Create Direct Mail Alignment for Better Results

The strategy of direct mail alignment with your other marketing channels is crucial for your success. Mixed messages, poor clarity and too many points of view confuse your prospects and customers so they don’t make a purchase. Aligning your messaging across channels is the best strategy to give you better results.

The strategy of direct mail alignment with your other marketing channels is crucial for your success. Mixed messages, poor clarity and too many points of view confuse your prospects and customers so they don’t make a purchase. Aligning your messaging across channels is the best strategy to give you better results.

Good marketing alignment provides:

  • Engagement: People are more engaged with your mail piece when they understand what you are saying. They must be able to easily see what the key benefits are to them and why they matter.
  • Trust: Alignment across your marketing channels provides greater clarity and trust. When people trust you, they buy from you. Since direct mail is considered to be the most trustworthy marketing channel, take advantage of it.
  • Performance: When you align, you are able to meet customer and prospect expectations. This leads to more purchases and better marketing performance.

So how can you come up with aligned messaging? Find the right problem to solve with your product or service for your customers and prospects. You must deliver a value to them and you do that by solving their problems. If you are not sure of how best to articulate your message as solving a problem, talk to some of your current customers. Their feedback can help you articulate better messaging.

With direct mail alignment with other marketing channels, you find that prospects and customers are pulled into the purchase zone. It is a natural occurrence when people are engaged with your company and want to be a part of the experience you have created across marketing channels. Remember that emotion is the key to drive response. How can people get an emotional attachment to your messaging if it is not clear and resonates throughout all of your marketing messaging?

Your customers and prospects need to know that you can provide them with three key things:

  1. Attention: They want to feel as though you think they are special. You can do this with personalization and special offers. Only send relevant marketing to them. I once received a mailer that wanted me to become a member of an organization that I had already been a member of for over 14 years. I felt insulted and not valued. Be sure to send the right offer to the right people.
  2. Competency: They want to feel that you know what you are doing and will provide them with a good product or service. You can help build up their view of you by using testimonials from current customers.
  3. Caring: They want to feel that you care about them as individuals. Give them a little extra love with a bonus offer or gift after they order. Make them want to continue to do business with you.

When your story messaging meets all three points, it resonates more — which leads to increased response. Your marketing strategy should align your messaging effectively. How do you do that? Remember that people love and relate to stories. When you are able to create your messaging in story form, you build authenticity, trust, empathy and engagement — which all lead to purchasing from you. This story can then be used strategically across all of your marketing channels to enhance your results.

This will take planning and time to prefect; however, the results are well worth it. Are you ready to get started?

Should You Use Augmented Reality With Direct Mail?

Direct mail is a very effective marketing channel; however, when you add a mobile element such as augmented reality to it, you have the opportunity to skyrocket your results. I say “opportunity” using augmented reality with direct mail, because you need to use the AR effectively. Just adding AR to your mail piece for the sake of having a mobile component will not help improve your results.

augmented reality with direct mail
Credit: Pixabay by TeroVesalainen

Direct mail is a very effective marketing channel; however, when you add a mobile element such as augmented reality to it, you have the opportunity to skyrocket your results. I say “opportunity” using augmented reality with direct mail, because you need to use the AR effectively. Just adding AR to your mail piece for the sake of having a mobile component will not help improve your results.

There are many factors you need to consider before including AR in your mail pieces:

  1. Define: What are you trying to accomplish by adding AR? Of course you want to boost your ROI. What else?
  2. Customers: How will your customers use this technology? Why would they want to?
  3. What: What will customers get by using AR? Coupons, some fun or some other type of perk?
  4. How: Make sure that you understand how AR works and the best ways to use it.

So what are some of the benefits of using AR in your mail? You can make your pieces come to life so you add another sensory experience. You can provide more content than a mail piece alone can do. You can also track scans, clicks and downloads easily. Don’t forget that it will also provide a “wow” factor, as well as longer engagement with the piece. One last note about AR is that when you provide a fun experience, people will share that with friends and family — so you extend the reach of your campaign.

In order to get the best results, make sure to have easy-to-follow instructions on how the AR works and what people need to do. You also need to provide them with a good incentive to try it. Remember that it does take more work on their part, so convince them why they should. You want to use AR to enhance your customer’s experience with not just your mail piece, but your brand. How can you do that?

