Don’t Read if You Like Your Current Direct Mail Campaigns

by Celine Horan

Your grandpa’s marketing campaign of sending out flyers and letters, is just that: grandpa’s strategy. It’s old, slow, and just doesn’t appeal to people the way it used to. Nowadays people are “pushing their envelopes” with new strategies- ones that work in the present.

Prospects spend literally three seconds when they first pick up an envelope to decide whether it’s worth their time to open it. Therefore, direct marketers believe it’s best to push their best features but this does not always work successfully.

The envelope has one role and one role only; to carry the items it contains within it to the person to whom the envelope is addressed. That’s it. The resulting fact has forced copywriters to dream up inventive ways to tease, and entice prospects to open the envelope, and read the sales copy within.

Facing that same dilemma, one company decided to conduct a number of B to B and B to C envelope tests, to discover which pulled in the better result. Envelopes with teaser copy and offers on the outside or envelopes with nothing but the stamp and return address on the back.

This is what they found:

If someone gets their mail and doesn’t know what’s inside, they think it’s a legitimately earned offer just for them. This is especially true if it comes from a company that they’ve had experience with and feel they may be entitled to receiving something from. Keeping the surprise intact is also akin to a bad horror movie: sometimes if you can’t see the monster in the previews, you want to go just for those three seconds when you can think smugly from the back row, “I didn’t even have to close my eyes!”

There are some fantastic lessons to be learned here, namely…

Straightforward is the greatest

Advertisements are meant to come “in” an envelope, not “on” an envelope. Keep all those fabulous deals to yourself until the recipient has actually opened up your mail. You wouldn’t give a ride to a hitch hiker holding a knife, and no one’s going to open mail that’s already stabbing them in the eyes with neon colors and prices in large fonts.

Build a relationship

If the mail is addressed to an anonymous addressee, then the “recipient” won’t feel that it’s even meant for them. Find out the name and title of the people you’re sending offers to and find out if they’re the sort of people who even want to receive them. Just as it doesn’t make sense to waste your own time on someone who’ll shred your offer in an instant, it doesn’t make sense to waste time to shove it in their mail box.

Add a personal touch

The best impression is to handwrite a person’s name on the front. It creates a personal touch and gives your company a head’s over the others.

Include a logo on the front of the envelope

If you’re marketing to a list that knows you very well, and is, as far as you know, very happy with your service. Then put your logo on the front top left hand corner of your envelope or discreetly on the back flap. Then, they’re more likely to open your envelope because, like the company in the example, they could be missing out on something great, and want to read about it before making the decision to disregard it.

Finally, don’t be scared of a trial run

Make sure to test the envelope to be certain that it works. Have the right combination to make your marketing campaign succeed.

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