How to Create Fabulous Direct Mail for Women

Does your direct mail resonate with women? Women are powerful in the marketplace. Targeting your direct mail for women correctly is the best way to increase your response rates.

Does your direct mail resonate with women? Women are powerful in the marketplace. Targeting your direct mail for women correctly is the best way to increase your response rates.

Women control more than 80% of all the discretionary income in the U.S. Are you successfully reaching them? The way men and women react to messaging is very different, so the same mail piece will not work well for both.

Luckily with variable data printing, you can target images and copy to each differently within the same mailing to better target the right message to the right person. So, how should you target women to generate the best response?

Top 13 things to consider when sending direct mail to women:

  1. Emotion Women process all incoming information with emotion. If your mail piece has no emotional component, it will be ignored. Facts and statistics are not remembered, emotion is. Take full advantage of this and make your messaging tap into emotion.
  2. Multitasking Women are multi-taskers; so while looking at your mail piece, they are also doing other things. Make sure that the images and messages you use celebrate her multi-tasking ability and how you can make her life easier.
  3. Big Picture  Target your direct mail marketing to the big picture. Women focus on the big picture more so than men. So provide the reasons why your product or service will make her life better and Earth or a charity. Something more to enhance the big picture.
  4. Whole Life Reach out to women in every aspect of life with your messaging. Approach how your product or service helps improve her whole life by giving her more time, better abilities or something along those lines.
  5. Planning Women love to plan. How does your product or service fit in her plan or make it easier? Perhaps provide a plan she can follow that helps her and includes your product or service.
  6. Deals Women really love deals. Make a quick decision easy by providing a really good deal. This does not require you to lower your cost, you can create a special package with a free gift or a “buy two, get one free” on things that are used frequently. The word “free” is a powerful driver of response.
  7. Price Women do not always purchase on price. If you can help her meet her requirements for either her or her family’s well-being, she is willing to pay more. You can do this by showing her how indispensable your product or service is to her or her family.
  8. Social Women are extremely social. Look for ways you can tap into that with social media groups and communities. Move them from the mail piece to online. This can help them become brand ambassadors for you.
  9. Negative experience Make sure you deliver on what you promise. Women have a large network of people who they discuss things with. So a negative experience can resonate and be passed along to her network. Don’t let this happen to you.
  10. Sex While sexual images and innuendo work well for men, women tend to ignore it. Instead, tap into the other options discussed here to create a message that resonates with her.
  11. Authenticity Women require authenticity. You must be honest and straightforward in all your marketing. She can detect an imposter right away. She will avoid your product or service and tell others to. Since direct mail is considered the most trustworthy form of marketing, you start off with good credit; however, you must craft your images and messaging to capitalize on it.
  12. Empathy Women have a large capacity for empathy. You can tap into that with well-told stories, images and authentic characters. Nonprofits do this really well. How can you craft a compelling story about your product or service that evokes empathy?
  13. Story Women appreciate stories. She wants to know how characters interact and are benefited by your product or service. When you are able to tell a good story with both your images and copy, you drive response.

There really is a big difference in the way mail pieces are perceived between men and women. Women prefer a more nuanced and storied approach, where men prefer direct-and-to-the-point messages. Keep in mind that women buy the majority of all products and services, so how are your direct mail messages currently reaching them? Harness the power of better targeting to women now to increase your response rates.

Are you using any of the 13 tips above? They can really help you to engage with women and persuade them to buy. Increase the power of your direct mail marketing by doing a better job at targeting women. Are you ready to get started?

Personalized Marketing: Past, Present and Future

Today, you can think of your printed materials the same as your digital materials (emails, digital ads, landing pages, etc.). That means you can personalize EVERY aspect of a printed piece, just as you do on a computer screen. Not just text, but also visuals, colors, layouts — every element on the printed page. Each piece coming off the press can be entirely different from the piece before it.

Personal.jpgIn 1996, I had this really cool idea to produce an invitation for WDMI (Women in Direct Marketing International) using 4-color variable data printing (VDP).

This was new printing technology that acted like a color copier on steroids. There wasn’t really any software to drive it, and few people knew what it was — but I was lucky. I’d always watched for new tech, and Cheryl Kahanec (who happened to be my cousin) had one of the presses producing 4-color VDP. Still, computing power was nothing like today, so we had to figure out how to create the design I’d come up with.

The concept was driven by the limited data we had for the club — their names, company and address. Next to the address was the line: “If this is your idea of personalization … ” which was followed by a headline on the inside that said: “Then you ain’t seen nothing yet!”

Below the headline was the recipient’s name in many different fonts, sizes and colors with the name overlapping and running off the page.

Ok, I’m still healing the scars from that project. We were way ahead of the curve. It took over seven days to rip the file (running the data into the file to create a printable file). It then took another seven days to print the 5,000 pieces. That’s right: over 14 days of ripping and printing.

It performed very well, even winning attention from a couple trade publications (it also gave my cousin and me many gray hairs).

Fast Forward…

Today, you can think of your printed materials the same as your digital materials (emails, digital ads, landing pages, etc.). That means you can personalize EVERY aspect of a printed piece, just as you do on a computer screen. Not just text, but also visuals, colors, layouts — every element on the printed page. Each piece coming off the press can be entirely different from the piece before it.

St. Joseph’s College wanted to encourage applicants who had been accepted to the college to commit to attend. So accepted applicants were invited to a special event at the college. To encourage their attendance, each applicant would receive an iTunes gift card when they clicked on the personal URL (pURL) to say they would attend, with a chance to win an iPad at the event.

Every image and text blurb on the piece was changed based on the degree program the applicant had indicated on the application. Their name was used throughout the piece, along with their pURL. This is the most dramatic element: The covers would feature a current student in their program of choice. A testimonial and photo of another student currently in the program was highlighted on the inside, with copy and photos regarding the program.

Each piece off the press was a one of a kind — exactly how your emails and digital marketing piece are on your recipient’s computer.

St. Joes VDPWhat’s in the Future

There’s no way to know the amazing tech the future will bring, but a more challenging element of the future is breaking down silos.

“Over the last 20+ years, variable data software and printing has come a long way. You can easily drive images and text complex business logic and embedded variables from multiple databases. Email, video and online variable data capabilities have become equally sophisticated. The challenge: They typically don’t work together. Adding to this struggle, many brands have agency’s that are digital- or print- only.

For multichannel/omnichannel and trigger programs to allow brands to have a conversation with their customers, all mediums must work together. There can no longer be silos.”

—Cheryl Kahanec, President, EarthColor, Marketing Solutions Group

As Cheryl describes above, the future will blend all communications, leaving no silos. Whether we read our screens, mail or any other marketing material, the blending of data and its capabilities is the future of marketing and communications. Who will get there first? Who’s on their way?