Other brands are using augmented reality and creating a fun, engaging experience.

  • Become Part of the Action Tesco and Disney allow children to create worlds where they are in the action with characters from “Frozen.” Imagine how you can use something like this to make your customers and prospects a part of your brand.
  • Calendar Cadbury created a holiday calendar experience where each day people were invited to view their calendar and see fun selfie opportunities, as well as other treats. Think of ways you can get people excited about your brand and sharing it on social media.
  • Shoes Converse uses AR to allow users to virtually try on shoes at home. When they find a pair they like, they can buy it right then. This is very functional and drives sales. How can your prospects and customers try out your product or service through AR?

There are so many things that AR can allow you to do with your direct mail. These three examples are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many creative ways to enhance the experience for your customers and prospects. Remember to use the technology to create an experience that is worth the effort and make sure to tell people in easy steps how to do it. Using an enticing message will help drive people to try it out, too. When you do, you will see a big difference in the interaction with your mail piece, as well as sales.

The power of AR is at your fingertips and can propel your marketing to the next level. Are you ready to get started?

Create Direct Mail Pieces Your Customers Sell For You

Is it really possible to create direct mail pieces that get your customers to sell for you? Yes, it is. This is not easy and must have careful planning, but you can drive customers to sell for you through your direct mail program. It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not. So how can you get your customers started and ready to create direct mail pieces?

Is it really possible to create direct mail pieces that get your customers to sell for you? Yes, it is. This is not easy and must have careful planning, but you can drive customers to sell for you through your direct mail program. It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not. So how can you get your customers started and ready to create direct mail pieces?

  1. Happy Customers – Before you can even consider this type of plan, you need to have happy customers. How can you make happy customers? Make sure you know what they want, deliver it to them, plus a little extra. Your customers love it when you go above and beyond and they want others to experience it, too.
  2. Incentives – In order to drive the selling behavior, you need to add an incentive for customers. You can do this with discounts, giveaways or anything else your customers will find value in.
  3. Method – Make it easy for your customers to sell for you with a “give a friend” coupon cards, a tear-off postcard, a buck slip or any other device you can think of for them to share with friends or neighbors.
  4. Tracking – You need to be able to track who is referring you and who your new customers are. In order to do that, you will need to code your pieces so that, as responses come in, you have the ability to match them back to your data. This will also allow you to see which customers brought you the most sales and which offers resonated the most.
  5. Reward – Once you have the information on your top customer referral sales, you should reward them for all of their hard work. A thank you note and a small gift go a long way toward getting you continued business.

Once you have cycled in a new customer, you then want to make them a part of your selling program so that they can share your services with their friends, neighbors and family. This referral program can really build into a nice revenue stream, as long as you are taking care of people along the way. Happy customers are No. 1 for a reason: without them, this program does not work.

Direct mail is a great channel for this type of program, because it gives real tangible materials to your customers to pass on to people they know. Make sure that you are creating pieces that are worthy of their efforts. Make them interesting and of real value. Add images, color and even texture to draw attention. This type of program should have mail pieces that cost more; remember your overhead is lower because the customer is selling for you. Use those extra funds to make fun and engaging pieces people will not only want to pass on but will respond to when they get them.

Not all direct mail is effective. The more time you take in strategic planning and really focusing on the customer and how you can help them, the better this program will work for you. Are you ready to get started?

Technology Makes Direct Mail Irresistible

With great ROI, marketers continue to use direct mail. However, direct mail marketing that works today is vastly different than five years ago. Take a look at the pieces you are getting in the mail, they are more targeted, personalized and engaging than ever before. Technology has allowed us to increase ROI even more.

With great ROI, marketers continue to use direct mail. However, direct mail marketing that works today is vastly different than five years ago. Take a look at the pieces you are getting in the mail, they are more targeted, personalized and engaging than ever before. Technology has allowed us to increase ROI even more. By adding technology, you can draw attention to your mail piece and create a wow factor.

Here are four ways to use technology in your next direct mail campaign:

1. Sound Chips: You can add sound to your mail pieces! Record any message you want, then when your prospect or customer opens it the sound starts to play. Most people have seen this mechanism with a birthday card. Check out an example below.These are not super expensive and can increase your response rates.

