Direct mail is easy…yeah, right. In my experience, people often think that marketing and specifically direct mail marketing is easy. Just send people a postcard (or a letter) full of great information about your company/product/service and people will be responding in droves. For the inexperienced marketers out there who have tried this approach and failed miserably…you understand.
Coming from a market research background, I too was under the impression that direct mail was easy. After a year of doing it with lack luster success, I knew different. Here are some quick tips that might help you on your direct mail campaign:
- Postcards vs. Letters: When to Use What—Many people think postcards are better than letters at getting a response. I am here to tell you differently. When in doubt…use a letter. Letters can be used for anything, but are most effective when you are introducing a product/service and/or when you have a complicated topic/message. Postcards should be focused on reminders (save the date), events, and general branding. Boxes with letters and other things (samples) in them are also very effective; but they should be used more for higher value prospects. That’s because the return on your investment will stink if you spend too much on the delivery method for low value targets. A “no brainer” yes, but I have seen it happen.
- Benefits vs. Features in Copy—When writing the copy (messages) for letters and postcards, focus more on benefits to the prospect rather than the features of the product/service (or the greatness of your company). Here’s an example of the difference—Feature: Payment Plan, Benefit—Cash flow assistance.
- The Value of the Johnson Box—While the name is weird, this area of the letter can be one of your best friends. The Johnson Box is located in the top right hand corner of your letter. It is usually directly to the right of the mailing information for your prospect. This is the “hook” area. You use this area to get people interested in reading further. I have had the most success in having the copy in the Johnson Box be a question; though it doesn’t have to be. Remember to focus on the benefits to the prospect and the copy in the Johnson Box has to be aligned with what you are going to tell them in the letter.
- The Value of a “P.S.” Line—Interestingly, having the offer and whatever you want people to remember about your letter will most likely to be read if it is in the P.S. line at the bottom. This line is one of the most read components of any letter.
So remember, direct mail marketing isn’t easy—but it can be very effective. The key is making sure that you have the right delivery method for your message; be it a letter, postcard or FedEx box.