3 Reasons Why Direct Mail Works

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1. Involvement

Direct mail brings unique advantages. Most people check their mail box daily for bills, Birthday cards, special offers from their favorite companies. They look forward to getting their mail.

Unlike most electronic communications, mail gives the added benefit of touch and feel as well as packaging that includes coins, magnetized cards for their refrigerator or other surprises that encourage investigation. Interesting folds and other direct mail involvement add interest to its contents. These are proven involvement techniques that increase response.

Personalization such as name, most recent purchase and other relevant recipient characteristics enhance readership to provide unparalleled response when used assiduously.

The long form nature of the classic direct mail package that includes a personal letter, product brochure and separate response device allow the advertiser to tell the whole story. Effective copy and design encourage scanning, so the prospect quickly understands the message purpose and call to action. Many readers go first to the response form that skillfully sells the selling proposition and prompts the response action. Most readers will make a decision within seconds whether they are interested in the offer or not.

The graphic of the letter above illustrates the most important elements that are scanned by readers. Benefit headlines and body copy need great copywriting skills to create the product need and the advertiser’s solution in a one-to-one communication setting.

The writer must anticipate the most common potential respondents’ objections and address them in the copy.

Direct response mail must create urgency to the offer with time limits, limited stock and other methods to overcome human inertia. It’s not enough to create demand for the service or product. Inaction by putting the mailing aside to deal with later dramatically reduces response. Everything must be done to encourage the the reader to take immediate action.

2. Targetability

Let’s expand on the power of personalization that targets the recipient where it counts.

Personalization data available on compiled prospect lists is extensive. Name, professional title, salutation title, address, type of home, age of home, home ownership, income, cars owned or leased, and so on represent only a few of the hundreds of data points available for each name. For business file selections, SIC codes, number of employees, corporate office addresses, key executives by name and title, annual sales, other location information challenge the advertisers’ knowledge of their target markets.

As for house files, many advertisers fail to use purchase history and other product demand clues that would greatly improve their response rates through list segementation and mention in the copy. Clients often overlook the value and importance of their lead names to the point of not saving such names for follow up mailings.

The two most valuable segments to acquire new business will not come from prospect or rentals names, but from house databases.

For example, what is more relevant to a painting company than mailing to past customers who painted their house 5 to 7 years ago indicating it’s time to repaint. Or what about a tutoring company who assessed a family’s children who would benefit from hiring a tutor to improve their academic success but did not buy several months ago? Such names are farmore responsive than any rented files.

Personalization says to the prospect that the advertiser’s product is relevant to their needs based on previous purchases or inquiries. Such relevant direct mail will continue to succeed when the direct mail is properly targeted and personalized.

3. Builds awareness and response simultaneously

Direct mail reigns when it comes to credibility when compared to other outbound lead generation and new customer acquisition channels. Planned direct mail copy and targeting not only creates awareness, but sales the product at the same time.

Reinforce direct mail’s natural market penetration with credibility techniques. Reduce risk by offering a strong guarantee and thoughtful testimonials from previous customers.

Think through the entire selling process by creating a landing page that promotes the offer, pre-fills the recipient’s information and summarizes the benefits contained in the direct mail package. Use pURLs that populate the page with customer information making the response process easy and immediate.

PURLs track all responses in real time through the advertisers’ browser. The call-ins contain a unique 800 number that improves the accuracy of the tracking. And any mail-in response forms are coded in the lettershop back to the mail piece that generated the response. This assures proper channel attribution.

Avoid any stop-actions in the copy. Do not direct people to your website, a YouTube video or social media article in the mailing. In fact, the landing page should not link to the advertiser’s website or encourage anything that will interrupt the response action. It’s OK to list the address and website in the standard locations because 60% will visit the company’s website anyway. Remain focused in the copy to take advantage of that initial impulse to respond.

On a concluding note, take advantage of the power of email when mailing to customers (not prospects). Send an announcement email to prepare the recipient immediately before they receive your mailing and then a follow up email a few days after they receive the mailing. Such omnichannel integration increases response.