Top 5 Reasons People Don’t Trust Your Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is considered the most trustworthy marketing by recipients, so why wouldn’t they trust your direct mail? There are actually many of reasons for this. We will focus on the top five reasons, as they are the most common.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 9.27.28 AMDirect mail marketing is considered the most trustworthy marketing by recipients, so why wouldn’t they trust your direct mail? There are actually many of reasons for this. We will focus on the top five reasons, as they are the most common.

1. Superficial/Unbelievable Content

People don’t want to be misled. It makes them very angry. Your message is your brand promise — it cannot be vague or open to interpretation. This also includes over promising — bait and switch tactics are very bad.

How To Fix It: People buy from companies they believe. Be direct and specific with your headlines, calls to action and copy. Be realistic with your statements and promises. Authentic and direct messaging is the best way to build trust. Do what you say and say what you do. Under promise and over deliver is your best bet.

2. Too Busy

You have included too much information for them to process. It’s too hard to figure out what they need to do. It gives them a headache just to look at it. It appears that you are trying to throw information at them and may be hiding something in all that copy they don’t want to read, so they throw it away.

How To Fix it: Use less copy with bullet points for a quick scan. Be specific in your call to action on what you want them to do and why they should do it. Use fewer images and make sure that they work with not only your branding, but also with the copy and tone of your message. Clear and compelling messaging is necessary to make the right impression. You only have a few seconds before you end up in the trash.

3. Dated

When was the last time you updated your design? If you have been sending direct mail for years, many times the control piece ends up being the same as it was in 1995. That’s not good. The impression you give with an outdated look isn’t nostalgic — it’s suspicious. This can be especially true of letters. Don’t be an old school form letter. You will end up in the trash.

How To Fit It: Check your copy for out of date wording. Does it flow like 2016 language or do you need to change it? Look at your competition. How does your direct mail compare to theirs? Make sure you have relevant information — these days information gets old quickly.

Turducken With a Side of Trust

Turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s the most traditional, trusted meal of the year. What could convince me to entrust this sacred meal to a little-known direct marketer’s website? Here’s the story of Dr. Strangebird: How Cajun Grocer got me to stop worrying and trust the turducken.

Turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s the most traditional, trusted meal of the year. What could convince me to entrust this sacred meal to a little-known direct marketer’s website? Here’s the story of Dr. Strangebird: How Cajun Grocer got me to stop worrying and trust the turducken.

It was no small feet to get me to do it. Our first chance to host the family Thanksgiving came in 2011. My mom and her brother had swapped hosting the holiday for my entire life. This was the first time my mom tapped out and asked my wife and me to host.

It was a big deal. I’m not someone who plays things too traditional, so my first thought was “Ooh! We can get one of those turduckens John Madden is always talking about!”

Hold on, that’s not John Madden talking about turducken. This is John Madden talking about Turducken. (The fact that I can find roughly 2 million videos of Frank Caliendo making fun of John Madden, and not one of the nationally televised event he’s spoofing, tells you half of what you need to know about the Internet.)

So a turducken is a deboned chicken, stuffed inside a deboned duck, stuffed inside a deboned turkey, and there’s Cajun cornbread and sausage stuffing between all those layers. It’s like a big, delicious, flavor-filled meat roll.

Turducken: It's Like Meat Inception.
Or like “Meat Inception,” if you prefer.

When I tried to find a turducken, I was out of luck — I had no idea where to get one of those in Levittown (we live in the one outside Philadelphia). Then I looked online, and there was this site, Cajun Grocer, that promised to sell me an authentic Cajun turducken, shipped up from Louisiana in a Styrofoam box packed with dry ice. …

I don’t know how that plan would sound to you hosting your first big family Thanksgiving, but you could say I was skeptical.

SkepticalDog
My online shopping mascot.

So what did Cajun Grocer do to convince me to trust them with our Thanksgiving?

