All direct mail pieces tell a story. Are yours telling the story you want, or one by default? The story is critical to your response rate. Why is a story so powerful? Stories are a form of communication that draw us in and pull at our emotions. They create an authentic connection that our brains are hardwired to remember and respond to better.
People buy from companies they trust and like. Are you one of them? You can be if you get your story right. The story is the most overlooked part of direct mail creation. Check your mailbox for nonprofit appeals; they do a great job of telling stories. So, before your next campaign, consider how to craft your story.
How do you create a direct mail story? Start with the following questions and write out each of the answers:
- Who: Who are you as a company to your customers and your employees?
- How: How did your company come about? What problems were you trying to solve?
- What: What do you do for your customers and employees?
- Why: Why are you in business?
- Targets: Who are the prospects and customers you are targeting? List out what they have in common and their differences.
- Real: Consider choosing a real client or employee who has a good story about your product or service and how it helped them.
- Goal: What is the goal you seek with the story? To showcase why people should buy, to show how warm and friendly you are, or something else? A well-defined goal will give you the best results. How do you need to write your story to accomplish it?
- Share: Once you write the first draft of your story, give it to a select set of people outside your organization to critique it. They will find issues you never thought of and may have more ideas to make it better.
Now you are ready to get to the crafting part. Your story must have the following components:
- A reason to get excited and interested in the story. A boring story will not work.
- Ask for participation in your story. You want your audience to really get into it. You can even have them respond to you via social media to keep the story going.
- Tell your story in a fun and different way so that it stands out. You can be funny, witty and a little edgy so that people remember you.
- You need a beginning, middle and end, as well as a problem and solution that are well defined. When you leave something out of your story, it does not resonate with people.
When you are able to convey an authentic, compelling story that connects you with your prospects and customers, your direct mail is more effective. When you do not craft your own story, you get stuck with the one people give you based on your messages. Don’t’ let this happen. Take an active role in crafting your story and make it the best story ever.
Keep in mind that you can create multiple stories to appeal to different targeted groups. One story does not fit all. You want your story to connect with people — in order to do that, you need to segment your data to reach the right people with the right stories. Have you used stories before? Have they worked for you?