Create attention-grabbing inserts

It’s not enough just to use inserts – marketers need to make sure they grab the reader’s attention. Four experts share how the right design, shape, size, offer and copy can help.

Linda Callahan
SVP, Leon Henry Inc.

Be sure to use all the space available – you’ll be charged the same amount so you might as well take advantage of the space. Then, combining the right pitch and offer with the right size insert becomes the key.

These are challenging economic times and disposable income for our customers is shrinking. So, how do you get some­one to spend their money on your prod­ucts? Simply make them an offer they can‘t refuse. When you’re selling real estate, it’s location, location, location. When it comes to your insert, the most important aspect is offer, offer, offer.

Most of the customers that one acquires through inserts will have a good back end. They should be profitable for you in the long term because they like buying through the mail. As long as you have a good product and service to go along with it, there’s no reason for them not to keep buying from you. But you’ll need to spend some money to bring them in the door.

There are a number of offers that can be highly effective. Buying something as a gift and getting something free for yourself is one of these, as are credit and no payment required up front.

Effective inserts usually come down to providing an offer they can’t refuse

Mike Dubose
Chairman and CEO, Vertis Communications

Market research firm TNS/Retail Forward recently reported that retail sales will increase just 1.5% this holiday season. As marketers, it is easy to attribute potential losses to the weak economy. However, there has never been a more fitting holiday season to attract shoppers to your stores, and one of the prime ways to do this is by creating attention-grabbing ad inserts that display immediate value.

One such way is with lasting, adhe­sive technology. Many are attracted to ad inserts that feature peel-off coupons, sweepstakes, games and promotions. Such inserts allow consumers to re-adhere coupons, bringing a constant brand reminder to your target shoppers.

Another way to increase ad insert vis­ibility is to enhance the edges of your insert with special die-cuts that showcase special events or promotions.

Finally, try insert products designed to look dramatically different with unique shapes and sizes, interactive folds and tri-folds, high-quality stocks and special promotional mechanisms. A study comparing such inserts to tradi­tional products found 57% of consumers choose to read the unique insert first.

Inserts featuring peel-off coupons, die-cuts or special folds grab attention

Nancy O’Reilley
VP, insert media management, Direct Media

While the fundamentals of good copy writing are the same regardless of media, the threshold of impact is much higher for insert copy.

While direct marketers still use the tried and true AIDA (Attention, Inter­est, Desire, Action) formula, inserts are much more dependant on easy-to-scan, quick-hitting, attention-getting high value copy. If Lincoln’s Get­tysburg Address were a one-page ad, the supporting insert copy would read, “Read My Lips, No Slaves!”

With less room, staying on point is critical. The most successful insert offerings include one or more of these techniques: empathy for the recipient’ breaking down hurdles; targeted offer­ings, testimonials; selling in a positive way; and telling a story that compels without pretense.

Further, a free or discounted offer with a deadline creates a sense of urgency — and should stimulate the “D” in the formula. Consider the economics: What is the best offer you can afford to make? Also, make sure your insert’s style, tone and graphics are consistent with the overall look and feel of the cor­porate or product line standards.

With less room for good insert copy, staying on point is critical

Lori Fursman
Director, brokerage, Stanton Direct Marketing

Your insert should gain attention quickly and the creative aspects of your piece can help. Make sure to have a special or unique offer and show it boldly on your piece. Some specific words include: “free,” “save,” or “special offer just for you!”

Use attention-grabbing colors — per­haps your special offer written in bold red type, or any color that contrasts with the overall color scheme.

The size of your piece can also help. Review the other inserts that run within a particular program and try to make yours either a bit smaller or a bit larger than most of the others. The paper stock is another way to make your piece unique. You can choose from coated or non-coated stock, high-gloss or flat stock, as well as others. Keep in mind that if your insert includes a return card, it must meet postal specifications.

If you have a coupon, make sure that the customer understands how to complete it and that there is sufficient room for the customer’s information.

It’s a great idea to review your thoughts with your broker, your internal team and any program contacts you may have.

Using eye-catching creative can draw the interest of a potential customer

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