The Best Direct Mail Is Influential

Is your direct mail telling a story right now? It should be! Why, you ask? Well, people respond to and remember stories. Stories build trust, and even alter our brain chemistry with cortisol and oxytocin to bring about focus and empathy.

direct mail storytellingHow is your current direct mail influencing people to buy from you? Are you getting the results you expected? What if you could increase them by changing your narrative? The normal facts-based approach is not the best way to reach people. In order to best illustrate the value of your product or service, you need to tell a compelling story. Why? Because emotion trumps logic every time.

Is your direct mail telling a story right now? It should be! Why, you ask? Well people respond to and remember stories. Stories build trust, and even alter our brain chemistry with cortisol and oxytocin to bring about focus and empathy. These are great ways to get people interested in your direct mail. No one is interested in your logic; they identify with the story and buy because of it. This is why we sell benefits with direct mail — not features.

A story is not your tagline, slogan or mission statement. Those things do not sell your product or service. A story happens in a moment of time. There is a beginning, middle and end. There are emotions involved not facts. There are people to care about. Do not just brush the surface with an idea — really tell the story. Commit to it and people will commit to your company. Keep in mind that it does not have to be heart wrenching to cause an emotional response.

So how do you find your story? Talk to customers about their experiences with you as a company and your product or service. Talk to your employees, too! You can even use your own life to find a story. Make lists of your differentiators, benefits, and changes that have happened and decisions that have been made for either better or worse. All of these can help you to craft your story. The key is to engage with your customers and prospects through the story. When your story resonates with your prospects and customers, they buy from you.

Once you have some concepts laid out, review each option along with your team to see which one stands out the most. It is a good idea to also show it to someone outside your organization to make sure they understand it and feel what you are expecting them to. If they do not, you will need to try another story or figure out a better way to tell that story. Creating your compelling story will take some time. Do not rush it. The more time you spend on it, the better story you will have.

So now that you have your story, how can you translate that into your direct mail? Obviously this will be easier with a letter format over a postcard, but that does not mean you can’t use a postcard. In fact, a visual story can start with a postcard and be finished by sending them to a landing page with your video story. There are many ways to incorporate your story into your mail piece. When reaching out for the first time, you will need to supply the whole story or a way for them to get the whole story. After that you can use bits and pieces of the story to draw them into your mailer and continue to grow the story. Have you tried using a story in your direct mail? How did it work for 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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