

As we all know, the visual aspect of direct mail is crucial in its success. Using the right image on your direct mail can create a lasting impression on the recipient. Personalized images can decide whether the recipient will read the rest of your message or not.

It is also worth noting that the human brain can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Hence, even with Variable Data Printing, businesses must never underestimate the significance of choosing the perfect image for their direct mail.

Match The Image With The Audience’s Expectations

Ensuring that you have the right image on your mailer is asking yourself if the graphic you picked matches the audience’s expectations. For example, an on-demand plumbing service provider can have pictures of pools on their mailer for households that have pools. Even such minor details can have a noticeable impact on the recipient and your marketing efforts.

Use A Localized Marketing Approach

Another advantage of employing Variable Data Printing services is that it promotes localization. Remember when we talked about printing personalized maps for your prospective customers? It is a perfect example of how you can use Variable Data Printing for localizing your direct mail. 

Get Creative With How You Present The Images

With images, you always have the freedom to get more creative as long as you can yield the desired results. Try presenting your photos in a new light that appeals to your prospects and customers. Use graphic elements to print the name on your mailers. For example, you can use matchsticks arranged to form the recipient’s name instead of using straight lines.

4. Personalize Direct Mail Based On Previous Interactions

One of the best strategies to personalize your direct mail using Variable Data Printing is based on previous interactions with the customer. Such an approach can be especially fruitful for subscription-type products or services.  

Schedule Automatic Printing And Mailing  

Advanced Variable Data Printing services like PostGrid even let you schedule when you want to print and mail your mailers. So, you can quickly implement such interactions using a fully automated print and mail tool like PostGrid. 

Recommend Products/Services Based On Past Orders

Recommending products and services based on your past interaction with the customer is also a great way to engage with them. You can use Variable Data Printing services for printing mailers with the relevant product or service. It is an effective way for businesses to upsell and cross-sell using an offline communication channel.

Personalize Direct Mail Based On Buying Behavior 

There is no better way to understand the target’s requirements than analyzing their buying behavior. Go through a customer’s previous purchases or try finding which product they are currently using. You can use this data to pitch the target with the most relevant product/service. Using Variable Data Printing, you can create direct mail materials featuring the ideal product for your target audience. 

5. Personalize Direct Mail Based On Gender

We may be living in a gender fluidic world now, but the hard fact remains that gender stereotypes exist for a reason. Most women and men view products differently, and companies can use this difference in taste for marketing purposes.

You can use Variable Data Printing companies for printing two or more types of direct mail based on the target’s gender. Hence, you can create marketing mailers with the same product but make it more appealing to a specific gender you want to target.

Never Assume The Prospect’s Gender

However, that does not mean that you can go ahead and assign/assume a gender to the target. One of the most common mistakes businesses make is assuming the gender of the customer based on their name. You must avoid that mistake at all costs. It is not mandatory to categorize your contacts to the onerous gender options. But the least you can do is address a female target as a man or vice versa.

6. Stealth Variable Data Personalization

Stealth variable data personalization may sound like a mouthful, but it is a simple concept. In this case, Variable Data Printing services use mailing lists that target potential customers in specific areas. The personalization here is broader in the sense that it does not target individuals.

Instead, it focuses on a specific target market that is effectively a type of personalization. For example, a babyproofing company can target households with babies and toddlers within a particular area or ZIP code. Similarly, supermarket stores can target the same demographics with offers of baby products like toys, diapers, etc.

Make A Personal Connection

Direct mail is more likely to get a positive response from the customer than most digital alternatives. The feasible and nostalgic nature of tearing open a postal mail is enough to strike an emotional chord. 

With additional personalization using Variable Data Printing, you can form a personal connection with the prospects. You can use any data you can access, including the target’s job title and even the type of car they drive. 

7. Use A Fully Automated Print And Mail Solution

One of the best ways to optimize your direct mail communication is by implementing an automated process. Advanced print and mail solutions like PostGrid offer full automation capability for direct mail communication. Full automation means there is little to no need for manual intervention.

By getting rid of manual processes, Variable Data Printing effectively enables your business to avoid unnecessary errors. As a result, you get significantly lower return rates for your mailers. In other words, you need a fully automated print and mail solution like PostGrid to optimize your direct mail communication.  

Easily Send Personalized Bulk Mail

Bulk mailing becomes significantly more manageable when using automated systems like PostGrid for Variable Data Printing. You can connect your CRM with PostGrid’s print and mail solution to print personalized direct mail for your business.  

