5 Tips: Improving direct mail ROI

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Though direct mail has always been a reliable channel, personalized copy and unique offers can heighten response rates and improve ROI. Five experts offer tips on how to optimize your mail campaign.

Less can be more

You're not writing the great American novel. Be conscious of the demand for your audience's attention and your very small opportunity to make a positive impression. If they can't pick out the product/service benefits and a single call to action upon a quick scan, you've already lost most of the response you were hoping for. Plus, brevity will make your art director happy, too.

Geoff Council, VP, creative director, G2 Direct & Digital


Speak to an audience of one

Imagine that you're having a one-on-one conversation with a person. Your facial expressions and hand gestures are the design elements, your copy layout is your voice inflection and your words are your copy. If you think of it this way, good, persuasive direct mail is exactly the same as good, persuasive conversation.”

Nancy Draughn, SVP, Executive Creative Director, Javelin Direct


Don't write a DM pack, start a conversation

Imagine you are sitting next to your recipient on the subway. How would you begin talking to her? How would you interest her in your product or service? How would you encourage her to ask for more information? Speak like a real person, to a real person. Too many companies get caught up in their own language and legalities and forget to communicate with clarity and personality. Use real words. Give simple explanations and directions. Give real reasons. Be a good conversationalist and your audience just might converse with you.

Cameron Kellock, executive creative director, Wunderman New York


Be creative with the offer

You can always invent an “offer,” sometimes at no real cost, which is especially helpful when the margin can't handle a “Buy One Get One” or “50% Off” hard offer. A solid telemarketing sales process can become a “FREE Consultation.” The included carrying case, strap and battery could be a “FREE Starter Kit.” I recall one insurance issuer touting a “FREE Leatherette Policy Jacket” in their conversion package. Corny? Maybe, but it absolutely worked.

Bill Spink, chief creative officer, DMW Worldwide LLC


Highlight benefits

One of the surest ways to improve the response to a direct mail package is to dramatize the benefits. People remember scenes and stories. They have impact. For example, don't just say the XBX Lawnmower cuts grass quickly – say that it's so fast you'll be spending less time on the lawn and more time shooting hoops in the driveway with your kids.

Steve Slaunwhite, Copywriter

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