2. Video: You can add video screens to your mailers. When your customer or prospect opens the mailer the screen is right there and it can either launch automatically or when they push a button. Want to see how they work? Check this out. Keep in mind that these are on the more expensive side.

3. Augmented Reality: You can have an image come to life and be manipulated by your prospects and customers with the use of your mail piece and a mobile device with an app. This is a very powerful way to engage them. Many marketers think that this is very hard to do and expensive, but it does not have to be. You can create a great user experience without breaking your budget. Check out this example. How can you create an awesome experience?

4. Data: You have so many options now to enhance your data or just take advantage of the data you already have. Segmenting like people together allows you in send more powerful messaging to the right people. You can profile your current customers to find prospects who are most like them. Then you take your data and create variable data mailers with targeted images, as well as copy and even design if you want to. The power of your data is only limited by you.

Technology doesn’t have to be a big budget item. You first need to plan out what you would like to do, then figure out the costs. Now you are ready to create your marketing campaign plan.You need to think strategically, starting with your goals. Creating direct mail using technology is a great driver of response when used correctly. Your best bet is to consult with your mail service provider; they will be able to help you with postal regulations and other aspects to save you money.

Keep in mind you still need to consider the basic requirements of good direct mail. A good list, an eye-catching design and a strong call to action are a must to drive response. If any of these are lacking, you will not get the response you wanted. Make sure to provide instructions on the mail piece as to how your prospects and customers can use the technology. Don’t forget to provide them with great content to view. If the content is not well designed or planned out then the whole process will be a waste of time. Are you ready to get started?

Political Direct Mail for the Win!

During the 2016 election cycle, there was more political direct mail than ever before. The United States Postal Service and The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) wanted to see how people viewed political mail, so they did a study about direct mail and its impact on voters. There are so many takeaways that can help you create political direct mail to win.

During the 2016 election cycle, there was more political direct mail than ever before. The United States Postal Service and The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) wanted to see how people viewed political mail, so they did a study about direct mail and its impact on voters. There are so many takeaways that can help you create political direct mail to win.

In 2018 we often get asked, does direct mail still work? YES! Here are a few facts about direct mail to show you the power you can harness:

  • People check their mail at the first opportunity, which is nearly every day. You can reach your voters in a timely fashion without being forgotten.
  • 86% of people go through the mail and make sure that nothing of value is being thrown out.
  • 73% of people prefer direct mail over other marketing channels.
  • Mail may be the best way to share new information about you as a candidate or an issue.

Radio and television do not allow you to target your prospects effectively. Your message ends up in front of people who cannot even vote for you. With direct mail, you have access directly to people who are able to vote for you. Take advantage of it! You can segment them into types of voters, propensity to vote and so much more.

When sending direct mail to voters, include important information about the election, such as voting deadlines for absentee ballots. Yes, you can target people who vote absentee with a different message than people who vote at the polls. You can also provide registration deadline information. Of course, include in the mail piece who you are, what you stand for and why people should vote for you. People keep mail that provides important information; get your mailer to stick around longer.

When polled about political mail voters responded with:

  • 82% want to know where the candidate stands on issues
  • 74% want a contrast with an opponent on issues
  • 73% want to know a candidate’s voting record and any past statements made
  • 60% want to see a list of who endorses the candidate.

We suggest that you use large format mailers to grab attention. According to a DMA 2017 response rate report, oversized pieces have been shown to increase response rates by 10.4%, producing the best overall response rate. You need to keep your text concise and easily scanned. Use bold, color and contrast to draw the eye to your important content. The easier you make it for people to quickly understand what you are saying, the better you are able to get your point across. Direct mail is better understood, remembered and acted upon more than digital channels. Add direct mail to your marketing mix to harness the votes you need to win.

Want to increase the time people spend with your mail pieces? Make them interactive. Add elements such as video, augmented reality, die cuts or endless folds to engage people. Video allows you as a candidate to speak directly to each voter about how you stand on issues and how you are different from other candidates. You can add special coatings or textures to really enhance the sensory reach of your mail piece. There are so many fun ways that direct mail can stand out that no other channel can do.

