Direct Mail: Getting the Most
Direct mail campaigns are a great way to reach customers – they are an economical, tried-and-true method. But too many marketers look at the strong performance history of direct mail and decide to throw money at a directionless campaign – and then wonder why they’re not getting the same return on their investment. Direct mail has such a long history precisely because it provides a strong ROI, but that doesn’t mean we can take a mailer campaign lightly or without the proper planning in place.
Today we’ll look at four ways to ensure that you’re getting the most juice out of your direct mail squeeze – from initial planning through delivered product. In descending order of importance, the four most important direct mail factors are: repetition, ease, pitch, and design. When all four factors are deliberate and optimized, it is easy to capitalize on a well-performing direct mail advertising campaign.
Here’s a quick though experiment: close your eyes and think of the first TV commercial that comes to mind. How many times have you seen it? Unless it is crazy memorable, there’s a good chance you have seen it dozens of times. Why is that the case? While the advertisers may be cheap, the main reason to repeat an advertisement is that it works. Each time a consumer sees the ad, the message is reinforced.
The same applies to direct mail. While I’m not advocating sending dozens of direct mailers to potential customers, there is a huge value in sending multiple pieces. The first time a consumer is exposed to your brand, you’re lucky if they read your business name before sending the ad into the trash. But on the second and third times, you might start to pique their interest.
Repeated mailings also have the benefit of being cheaper (if you’re buying a mailing list). The one-time cost of a mailing list isn’t significantly lower than paying for 2, 3, or unlimited uses – so if you are already investing in a list, go the whole way and get multiple uses out of it.
The bottom line: reaching consumers multiple times will increase your brand exposure, response rate, and ROI.
Direct mail advertisements have one big hurdle to overcome – they require the recipient to take action. Your message needs to be compelling and clear enough to entice consumers into calling or going online to visit your website. That isn’t easy as people are busy and even if they are interested, it is too easy to procrastinate or forget.
Because of this, it is vital that the call-to-action (CTA) on your direct mailer is crystal clear. If you’re asking people to call – make the number big and bold. If you’re looking for website visits – feature your URL prominently. When it comes to advertising, people need (and want) to be told what to do. That might go against our polite nature, but if you want people to call, your copy should read something like: ‘Call us today at 555-5555.’
The bottom line: Figure out what you want people to do, and ask them to do it. Direct mail is not the time to be coy or clever – just stick to the facts.
Real estate is limited on a postcard – but so is the consumer’s attention span. There is no time to present a long-winded explanation of your service, features, and benefits. Instead, you get a few lines to give your pitch and an enticing CTA – that’s it. Going shorter always seems easy, until you actually try it. Condensing your whole sales pitch down to a headline, three bullet-points, and a CTA is an incredible difficult task; but essential to a successful direct mailer.
When it is time to trim your sales pitch, what should you keep and what should you cut? For a direct mailer, your best bet is to focus on how you can benefit the consumer. Can you save them money? Save time? Provide better service? Remember, you need the consumer to take action, so you must show them why you are worth their time – and do it fast. Boil your sales pitch down to its most basic form, distill out the benefits, and feature those.
The bottom line: You need to convince consumers to take action in with not much more copy than you can fit in a tweet. A laser-focused sales pitch is key to direct mail success.
Our graphic design team might hate me for this, but design isn’t the most important element of a direct mailer. If we’re talking magazine, billboard, or television advertising – then design plays an out-sized role. But with direct mailers, design takes a backseat to the three factors above. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for ugly postcards and mailers; but the design is just there to help deliver the message – not be the message. Too often, a flashy design comes at the expense of clarity or conciseness.
It might turn your process on its head, but with direct mail it is best to develop the copy and work the design around that – rather than the other way around. And because many graphic designers value difficult and elaborate design, it can be hard for them to see the value in stripped-down designs. This means that your design team needs to clearly understand the importance of simple and clear design when it comes to direct mail advertising.
The bottom line: The role of design is to support the message – not distract from it. When in doubt, go simple.
Direct Mail for You
Direct mail is a great way to reach consumers – especially if you have a marketing team that understands how to maximize your ROI. Fusion Group USA has the tools and experience to ensure that you get every ounce of value out of your next direct mail advertising campaign. So contact us today and we’ll talk about just how we can use the power of direct mail to jump-start your business!