Direct Mail: Us vs. Them

So many times, poorly executed direct mail campaigns come down to how we wanted to send it vs. how recipients wanted to receive it. This can and should be avoided. Direct mail is not a one size fits all. Let me repeat that, direct mail is not a one-size-fits-all!

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 11.10.18 AMSo many times, poorly executed direct mail campaigns come down to how we wanted to send it vs. how recipients wanted to receive it. This can and should be avoided. Just because we went to a seminar on the latest direct mail trends that taught us all the things we need to be doing doesn’t mean that they will go over well with our audience. Direct mail is not a one size fits all. Let me repeat that, direct mail is not a one-size-fits-all!

In order to get a good response from your direct mail, you need to know what your recipients want. Yes, this means that you will have several different messages, offers, designs, etc. in your campaign. That’s a good thing. This can seem a bit daunting, when faced with several segments, to figure out what to do for each one. However, if you take this one step at a time it’s really not that difficult.

3 Step Plan:

1. Who

Who are the people you want to send your direct mail to? What are their preferences? What have they bought from you in the past or what have they shown an interest in?

2. What

Based on the above information, what offer will they most likely respond to?

3. How

Based on both who and what above, how can you design a direct mail piece that will allow you to be consistent with your brand and drop in the variable information for the offer and message?

For your direct mail to work, it needs to be all about them (recipients) not us (senders). Yes, we create the pieces, but they aren’t meant to be shoved down someone’s throat — they are meant to entice them to purchase. Keep in mind that sending a direct mail piece that has multiple offers on it so that you can send the same piece to your entire list is a bad idea. Here are a few tips on how to be more “them” than “us”:

Offer — Limit the number of offers on your direct mail piece. If you are targeting correctly, you only need one offer. The more choices you offer, the harder it is for the recipient to make a decision and, therefore, they will choose nothing.

Images — Use eye catching images that enhance your message. People like to look at images. These can be variable based on the recipient.

Simple — Keep your copy simple. Use a bullet list of key points. The copy should be about what is in it for them.

Tell — You need to tell the recipient what to do. How can they respond?

Expectations — Set expectations for the recipients — What will they get when they respond? How soon should they expect it?

Direct mail should court recipient attention and drive response. In order to do that, you need to see your product or service from their perspective. Why do they need it? What is so great? When your mail piece is well targeted and your message resonates, it’s desired direct mail. When you create mail pieces that aren’t about them and aren’t targeted, you create junk mail and it will be tossed into the trash. Have you received mail pieces recently that were poorly thought out, not something you would want or need? What could they have done to make the pieces more about you?

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: eyecomm.org, email: summer.gould@eyecomm.org, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @sumgould.

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