Are you ready to get started on your campaign?

9 Ways to Keep Your Direct Mail Data Up-to-Date

Many times, our data files get old and need a little TLC before we can mail to them. Not only does the post office require you to keep addresses up-to-date, but you don’t want to be wasting money sending pieces that are not going to the intended recipients. There are several options to clean up your data files.

Many times, our direct mail data files get old and need a little TLC before we can mail to them. Not only does the post office require you to keep addresses up-to-date, but you don’t want to be wasting money sending pieces that are not going to the intended recipients. There are several options to clean up your data files.

Methods to clean data:

  1. CASS — The Coding Accuracy Support System is a certification system from the United States Postal Service for address validation. A CASS-certified address validation will standardize your mailing list, update outdated addresses, and verify that addresses are valid and complete.
  2. DPV — The Delivery Point Validation service is a process of verifying that an address is actually deliverable, meaning that mail can be sent to that address. A delivery point is a single mailbox or other place at which mail is delivered. It differs from a street address, in that each address may in fact have several delivery points, such as an apartment or office.
  3. ACS — Address Change Service is a post mailing service that allows mailers to receive change-of-address and other reasons for non-delivery electronically to reduce the number of manual address notifications. This allows you to update your list after an initial mailing and prior to the next one.
  4. NCOA — NCOALink product is a database of approximately 160 million permanent change-of-address records consisting of names and addresses of individuals, families and businesses who have filed a change of address with the Postal Service.
  5. PCOA/ACOA — The Priority Change of Address and Ancillary Change of Address services allow access to more than 60 million address changes reported by sources other than USPS. This allows you additional ways to find consumers who have moved. Changes are contributed by publishers, catalogers, retailers and other institutions, nationwide. It covers a 60-month time period.
  6. Apartment Append — Apartment Append will correct records on your file that have been identified by the DPV process as having either incorrect or missing apartment numbers. After the records are identified, the Apartment Append process updates the missing or incorrect information.
  7. Duplicate Processing — Finding Duplicate records used to be a problem — as they may not match exactly, but still be the same. You can now match accurately even with abbreviations and nicknames to remove real duplicates from your data file.
  8. Deceased Processing — Deceased processing enables you to eliminate deceased individuals from your list. The file contains approximately 40 million records relating to deceased individuals.
  9. Canadian Address Processing — Canadian Address Verification validates, corrects and standardizes Canadian postal addresses.

As you can see, there are many ways to clean your data files before and, in some cases, after you mail. The incentive to do this cleaning is that it can save you money. There is no reason to send mail to people who are not there. In cases where you are mailing presorted standard or nonprofit, you may never know that the post office is throwing the undeliverable pieces away. You can use an endorsement to get those returns, but why not clean your data first then send to only good addresses?

As of January 2018, the USPS changed the method for measuring Move Update compliance to a Census-based approach. The Census Method uses Mail Processing scans to determine compliance. The Census-based assessments will start in April 2018, based on March mailing data. You need to make sure your data is up-to-date, or you will pay the penalty. Are you ready to get started cleaning your data files?

Fueling the Little Engine That Could

In our compulsion to always be in the fast lane, it’s easy to forget that once upon a time, direct mail was our principal medium of marketing communications and not incidentally, made some of its best practitioners millionaires.

direct mail
“Mailboxes in ivy,” Creative Commons license. | Credit: Flickr by Ryan McFarland

Summer Gould’s recent useful article, “How Direct Mail Is Your Little Engine That Could,” is a helpful reminder for those of us who like to believe we are always at the leading edge of technology-driven marketing. In our compulsion to always be in the fast lane, it’s easy to forget that once upon a time, direct mail was our principal medium of marketing communications and not incidentally, made some of its best practitioners millionaires.

That said, it is also worth recognizing that while the little engine can chug along and “snail mail” gives us the opportunity to put varied and interesting messages into the hands of potential consumers, that little engine needs a good deal of fuel and that fuel is increasingly expensive. According to Ms. Gould: “The average prospect needs to see your mail piece seven to 10 times before buying from you. So a well-planned direct mail program includes multiple drops with various mailers and postcards.”

