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 The impression you give with an outdated look isn’t nostalgic — it’s suspicious.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How To Fit It: Check your copy for out of date wording.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.

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:, email:, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @sumgould.

31 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons People Don’t Trust Your Direct Mail Marketing”

  1. #2 is not quite accurate. Short copy works best for B2B and in B2C for lead generation. But when asking a consumer for an order — say, for a dietary supplement or investment newsletter — long copy works better in most instances.

    1. We are seeing that change. People are short on time and not willing to read long copy. We suggest that clients keep copy short on direct mail and offer more content via a link to their website where each person can choose what they want to learn more about or place an order.

      1. Long copy is still needed to sell certain offers. The people who do not read it are not buyers. Those who do read it are. I agree that a great tactic today is to use shorter direct mail to drive traffic to a long-copy landing page that does the bulk of the selling–at least for consumer offers; e.g., a $49 dietary supplement, a $149 investment advisory.

  2. I think some of Ms. Gould’s suggestions are also good for some web content. In fact, if a mailer is going out, then it should also be included on the website, shouldn’t it?

  3. To write short or long content is a constant decision that copywriters have to make. If it’s too long, people get bored and stop reading. If it’s too short, there’s not enough there to convince the reader to go forward with a purchase. But I think length is not a factor when the copy is or about one of these 3 things: (1) well written copy – people will read anything about anything if it’s interesting or fun or humorous or dramatic or weird enough (2) seriousness or high end item – purchasing a necessity (RX) or a luxury (classic Mercedes) demands, and we can’t seem to get enough, description and details (3) targeted market – if the market is narrowed down to high-interest readers then you have a captive audience who will read just about anything and any length on that subject.

  4. Summer Gould, I guarantee I could write a long-copy full-page ad, run it in Target, and if the content was accurate and interesting, you would read it. The headline: “This ad is all about Summer Gould.”

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