Optimize Your Print and Mail Operations

A fully automated print and mail solution enable you to bypass all manual and error-prone processes. As the margin of error goes down, your direct mail return rate reduces, and deliverability increases. Hence, Variable Data Printing services like PostGrid lessen the wastage of materials and save you more money on unnecessary postage.

What Are The Best Formats For Variable Data Printing?

As we have already mentioned a couple of times, VDP or Variable Data Printing works best with direct mail formats. You can quickly customize your direct mail with VDP software like PostGrid. Some of the most effective direct mail formats you can use for your business are as follows:

  • Postcards
  • Coupons And Special Offers
  • Brochures And Flyers
  • Folded Self-Mailers
  • Thank-You Cards/Letters
  • Enveloped Letters

You can customize every aspect of your direct mail, including the headlines, subheadings, images, CTAs, and even your offer. In short, you can use Variable Data Printing to customize any aspect of direct mail if it can set apart one prospect from another. 


Postcards are arguably the best direct mail for marketing your product/service. It is relatively easy and less expensive to print and deliver postcards. As you know, postcards are generally small, and hence, they require less paper and ink.

Another benefit of using postcards for your company’s marketing and communication is their ability to house images. You can add pictures, graphs, and statistical diagrams to your postcards using Variable Data Printing services to convey your message better.

For example, real estate direct mail often uses high-quality images of listed properties to get a higher audience response. PostGrid for real estate provides specialized direct mail services explicitly created to attract, engage, and convert real estate businesses.

Coupons And Special Offers 

Coupons and special offers are the best way to boost the response rate of your direct mail campaigns. Adding a coupon or special offer to your direct mail adds value to your mailer. Your mailer is not just another junk mail with zero value anymore. The audience can use it to get something of realizable value.

Variable Data Printing services enable you to add a discount coupon or special offer to any direct mail format. You can even add a QR code of PURL to the mailer for accessing the discount offer on your website. Hence, discount coupons and special offers can also help you boost traffic to your website.

Brochures And Flyers

Brochures and flyers are excellent for businesses that want to introduce their new products, services, or offers to a large target audience. You can even use PostGrid advanced address verification API and its geocoding feature to target your prospects better.

Features like geocoding enable you to identify geographic patterns based on your target audience and pitch personalized offers. Hence, Variable Data Printing can work best with additional features like geocoding.

Are you having trouble picking between brochures and flyers for your direct mail campaign? Our blog,

Folded Self-Mailers

The folded self-mailers are arguably the most eye-catching among direct mail. As the name suggests, it is created by folding a single piece of paper and sealing the edges. In a way, it combines certain features of postcards and letters

Variable Data Printing services can help you print and deliver visually attractive, personalized self-mailers. It is ideal for businesses that want more space than a postcard but does not have enough budget for printing letters.

Thank You Cards/Letters

Thank you cards or thank you letters can significantly boost brand loyalty among your target audience. Many businesses tend to ignore their customers after a successful conversion. However, that is one of the worst mistakes any company can make.

You can use Variable Data Printing companies to print personalized thank you cards or letters to new customers. It shows that your company values its customers and their business. Furthermore, it helps you establish your brand and create a positive image. 

Enveloped Letters

Enveloped letters are a great way to communicate with existing and potential customers. Letters with envelopes are comparatively more expensive than other mailers like postcards and brochures. However, letters with envelopes look much more professional and offer more privacy.

Variable Data Printing can help you ensure that the recipient has some clue about its content. You can try branding your envelope with your company logo or its colors. Similarly, you can also hint at what’s inside the envelope. For example, use “Open to get 50% off on furniture” to pique the recipient’s curiosity.


Variable Data Printing is the most effective way for businesses to print and deliver letters, postcards, invoices, brochures, and more to their customers. It saves valuable human hours and optimizes many aspects of print communication for your business.

However, to get the full potential of Variable Data Printing, you need to have an advanced automated solution like PostGrid. Specialized tools like PostGrid lets you automate every aspect of your direct mail process. While most VDP solutions only take care of printing personalized direct mail, PostGrid lets you personalize, print, and deliver your direct mail.

Furthermore, companies can use PostGrid’s address verification API and geocoding features to target their prospects better. Hence, any business that wants to optimize its direct mail process must use an automated direct mail solution like PostGrid.

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