1.They Dealt Openly With the Questions
This is classic catalog-style direct marketing. Cajun Grocer clearly realizes that trust is one of its biggest hurdles. It’s a niche company operating via direct order, and the website isn’t exactly the height of sophistication (although it’s a lot better today than it was in 2011). They need to convince visitors that the company is both honest and competent enough to get the order there by Thanksgiving, still frozen.

So Cajun Grocer spends a lot of space on its website describing who they are, how they handle your turducken, shipping methods, EXACTLY when you should order to get it by Thanksgiving, and more. The dedicated Turducken landing page is essentially a point-by-point take down of your buying objections.

2. Social and Media Proof
There are no less than 10 seals on the Cajun Grocer homepage showing me it’s a website I can trust. They have a graphic and link for an article where their turducken was voted best overall value in The Wallstreet Journal.

Cajun Grocer's Turducken Featured Image
It’s even got a blue ribbon!

They also have a video segment from Good Morning America about ordering your Thanksgiving turkey online. Not only does the video include the Cajun Grocer turducken being shown on good Morning America, but the guest specifically says that, yes, you can buy a turducken online and it will be delicious.

In addition, Cajun Grocer links to over 4,000 Bizrate reviews on Google, the vast majority of which give it five stars. That’s a good way to show me they’re not stuffing their own review box.

3. Content Proves Competence
Interestingly, Cajun Grocer does not try to convince me it’s a mom and pop chasing their life-long dreams. There’s no owner shown on the site. And you know, if that’s not part of your DNA, I appreciate not pretending it is. There’s nothing wrong with just being a good merchant and showing me you care about your products and service. Professionalism earns trust too.

But Cajun Grocer still provides a lot of content to show they know Cajun cooking. There are recipes, the 1-888-Crawfish helpline, and special sections for a lot of well-known Cajun dishes (at least well-known to a Yankee like me). And beyond that, they have a blog from Marcelle Bienvenu, “The Queen of Cajun Cooking” exploring more Cajun recipes.

You come away from the website convinced of two things: This is a real Louisiana Cajun food shop, and they know exactly how to get you a turkey/duck/chicken thing by Thanksgiving.

And I have trusted them to do that twice now. The first time was culinary fireworks. The second turducken is thawing now to be the star of our meal tomorrow.

The Turducken has Landed
The turducken has landed! Perfectly frozen and in time for Thanksgiving.

Creating Trust in a Digital World

When asked what advertising sources they trust most, 84 percent of consumers say “someone I know,” and 68 percent say “consumer opinions posted online,” according to a recent study by Nielsen.

When asked what advertising sources they trust most, 84 percent of consumers say “someone I know,” and 68 percent say “consumer opinions posted online,” according to a recent study by Nielsen.

While it’s understandable we turn first to trusted friends for advice and product recommendations, it is somewhat revealing that so many of us trust people we’ve never met, and likely never will. Just someone somewhere posting an opinion online.

Trust is an innate part of our psychological wiring, consciously and unconsciously.

Societies have always thrived when people trust each other in love and in business. This trust has often been based upon our unconscious ability to read another’s body language and our own intuitive ability to discern character when in the same physical setting, or so claims recent research done by Northeastern University.

But in a society that is increasingly becoming digitized, with fewer face-to-face interactions, what role does trust play in driving our behavior, purchases and loyalty? Especially when that trust is breached constantly by apps and brands that really sell us down the river when it comes to privacy, as our data is sold to hundreds of unknown third parties?

Social psychologist Mario Mikulincer, professor and dean of the New School of Psychology at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzlyia, has studied the elements of human trust and how different expectations of human interactions form our ability to trust. People who are raised in settings that foster belief in others to do the right thing tend to base trust on three primary components, per Mikiulincer’s research as posted on PsychologyToday.com March 2014. These are:

  • The assumption that if you need help, you can turn to someone you trust.
  • The assumption that if you need support, your trusted friends will be there for you and happy to help.
  • The recognition that support from those close to you will give you comfort and relief.

