Rapid and continuous change in the use of email and social media to drive marketing success has affected consumer advertising and direct mail as tools to acquire customers and build brand loyalty. However, direct mail advertising can be effective as part of a company's overall marketing campaign. Whether you've used direct mail in the past, or you want to learn more about it, read these simple tips to find the straightest path to direct mail marketing success.
Offer a Solution vs. a Product
The best way to attract new customers is to show your product or service as a solution to the customer's issue or that meets an identified or even unidentified need. For example, suppose you’re marketing time-management software to a sales executive who works 16 hours a day. Rather than telling the prospective customer how the software works or how many features it has in laborious detail, focus on how the software can free up an extra 45 minutes a day. That message would certainly resonate more with a customer who is pressed for time.
One of the biggest challenges of direct-mail marketing is customer engagement: How do you get the customer to pay attention to what you have to say? Although postcards and self-mailers put your direct-mail message front-and-center immediately, these quick-reads are often just as quickly discarded as junk mail. At the same time, envelopes create a barrier that the customer must want to cross.
It’s human nature to be curious. Whether you’re mailing postcards or No.10 envelopes with three pages of ad copy inside, one key to customer engagement is to pique the reader’s interest immediately. Consider putting a “teaser” in the form of a question on your envelopes, or if your mailing list is small, address them by hand for a personal touch. If you’re mailing postcards, make sure they feature at least one full-color photograph that grabs customers' attention and encourages them to read more.
Feature a Prominent Call to Action
Try putting your main call to action at the top of the page, so the customer doesn't have to read the entire message if he or she chooses not to. Highlight the message with bold font, underlining or a colored banner, then weave “soft” calls to action into your ad copy in a natural way. Give the customer several ways to respond to your direct mail campaign. Include your toll-free phone number, website URL and email addresses along with a postage-paid envelope. Add a post-script at the end of the message that ties back to the call to action to reinforce your message and increase the potential for response.
Choose Fonts Wisely
How can you attract customers with more than just words? Fonts represent your company’s image and brand. An elegant script, such as Vivaldi or Euphoria, for example, conveys a far different message than the hefty, substantial Goudy Stout. Nonetheless, your most important goal in direct mail advertising is to convey a message quickly and effectively, so readability is key.
In general, serif fonts, such as Times New Roman and Georgia, are the easiest to read in small print or long passages of text, whereas sans-serif fonts, including Helvetica and Trebuchet, work best in short passages, sidebars and headings. Mix them up, but don’t use more than two or three fonts per mailing; your message is likely to get lost when too many fonts are used.
Create a Sense of Urgency
If you are running a price special, let people know that the sale is a “Limited Time Offer”. Be sure to include the expiration date of the offer and other language for clarity. Feature the savings in dollars and cents rather than percentages. Offering $25 off every $100 purchase is more effective at motivating customers than a 25 percent discount.
Direct mail marketing is part science and part art, but creating a beautiful, readable and compelling piece of advertising is the first step in any successful campaign. These steps can help to create the kind of marketing message your customers will want to read.
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