DirectMail.io is an omnichannel direct marketing technology platform that combines direct mail, Facebook Messenger, inbound and outbound messaging, email, telephony, landing pages, call tracking, and social ads in Facebook and Instagram. With more than 20,000 campaigns, 600 million personalized URLs (PURLS) created, and more than 15 million leads generated, DirectMail.io provides omnichannel marketing capabilities to companies of all sizes.
“We consolidated robust data capabilities, campaign management, reporting and analytics into a beautifully designed builder and dashboard that any user can leverage,” explains DirectMail.io CEO Shawn Burst.
DirectMail.io’s platform also includes inbound and outbound call center services. “One of the things that set us apart from our competition is the robustness of the features that we provide, and equally as good, is the simplicity of the UI, so creating complicated omni-channel campaigns doesn’t require a lot of human resources,” explains DirectMail.io CEO Shawn Burst.
Already a Twilio customer for 12 years, having built a call tracking solution that drives leads into a Twilio-powered interactive voice response (IVR) system, DirectMail.io is continuing to optimize how it enables its customers––now integrating AI. “That's the never ending quest for us, is how do we give the business, client, agency, or end user as much intelligence, so a bigger percentage of those people in the top of the funnel get down to the bottom of the funnel and convert.”
DirectMail.io’s approach to lead generation is based on behavioral science research; Burst describes, “When someone makes a commitment to give you their information and they hit submit, they have made a psychological commitment. So, why just send them to a thank you page? After you generate the lead, you have this great opportunity to gather additional info and put that lead in a specific bucket.” Using outbound and inbound customer surveys, DirectMail.io’s platform sorts and qualifies the leads.
But its approach was limited to using the same set of questions for every customer: “Someone would call in, go to a landing page or respond via SMS for the initial lead capture. Once a lead was generated, we'd ask them just four very static linear questions. And there would be either a yes or no answer, and if they said yes we just would continue with more yes or no questions.”
DirectMail.io wanted to offer a more-customizable survey experience and knew its customers needed more advanced capabilities to reinforce lead generation, powered by AI.
In just one month, CTO Dave Hennigar and Senior Developer Yash Malla built their own intelligent IVR bot, named Salli, with Twilio’s Autopilot call routing.
Autopilot’s speech recognition and natural language understanding (NLU) engine interprets conversations to determine user’s intent and allows DirectMail.io’s customers to select and customize specific tasks for Autopilot to perform based on users’ needs. Out of the box, Autopilot understands dates, names, times, and more.
“Essentially you can build a natural language survey and just click a button and apply that same natural language survey into IVR, SMS, voice, or landing pages,” Burst said.
Salli can answer questions and set appointments in a variety of ways. As a virtual assistant, Salli routes callers to the relevant department, and utilizes speech-to-text technology to produce and save transcripts of voicemails to a contact within a customer’s CRM, and also answers the phones 24/7, eliminating the need to call anyone back.
But before making it generally available, they made sure it would fulfill their customers’ expectations: “We don't ever charge people for anything unless we have a good understanding of the value that it's going to provide, so we gave it away to a few customers at first,” Burst said.
DirectMail.io put Salli to the test with one of its customers, CMR Construction & Roofing, and partnered with Cognitive Contractor, a data analytics company that uses its intelligent, AI-driven technology to optimize sales processes and boost conversion rates, specifically for companies in the contractor industry.
“We were a little skeptical at first when Shawn suggested we remove the Live Call Center, but wow. You just can’t argue with the results. I’m glad we did it,” said Cognitive Contractor CEO Josey Parks.
Using Salli for inbound lead management, DirectMail.io’s customer saw 67 percent of its leads set an appointment during their initial engagement––more than doubling the appointment setting ratio of the live call center.
The benefit of DirectMail.io’s automated lead generation is two-fold: prospective customers begin their customer journey further down the “funnel,” and sales teams get the intelligence and data needed to follow-up more effectively, leading to better outcomes.
With Twilio, DirectMail.io offers new value and differentiated customer experience to its customers. Burst said he is confident the opportunity will only continue to grow as DirectMail.io offers a whole new avenue of possibilities with large and small customers alike.
The flexibility, reliability, and proven performance of Twilio gives DirectMail.io confidence in its solution offering to its customers, Burst said: “We recognize how developer-friendly Twilio is, how robust the tools are, how fast Twilio is innovating, and we feel good about hooking our wagon to Twilio for our front-end feature set.”