To engage consumers’ psychological drivers that influence purchase behavior and loyalty, these basic premises of trust need to be present between brands and consumers. Like the people in our world, we expect brands to help us when we need them, support our relationship with them, and make things right when they go wrong. Even in our highly digitized world, consumers still believe they form better relationships with brands and business associates in the real vs. virtual world, per a 2012 study by Dimensional Research. However, with around 200 million consumers researching or shopping online, brands must find a way to build trust at every step of an online shopping experience, not just with friendly salespeople in a brick and mortar store.

Steven Woods, a name many might remember as a founding partner of Eloqua, a software system designed to help marketers understand consumers’ digital body language, has remained steadfast in his vision to bring trust and emotional connections to the digital world. Since selling Eloqua to Oracle, he and partner, Paul Teshima, have started a new business called Nudge, which is a platform designed to help people actually leverage their massive digital networks of connections and engage in trusting ways that have actual benefits. Their tool helps people nudge each other to create dialogue, stay current, make recommendations and professional introductions — all of which help produce meaningful outcomes.

“Without trust, even the best business proposals are set up to fail,” says Woods. “Trust, which is built up over time, allows a buyer to believe that a seller will deliver the change that is promised. Today, that trust is more important than marketing, selling or product capabilities, in most cases.”

Per Woods, without a foundation of trust, our social networks are futile and do little more than make us look popular. Nudge has developed a framework whereby users can build essential trust and have productive relationships with all their social networks, be it Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter. Steps toward digital trust include:

  • Connect
  • Assist
  • Remember
  • Engage
  • Socialize

These are the same steps that helped spark one of the biggest social movements of all time – the civil rights movement, started when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white person. The day she was arrested, civil rights activists got on the phone to connect with her immediate network of friends from church, her sewing club and more. They asked that first tier of friends to assist with a bus boycott by calling their friends and asking them to do the same. Most did, in hopes that the friend for whom they did the favor would remember them when they needed help or support. As a result, an entire network of friends and associates with like values were engaged in a meaningful cause that had significant social outcomes for all involved.

However, without the elements of trust present as outlined by Mikiulincer above, these processes that changed our world in Montgomery, Ala., might not have happened, or at least not so quickly.

As a brand manager, how can you create a framework of trust for your digital networks, and then what kind of marketing activities can you execute to nudge that network into action that drives sales, loyalty and trusted referrals.

1. Be Real: Connecting is much more than a digital link on a social site that lets you access personal information. It is about real time and real purpose. Use your customer connections to communicate meaningful information beyond your products to build trust as a partner that cares about greater outcomes for your customers than their sales value to you.

2. Assist With Life, Not Just Sales: Consumers connect with others to help friends and peers have a better life and trust that their actions will be reciprocated. Same with brands. When you can provide even small improvements to a customer’s life through added values or unexpected customer service, you build trust that can pay off big.

3. Remember: A friend of mine stayed at the same small, boutique ski lodge in Vail for 25 consecutive years. The lodge owner failed to recognize her loyalty and remember her in any way. At breakfast on their last trip, he refused to let my friend substitute a can of soda for her free breakfast coffee — while at the same time, giving away free food and drinks to his “friends” who he did bother to remember. I am now helping my friend find a new ski lodge for her annual trip, worth thousands every ski season.

Remembering is also a key part of Woods’ vision for Nudge. “Remembering what someone liked, disliked and talked about is key to building trust. Most people in our business lives come and go quickly, and often unnoticed. Feeling noticed and remembered creates a new level of trust of its own.”

As trite as articles, presentations and other content on consumer trust have become, it is mission-critical for any business. Without it, you simply can’t successfully trigger the psychological drivers that generate sales and loyalty. Our unconscious minds simply won’t let us engage fully with anything that doesn’t feel or seem right. We need to know we can trust brands as much as we can trust family members. When we unconsciously feel good about a brand because we have learned to consciously trust it, we are much more likely to engage in purchasing behavior and to give trusted recommendations to the 84 percent of our friends who listen to us first and who will, in turn, forward our recommendations to their friends, and so on and so on.