That’s an expensive statement and raises the question: How much fuel do we need to get the little engine up and over the hill to bring us an order? Perhaps Gould is being too pessimistic. Seven to 10 mailings to get a purchase is almost certain to be wildly expensive and not economic unless your product is very, very expensive.

One way of looking at this is to calculate the cost-per-order (CPO) at different response rates and numbers of mailings to reach the desired response. In this case, 44 sales. Using Bizo and Epsilon data, the DMA’s benchmark says that “direct mail achieves a 4.4 percent response rate.” While that is a higher average return than is informed by my experience, let’s go with it, anyway.

Rosenwald chart
Credit: Peter J. Rosenwald

As we can see, direct mail at a 4.4 percent response rate, for every thousand mailed at a total cost of $1,000 per thousand, the marketer would have 44 orders on a single mailing, each costing $22.73. Assuming he could afford to spend 25 percent of his revenue for marketing, he would need at least a $91 or higher product price to justify just a single mailing. Each one thousand mailing would cost the marketer about $1,000. Whether we like it or not, that’s the cost of the little engine’s fuel. And if he had to mail the prospect three times to get the same 44 orders, his order cost would rise to $68.18 which would suggest that his product selling price would have to exceed $250.

On a CPM basis, as we know, email is likely to be only approximately 1/10 as expensive. Email costs are so varied that it is difficult to establish meaningful comparisons, but $10 per thousand emails sent is as good a rule of thumb as any. Using as our baseline industry average open and “clickthrough” rates, we see that to achieve that same 44 sales, converting clickthroughs to sales at 70 percent, it would be necessary to email 10 times. Even so, the total bottom-line cost would be only just under $100.

In this head-to-head comparison, on the basis of pure cost and response, the little engine would have been overwhelmingly beaten by email. The risk:reward ratios certainly favor email.

As we all know, CPO is only one variable. Of high importance is the comparative ease and speed of email, the ability to test quickly and accurately with small quantities and best of all, the ready availability of comprehensive data permitting large quantities to be analyzed and segmented quickly and easily. But as the figures demonstrate, just opting for email because it is much “cheaper per thousand” doesn’t address the key marketing economic issue: How much do we have to pay for an order and can we afford it? Looking at the entire smorgasbord of media from this perspective is essential.

While marketing costs per thousand and response percentages follow more or less predictable patterns, how much any product or service, single sale, continuing sale or subscription can afford to acquire a new customer depends totally on its own economics; how much the marketer is prepared to risk and how soon he expects to get his investment back.

Direct mail may well be the little engine of choice for many good reasons. But before taking a ride on it, it would be prudent to compare its costs and risks to other media.

What Does ‘Why’ Mean to Your Direct Mail?

“Why?” For so many reasons, it’s the best question in marketing. “Why?” gets right down to the main point.

5Ws
Credit: Pixabay

“Why?” For so many reasons, it’s the best question in marketing. “Why?” gets right down to the main point.

If you have children, at some point you have been confronted with the inevitable “why” questions children have such as, “Why is the sky blue?” That curiosity is natural for all of us; but many times when we are busy, we do not take the time to ask many of the whys we should be asking.

Are you asking enough why questions about your direct mail program? Why, you ask? Well, without a clearly defined “why,” there are many things that can go wrong with your mail piece. Let’s look at how “why” can help you create a great mail piece, with fabulous results.

Start planning your mail with seven whys:

  1. Why Do You Want to Send a Mail Piece? There are many marketing channels to choose from, so why mail? A clear and concise plan will make your mail campaign smoother. Does your target audience have more than one way to be reached? Can you combine your mail with other channels to increase your response rates?
  2. Why Have You Selected Your Chosen Format? There are so many to choose from: postcards, letters, self-mailers, flats and parcels. Why did you pick yours? Do the people you plan to target like this type of mailer better? Is it easier to get people to open it? Did you choose a format based on cost? The main point is to make sure you are using the best format for your audience.
  3. Why Have You Selected Your Chosen Images? Will they draw in your audience? Do they help to convey your message? Are they bold or unique enough to make people curious?
  4. Why Have You Chosen Your Messaging? Is it interesting? Does it provide a concise description of your product or service along with the benefits of purchase? Remember, you must convey what is in it for them in order to get them to purchase. Do not list features in your message, stick with benefits.
  5. Why Should People Buy From You and Not Your Competition? Here is your chance to stand out. Tell people the benefits they get by working with you. Make sure to phrase it in a way that talks about them, not you. They don’t care about you; they are in it for themselves.
  6. Why Have You Chosen Your Mail Date? Mail dates are important, so why did you select yours? Does it tie into other marketing channels? Is there a “respond by” date based on the in-home dates? Did you pick a day based on past history?
  7. Why Have You Chosen Your ‘Respond by’ Date? Have you allowed enough time for people to receive them and respond? Have you set the date too far out, so there is no sense of urgency in responding? Be careful to select a date that allows people time to review your offer and look up relevant information to make a decision. The bigger the purchase, the longer the time needed to decide.

