We are often asked how to increase the response of direct mail. Today we are going to help answer that question.
1. Keep it Clean! Your mailing list that is. According to U.S. Census data, 12.5% of Americans (about 37.1 million) changed
addresses in 2009. Keeping an accurate database reflecting these frequent changes is an important part of getting results. Fortunately we can do a lot of this work for you. Using the U.S. Post Office’s National Change of Address database we can verify and make and necessary corrections for you. List cleaning requires constant maintenance, but the work is worth it. Knowing your advertisement is being delivered to the correct person gives you one less thing to have to worry about.
2. Keep it Simple! I took a class on advertising writing technique once. Although Dr. Gilmer was extremely entertaining, I have to admit I don’t remember much. I do remember learning about billboards – relay your message in no more than seven words, there isn’t enough time to read and process more than that, plus it looks cluttered – he said. That bit stuck with me; to this day when I ride shotgun I try to count the words on the billboards! What’s the point of this you’re asking, aren’t we talking about direct mail? Well yes, the design of your direct mail should be similar. Don’t clutter the piece. Be bold and direct. Think about how much space you have and what you are trying to communicate; you don’t have to tell them everything about yourself at once. Say you are a photographer and you’re using a postcard to get people to schedule family photos. Focus on just that. Show one maybe two photos of families on the front. Then put your information on the back. Don’t show them how great you are at senior pictures, birthdays, infants etc. Save that for another mailing.
3. Personalize It! It’s called “direct mail” for a reason. You get to directly address your target. Unlike other venues of advertising which are created to attract attention from a mass audience, the audience size of direct mail is one. It doesn’t matter if you have 50 or 50,000 people on your mailing list, your piece needs to grab the notice of each person as an individual. How do you do that? It’s actually easier than you probably thought – use their name! Whether you already have it from a membership list, a prospect list, or you purchased it you have it; use that to your advantage. Who doesn’t like to see their name in print!
4. Create Action! Let them know what is you expect from them. Now that you’ve found them and gotten their attention, talk to them. Tell them what you can offer, how you can benefit them. This is your chance to interact with them one-on-one. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, but at the same time don’t, as my mother used to say, speak just to hear your own voice. We know your message is important to you, make sure it’s important to them as well. Have a clear and concise call to action that allows them to quickly and effectively know what you’re selling and how they can get it.