Blogging for Sales Leads: The No. 1 Reason Your Blog Isn’t Getting It Done

I used to believe in blogging authentically, transparently, telling good stories and being a thought leader, but these ideas consistently failed to generate leads for me. That’s because I was missing the one, essential piece that content marketing and blogging gurus don’t even know about: Use a blog to create confidence in the buyer—not me, my brand or my business.

I used to believe in blogging authentically, transparently, telling good stories and being a thought leader, but these ideas consistently failed to generate leads for me. That’s because I was missing the one, essential piece that content marketing and blogging gurus don’t even know about: Use a blog to create confidence in the buyer—not me, my brand or my business.

Today’s most successful B-to-B sellers are using blogs to do one thing really well: prove they’re worth investing in before customers pay a dime. They’re giving customers a few results and letting them experience what success feels like.

Blog to Help Prospects Believe in ThemselvesNot in You
The blogging gurus love to tell us to build trust with prospects using social media. Yet they never mention the best way to build enough trust to close a sale. (probably because they’ve never actually closed a sale)

I’m talking about helping a buyer get so confident in themselves—so sure that buying will give them everything they want—they can’t help themselves. They buy because they cannot argue against not buying anymore! (and of their own free will, of course)

Enter social media and all the bogus short-cuts we’ve been told will create trust. Telling stories, being honest, showing customers our “human side.” These things might help you foster trust but only if you apply them to help prospects get more confident in themselves.

Give Prospects Results In AdvanceNo Excuses
What’s the connection between convincing a prospect to buy through your blog and giving them overwhelming confidence? How do you execute this idea without wasting time? You create a process that manufactures “mini-successes” for prospects—in advance of their purchase.

This is the practical, tried-and-true strategy at the center of every blog that creates leads.

Start blogging in ways that prove your product or service is worth investing in. Start giving prospects a free taste of success before they purchase.

Help them do something that they really need to do, learn or accomplish. This gives them partial satisfaction (in themselves) and creates hunger for more. Not hunger for your product or service.

Hunger for more satisfaction in themselves.

Give It Away—All of It
If this sounds like a free trial you’re right but let’s say you’re selling a complex product or service. You’ll need to go further—convince prospects to buy based on what you’ve actually done for them lately.

I’m describing a situation where buying what you sell isn’t a point of consideration; it’s a logical next step for your prospect to take. Purchasing becomes part of the journey your prospect is already on.

By doing meaningful things for people that actually move the needle (solve a problem, teach a skill, etc.) prospects build a sense of achievement. Even if it’s a small one potential customers build trust in you based on this sense.

They begin to trust in your ability to deliver the FULL result if they were to actually buy from you.

Make sure your blog articles, video tutorials, white papers, ebooks and such are:

  1. Taking prospects on a journey toward (or away from) what it is you sell and
  2. creating confidence along the way by solving problems and/or teaching them new skills.

Lots of Examples…
This strategy is at the heart of thriving companies like HubSpot. I, myself, apply the technique to generate leads for a social media sales training program. Sure, money back guarantees help us close, so do customer testimonials. But nothing works better than giving away my best knowledge and helping prospects begin to experience actual success.

Nothing creates trust like having a material impact on your prospects’ lives before they buy. Nothing. Because it proves you’re able to create success for them and willing to prove it up front.

Again, all you’re really doing is building prospects’ confidence in themselves that they cannot argue with.

Look at every one of the social media sales success stories I’ve documented on this blog, in the magazine or on my other blog. Each of these B-to-B social selling success stories are finding a way to give out samples of results in advance.

Every successful B-to-B social seller I’ve found ever (and I do this full time!) is helping prospects get confident in themselves as buyers—before they’re doing anything else.

Let’s be honest. Can you really afford to not blog in ways that give prospects miniature versions of what it is you’re so darn good at? Especially when your competitors probably are—or are thinking of it?