All of these questions whittle down to the core of your objectives. Starting with a clearly defined core and building your direct mail campaign from there allows you to create better, more responsive direct mail pieces. Each step in your plan needs to be thoroughly vetted with the “why” process. When you are able to answer all the “whys,” your targeted audience receives a powerfully persuasive mailer that they can’t ignore. There is a great book that goes in-depth on how to find your “why.” Check it out here.. Are you ready to get started?

Creative Direct Mail for 2018

Direct mail has been around for a very long time. If you continue to do the same old pieces you have been mailing in 2017 you will see a drop in your response rates. You must create new, fresh and engaging direct mail pieces to get the results you need. Why should you continue to mail with all of the other channel options?

Bring Direct Mail to Life with Interactive ElementsDirect mail has been around for a very long time. If you continue to do the same old pieces you have been mailing in 2017, you will see a drop in your response rates. You must create new, fresh and engaging direct mail pieces to get the results you need. Why should you continue to mail with all of the other channel options? Here are two stats from the DMA 2017 Fact Book: Direct mail customer response rates increased year-over-year by 43 percent and prospect response rates increased year-over-year by 190 percent.

How can you best leverage these response rates for your 2018 mail campaigns? Know what your audience wants so you send that to them and use the tips below:

Engaging

There are so many creative ideas to get people to engage with your mail pieces. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. So we have a few ideas that have worked really well for others. They do not have to be expensive:

  1. Paper — Look at the paper you are using, consider adding texture with either different stock or adding a coating to it. Using the sense of touch is a great way to draw people in and it can’t be done with digital marketing.
  2. Folds — Have you considered using creative folds? Folding requires interaction; your audience must open the folds. You can have short panels, multiple folds within a mailer and even endless folds, where you just keep unfolding panels with different messaging on each one.
  3. Technology — There are so many different technologies available now to enhance your direct mail pieces. Mobile devices are with us all of the time now, incorporate ways for people to use them with your mail pieces, such as augmented reality or near field communication. You can also add video screens to your mail pieces so they would not need a mobile device to launch your video message.

Eye-catching

Through the use of images, color and creativity, you can grab attention.

  1. Images — Don’t use boring stock images. Find fun images that stick with your brand and messaging, but are out of the ordinary. You want to make people curious and draw them into the copy.
  2. Color — There are so many color options you can really find ones that stand out in the mail box. This is not a time to be boring; grab attention right away.
  3. Creativity — Unique designs work best. Think of mail pieces you have done in the past and spice them up with new creative changes. You can use die cuts, metallic ink and so much more.

Response

For 2018, you need to offer many ways to respond. When you make it easy for people to respond, in the way they prefer, you get more responses.

  1. Phone — Provide a phone number for people to call. If you are able, use a special number to track your responses, if not, give them a response code that they will need to provide when they call in.
  2. Web — Create a special landing page just for this campaign. You can track who has looked at it, as well as who actually filled out the form.
  3. Email — Provide an email address that they can respond to.
  4. Text — Allow people to text to respond by providing a text short code.
  5. Come In — If you have a location, give people the option to come in and see you; provide an address for them to do just that.

Your 2018 direct mail should really pop if you use these tips. Of course this does not address your list and any information you may have on your customers and prospects. You of course need to send the right offers to the right people to get the response rates you want. Taking the time to set goals, get creative and track responses will help you create the best direct mail for 2018. Are you ready to get started? Have you had good success with a fun mail piece? Tell us about it.

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?