Is Your Direct Mail Misunderstood?

Are your direct mail pieces engaging with your audience or are you talking over the audience? Do you use lingo that only people in the industry understand?

Are your direct mail pieces engaging with your audience or are you talking over the audience? Do you use lingo that only people in the industry understand?

Acronyms can quickly get you into trouble when people do not know them; especially in the age of texting, your acronym may be misinterpreted. What is obvious to you will not necessarily be obvious to them. This is a big problem if your audience is confused; the chances of you getting your important message across are significantly decreased. Basically, you have turned your direct mail piece into trash.

For the best results, create direct mail that is clear and concise. You have just a few seconds to be understood and engage them to read more rather than toss your mail piece in the trash.

So how can you be sure you are creating the best message?

  1. What Is Your Goal? Do you need to sell so many widgets or get so many phone calls? Clearly define your goal and how you will track results before you start writing.
  2. Write a List About Your Customers: What is their biggest problem? Who are they? What makes them happy? What makes them mad? Again, you need to be specific about them in order to create an actionable persona.
  3. Pick One Main Message: You should theme your entire message around one key idea. It needs to be easy to grasp quickly and be relevant to your audience.
  4. Benefit: Get specific on ONE benefit that they are in desperate need of. Consult your list about your customers to find which benefit will work best. The benefit sells your product or service, not features.
  5. Guarantee: Offer them some type of guarantee to alleviate any buying concerns. This shows buyer that you stand behind your product or service, because it really is the best and they should buy it.

We strongly suggest that you test message versions with different groups of your list. In order to test correctly, you will need to group like people together to get the right message. A benefit that works well for one group may be a dud for another. So take your time in creating the groups and which messages should go to which group. Make sure you can track your responses to see which ones are working best. You can make changes to the ones that had less traction.

Okay. Now you are ready to put it all together and write your messaging. Most of the time, there is still fluff in the message after the first couple of drafts. Go back though everything and eliminate any word that is not necessary. No extra words and no acronyms should be in your final copy. Make sure to have someone outside of your organization read your final copy. You need to see if they understand what you are saying, in the way you meant them to. Usually there is a need for a few more edits.

Your direct mail piece to should be easy to understand, targeted to the right people and with a clear call to action. Never use acronyms on your mail piece, they are too easily misunderstood. Remove long explanations and fluff from your message. You can provide links on the mail piece for them to look up more information if they want to, but most people prefer concise, straight-to-the-point benefits that make them want to buy. Are you ready to get started?

Author: Summer Gould

A blog about Direct Mail Marketing, tips, tricks and what not to do.Summer Gould is President of Eye/Comm Inc. Summer has spent her 27 year career helping clients achieve better marketing results. She has served as a panel speaker for the Association of Marketing Service Providers conferences. She is active in several industry organizations and she is a board member for Printing Industries Association San Diego, as well as a board member for Mailing Systems Management Association of San Diego. You can find her at Eye/Comm Inc’s website:, email:, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @sumgould.

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