Keep direct mail short, simple and personal

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David Wilson
David Wilson

Direct mailers all know about the relative importance of factors that contribute to direct mail success and above all, the value of constant testing to maximize return on investment. We also know that even in 2011, direct mail is a crucial component in any direct marketing mix, mainly because of its versatility and its ability to deliver new customers and upsell current ones.

However, we've got our work cut out for us, from declining response rates and do-not-mail registries to escalating costs amid declining marketing budgets. Getting opened and getting a response takes creativity and focus to make the package interesting and the message engaging. Here are five proven response enhancers:

  1. Bulk it up. There's nothing like adding a little heft to a package, by including a “freemium” or a bulky brochure, and printing on substantial stock. Think about the impression you'd make with an envelope made from Tyvek to get prospects intrigued and eager to see what's inside.

  2. Make it personal. Everyone enjoys receiving greeting cards. To get your piece opened, the greeting card format makes a great impression for your brand, especially when developed with the right mix of personalization and salesmanship.

  3. Assume they don't read. In this age of too many devices and ever-more distractions, the more quickly you get to the point, the better. Cut letter and brochure copy and be relentless. Give them only the headlines.

  4. Make it interactive. What is it about scratch-offs that makes us want to reach for a coin and get busy to see what's underneath? Whatever it is, they get prospects engaged and the mail opened. So do stickers, zip-strips, tear-offs, pull-tabs and other interactive devices.

  5. Warm ‘em up. For lead generation, e-mail makes a great introduction to direct mail and vice versa. Use them together and throw an outbound call in the mix to test the best sequence and number of contacts. Then watch response rates soar.

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