Rumours are circulating that direct mail is no longer a viable marketing technique…
The rumours are wrong! Direct mail is still a very important tool in your sales toolkit.
People get fewer and fewer letters these days – and most have an online inbox overflowing with junk.
This means that when someone bothers to send you a real letter, personally addressed to you, you are highly likely to take notice.
Direct mail’s average household response rate is 5.1% (compared to 0.6% for email, 0.6% for paid search, and 0.4% for social media!)
We’ve answered a few key questions about how to effectively use direct mail below.
When you take the time to send direct mail to a prospect, they are more likely to take notice
Getting the right data
You want your direct mail to have the maximum impact possible. To do this, you need thorough and accurate data.
If you misspell your recipients name or address them as ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’, the likelihood of an enquiry falls through the floor.
Likewise, your offer needs to be relevant to the recipient. You won’t offer a lawnmower to someone living in a high-rise flat!
Your likelihood of an enquiry or order is affected by these four key areas.
- Data – six times more likely
- Offer – three times more likely
- Timing – two times more likely
- Writing quality – one and a half times more likely
You need to consider all these different areas. Your data needs to be accurate; your offer needs to be great, and your writing needs to be to a very high quality.
Timing is also an important factor – you would have far less success selling a lawnmower in December compared to April. Make sure you get all these areas spot on.
Designing your envelope
Many people feel that direct mail is inappropriate for business mailings. But if your mail is interesting and relevant to the reader, then it isn’t viewed as junk, it is seen as useful!
Companies often hide what the mail is about on the envelope, but there is no advantage in tricking someone into opening your mail.
Your prospect will just be disappointed when they open it.
If your mail is relevant to your reader, there is no harm done by starting the communication on the envelope. This can include:
- Unusual shapes, sizes or materials
You can engage your reader before even opening the mail by doing this.
Remember that there are no fixed rules about envelope design – just make sure that whatever you do is seen as appropriate by your recipient.
Handwritten envelopes have very high open rates, so if you’re targeting a small number of people it is worth considering.
You can engage your reader before they even open the envelope through unique features – such as a quiz
Your crucial mail elements
Your direct mail needs to grab your prospect’s attention and show why they should choose you!
Writing a personalised message relevant to them is a great way of doing this, but you need many techniques to put your powerful message across.
- Lots of ‘you’ copy
- Benefit led – how your reader will benefit
- Easy to follow message and format
- Bold, attention-grabbing headlines
- Clear font – without block capitals!
To keep your letter simple and easy to follow, you need to avoid distracting your reader unnecessarily.
Avoid fancy cut-outs and folds unless these are truly relevant to your message.
Some design ‘innovations’ are so expensive that you won’t recover your investment.
You also make your letter easy to read by using an appropriate font size.
Not everyone has perfect eyesight – make it accessible to all!
Make them act!
By using the above techniques, you use direct mail effectively. But your direct mail only produces results if you give your reader the necessary means for them to act.
You can achieve this by including:
- Order form (if appropriate)
- Reply envelope
- Providing a return address
- Telephone number
- Web landing page
Images are also a crucial supporting piece. Consumers are 75% more likely to enquire about a product if they can see it in action! Images also help to break up the text on your page.
Consumers are 75% more likely to enquire about a product if they can see it in action!
If you choose (and have the budget), you can include supporting pieces in your direct mail. These must reinforce the message of your main mail and demonstrate credibility. This could include:
- Brochure – to include a product demonstration
- Sample (if possible!)
- Client testimonials – including proof of results
- Images of your work in action
Client testimonials are key to demonstrating credibility. Every business thinks they are the best fit for your reader, so show them an independent assessment of your brilliance is an important technique!
Order forms give your recipient no excuse not to place an order. Make the form easy to use – pre-print the name and address if possible and use tick-boxes where you can.
By combining the different features detailed above, your direct mail will be fantastic – and likely to evoke a positive response from your recipient!
Direct mail is one of the most measurable marketing strategies, so you can see what you got for your money.