The Formula for a Great Direct Response Mailer
Direct response mail has been around since the invention of mail. Whether your using email as the medium or a traditionally printed post card or flyer; the principals of a direct response mailer are the same. Learn how to put it all together by reading the rest of this blog post.
Direct Response Mailer: Understand it’s a Formula
A great marketing piece is 80% the right formula and 20% the rest, including design, etc. I see clients spending so much time and effort on the creative, which isn’t unimportant, but they completely miss the boat on what’s really important in a direct mail piece. Stop watching “Mad Men”! It’s not all about the “brilliant idea”. Marketers have tested (scientifically) what works and what doesn’t. All kinds of different designs and changes have been tested over and over and there is a clear formula for what works. This is not a mystery. Here is what is scientifically tested to increase response rates and therefore the success of your mailing campaign.
#1: The list
Having a great list of targeted prospects is by far the best indicator of success of your mailing campaign. For example, if you sell a product to dentists, and you have a clean an accurate list of dentists in your area, your going to get a way better response rate than sending your mailing campaign to a list of all businesses in your local area.
#2: The Offer
The offer is of critical importance. It is in fact the second most important piece of the puzzle. The offer must be relevant to the “the list”, which is number one. So in the example above, if you’re selling dental tools to dentists, you’re offer could be “buy two sets, get on free”, or “buy the set and get free lifetime replacement warranty”. It’s amazing how many marketing pieces I see without a call to action.
#3 The Call to Action
The call to action is critical and works with the offer. In our example above, you could make the offer “buy two sets, get one free” then a call to action of “Fill out the form on our website to redeem this special offer”, or “Call this toll free number with offer code 9995 to receive this exclusive deal”. You can even spice it up a bit by saying, “This offer expires in 30 days so act fast, we can’t keep giving these away at this price forever”.
#4 The Creative
Not unimportant, but the creative really doesn’t have a huge influence on the success of a direct mail or email marketing campaign. Let me qualify that and state there is a minimum level of competence in presentation required. Some tips about the creative:
- If you include a picture, make it a picture of the product or service in use. Don’t put a picture of a guy bending over backwards with the slogan “we bend over backwards for our clients” Even better, a before and after photo that clearly demonstrates the benefits of your product or service.
- Do include some benefits, but keep them relevant to how the client will benefit.
- Write in the third person. For example instead of saying “We’ve been in business for 20 years”, you could write, “serving clients like you for 20 years”
- Sell the offer not your product/service! In the example above sell the benefits of a free set of dental tools, not how great the dental tools are.
- Don’t write about you and your company! The client doesn’t care. I know you really want the client to know how great you are an how hard you worked to build your business, but the client really only cares about one thing. What’s in it for them. Focus on that, and you’ll have a great response rate.
- Less is more. The time a person scans an email a web page or a direct mail piece is measured in fractions of a second. No one is going to read a 500 word essay on the history of your business. Have big short headings, draw attention to the offer and the call to action.
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