Implementing an effective direct mail campaign is not as easy as it might seem. It involves content creation, graphic design, audience targeting, and an understanding of human behavior. Unless you do it for a living, it is neither the quickest or simplest task you will undertake. And if you don’t have boundless faith and trust in your creative writing skills, it’s very difficult to make a connection with your audience. But layering direct mail to your marketing plan is well worth consideration, as it is one of the more effective marketing. But it takes budget, time, patience, skill and testing.
If you have ever tried direct mail at your own hand and didn’t get the results you expected, you know what I mean. If you are interested in discovering some of the top tactics to drafting successful direct mail pieces like a pro, then read on.
Before even considering what you hope to create, make sure of the following:
- The products and/or services you are sharing information on is not only fully understood, but you hold a high degree of certainty about your knowledge of both its strengths and the weaknesses. There is a feature story about practically every successful product ever made, and you must know it deeply. Additionally, if you are not passionate about your product/service, it may be a wasted effort- a lack of passion will carry into your writing. Find the right team to conduct the exercise. If the task is approached with positive energy and enthusiasm, the direct mail piece stands a much, much better chance at success.
- The target customer base should deeply reflect your ideal customer. Customer personas are critically important to your success in every direct mail endeavor. Possessing an indisputable respect and love of your customers can go a long way toward a winning mail piece.
- Think about some of your best customers and make notes on their love and respect for your offering, and obtain short testimonials from them. Make sure you get the customer’s permission to use them in your advertising, however. Chances are they will be delighted you have thought of them, and you’ll get insights as to their real perspective of your product, service or company.
- Have a crystal-clear understanding and awareness of your competition. What makes your product or service superior to everything else on the market? What is your products overt benefit? Make a list of the positive and negative aspects of your competition’s product/service, and compare it to your own before you embark on any marketing campaign.
- Jot as many notes about everything as you perform your “warm up exercise”. They will come in handy in drafting your piece.
The preceding work you have now completed will form the foundation for your direct mail piece. With the notes and ideas that were generated from the above, you should be armed with great material to construct a dynamic piece. As new ideas emerge, include them where appropriate.
If you have chosen to write your own copy, collect winning sales pieces that fit the style and format that appeals to you and your group. It wouldn’t make sense using a manufacturing style if you are preparing copy for a food item. You get the idea, within the bounds that make the most sense to a general audience. You might also consider how you will “speak to your audience”. Will it be a humorous, personal storytelling approach, or impersonal, corporate, or serious? A word of caution: whatever you select, make it consistent. Too serious or too much humor will diminish your success, so finding the correct balance is imperative.
Direct Mail and Going Forward
Done correctly, your ideas and notes should make you excited to move from the gathering and foundation of the task, and provide that spark that ignites your creativity, and that of your team. Take the “one bit at a time” position, and drill deep into each step:
- Exactly who is to receive the piece? Have you defined the need? Should they know about the product already, or will you have to explain your product’s benefits? What is the motivation for them to purchase your offering? If this is a new-to-market purchase item, find the key elements that make it the perfect thing to buy.
- Enumerate the specific reasons why your product/service is unique, that it addresses the customer’s pain points. What makes the offering superior to anything else on the market already?
- What is the purpose of your message? How will the purchase of your product benefit the customer? Is it a dream-come-true solution? If there is nothing else on the market, tell them that so they fully understand how it will help them.
- What’s the rationale behind sending a direct mail piece in the first place? Is it a “special price reduction”, or is it a “bonus included with purchase”? Your Call-to-Action should be clear and create a sense of urgency in some form or fashion. Is it a limited supply, is there a time elapse, or Act Now to Be Included? What do you want the recipient of the piece to do?
- Will they have to wait for the product to arrive, or is it a ready to ship item? If you want them to purchase immediately, give them the ability to do so with a toll-free number, landing page on your website, email or both, and add a special incentive to cause them to act on the spur of the moment.
- If your piece speaks directly to the audience and shows you care about them and their problem which you can solve, there stands a good chance to gain a great response. Even better is to reassure your audience that you are trustworthy, and that you will deliver on your promise. But your job is not finished yet.
Test, Test, Test
It’s often referred to as A/B Testing, but its name isn’t important. What is important to your direct mail piece (and your budget) is its effectiveness. If you have a large mailing list, taking random sample names and sending two versions of your direct mail piece should identify which variation should get a better response.
Test the envelope style, test the copy, try different colors, and so forth. The larger the list, the better testing can be performed.
If the list is small, you may be forced to limit or reduce the parameters of the test. Regardless, testing the piece’s conversion rates is insightful and necessary and will provide valuable information for future, similar campaigns.
Don’t Deny Your Pipeline
Don’t deny your business. Don’t limit your opportunity for a full sales pipeline. When executed at a high level, and done with some thought toward creativity and science, direct mail can provide targeting, robust results. and terrific measure-ability. The best marketing plans are diverse and will take into account tactics that are suited to fit the audience you are looking to speak to. Direct mail is an ideal compliment to many of today’s “trending” marketing techniques and in many ways surpasses them.