Maps are a pretty common element in direct mail. Whether it’s an insurance agent looking for leads, or a retail brick-and-mortar store trying to create traffic, maps can provide a lot of information quickly to a customer. But the effectiveness of those maps — how well they do their jobs — varies widely based on the mail I see every day.
As the director and archivist of Who’s Mailing What!, I keep folders of mail and email details that aren’t part of our website. These are subjective things you can’t measure or quantify, or find in a database search, like great envelope teasers, best practice order forms, or emails using effective testimonials. You get the idea.
Based on what I found in my map folder, here are three tips on what to do — and what to improve upon — in creating direct mail that can drive customers to the front door of any business.
1. Make the Maps Clear
As an important supporting element in a direct mail package, a map should make it as easy as possible for a prospect to find you and do business with you. This overcomes a common objection – “I don’t know how to find you” – as your mail gets read, and, then, is acted upon, saved, or tossed into the recycling bin.
This 6”x11” postcard was mailed by Inova, a healthcare system based in Northern Virginia. Covering its entire front, the well-rendered, readable street map pinpoints the urgent care facility’s location, as well as those of nearby landmarks like parks and shopping centers. Alongside a photo of the center, the street address — perfect for finding on a GPS device — is also provided.
In sharp contrast, below is a map from a mailer for a Kia dealership. Measuring a measly 1-1/2”x1-1/2” on a 5-1/2”x8-1/2” panel, important details like street names and route numbers are blurry and nearly impossible to read.
2. Make the Maps Relevant
Providers of medical services, such as hospitals and care centers, are big users of maps in direct mail, and probably the best at it. In promoting these vital services, it isn’t enough to list the location of the nearest facility, it has to be shown on a map. New movers are a particularly good target market for this kind of mail.
Comcast promoted a new XFINITY store with a self-mailer that included a large map on the inside. It’s positioned near the center of one panel, across from copy and images that promote the wide array of products and services demonstrated and offered there. There’s also an incentive offered for a visit: a “free gift”.
3. Make the Maps Personal
Why use a generic map when customized variable mapping can make the journey personal? Leveraging personal data, like an address, on a visual, printed mailpiece is a powerful service offered by a number of providers. Without getting creepy, it grabs the customer’s attention by showing his or her home’s location in relation to the business being promoted by the mailer.
Here’s a good example, from Patient First, a chain of urgent and ready care centers.
Above the indicia on this 5-3/4”x11” postcard, there’s a unique map that shows the recipient’s location (the “You are here” designation), the new Patient First Center, and the driving route between them. It’s readable and bigger than what you’ll see in almost any direct mail package, measuring 2-3/4″ x 4-3/4.”
At the same time, there’s still plenty of real estate on the left to include messaging, like letting the addressee know that they’re only “8 minutes away” from the new center. Bullet points list the center’s hours and the medical services it offers. And the call to action also pushes a gift: a first aid kit.
When you think of all the kinds of businesses that would love traffic driven to their doors — retail, insurance, financial institutions, automotive, museums and zoos, travel offices, restaurants — the power of the individualized map becomes even more apparent. And adding other relevant overlays — based on previous purchases, or gender, for example — can increase ROI even further.