5 Copy Tips for Better Direct Mail Response

Target Marketing recently published a terrific article on generating responses with direct mail. It doesn’t point to data-driven personalization, multichannel integration, or psychographic targeting, although all of these are important strategies. The article talks about the basics of effective marketing. We’ll summarize the points here and illustrate them with a TV commercial most of us will recognize: “Not You” from Realtor.com.

  1. Create an either/or scenario.

In this scenario, there are two options: use your product, and things go well, use the other guy’s product and invoke disaster.

  1. Use a real-world story to illustrate the consequences of the two choices.

Realtor.com does a great job with this. In the TV commercial, two women are looking at online pictures of the house one of them is buying. A third woman shows up and complains that this is the house she wanted. There are two primary characters here: you, who used Realtor.com to find and purchase the house quickly, and “not you” who didn’t use Realtor.com and missed out. Whether we’re in the market for a new home or not, this is a scenario with which we can all relate.

  1. KISS — keep it simple.

Direct mail isn’t the place to get technical. You are creating a scenario and tapping emotions to make your point. In the world of direct mail, simple sticks.

  1. Focus on solving a problem.  

Realtor.com does this especially well. Problem: I don’t want someone else to get the house I want. Solution: Use Realtor.com. Everyone understands this simple problem-solution scenario.

  1. Use images to evoke emotion.

In direct mail, you have a matter of seconds to convince the recipient that the piece is worth their time to pick up and read. People process visual information much more quickly than text, so use images to your advantage!

Direct mail is a powerful tool for getting a message into people’s hands quickly. Use these tips to make the most of the opportunity!

http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/post/how-to-generate-response-with-your-direct-mail/

 

Advertisements

Old Vs. New Media: Which Is Better?

When it comes to the effectiveness of local advertising, which is better, traditional media or new media? The answer might surprise you.

When local advertisers asked about which channels are most effective for building their businesses, Borrell Associates found that companies rated both equally. On a scale of 1 to 5, traditional media ranked 2.83, while digital media ranked 2.86.

“The push and pull between ‘old’ media and ‘new’ has occluded the fact that both are effective means of advertising products and services,” notes Borrell in its Chart of the Week [1]. “There are differences within each, however: the kings of traditional media, according to advertisers, are television and direct mail; the kings of digital are social, search, and email.”

So if you think that traditional channels are waning in favor of digital ones, think again. Traditional channels, including direct mail, remain strong for a simple reason. They work.

Source: Borrell’s Annual Survey of Local Advertisers, April-August 2017; n = 3,508 responses.

[1] https://www.borrellassociates.com/surveys

Why You Need a MultiChannel Strategy

We live in an era of gadgets. Research shows that 94% of people have their cellphone within arm’s reach at all times, consumers are shopping on tablets while watching television, and more email is opened on mobile devices than a desktop. Customers continue to move into a multichannel world, and responsive marketers need to go there, too.

Channel integration isn’t something marketers can afford to ignore. According to Target Marketing’s Media Usage Survey, 37% of marketers’ 2016 budgets went to online marketing, 29% went to print (direct mail, magazines, newspapers), and 21% went to live events. The rest was split between radio, television, and space advertising.

Even as direct mail remains the bedrock of highly effective marketing campaigns, digital components are increasingly part of the mix. According to Target Marketing, the following digital channels are growing the most rapidly:

  • Online advertising (54%)
  • Email (49%)
  • Mobile marketing (38%)
  • Search engine marketing (41%)
  • Search engine optimization (43%)
  • Social media engagement (55%)
  • Social media advertising (49%)

Consumers’ lives are multichannel, so marketing is increasingly multichannel, too.

The multichannel approach also produces better results. In a data analysis of retailers, McKinsey found that the more channels customer use to engage with the store, the more they spend on an annual basis. Customers who shopped both in store and who used catalogs spent three times more than those who did not. When Internet marketing is added to the mix, revenue grows by four times. Likewise, customers who shopped online spent four times as much when catalogs were added to the mix and six times more when they also shopped in store.

Why does multichannel work so well? One reason is that it provides repeated exposure and reinforcement of the message. Another is that different media play different roles in moving customers along the sales funnel.

What does your channel mix look like? Why not talk to us about adding, not just more channels to your mix, but creating the optimum mix of channels to keep your message in front of customers, move them through the sale funnel, and get them all the way to a sale.

How the Brain Responds to Print vs. Digital

One of the marketing surprises of the last few years has been how strongly Millennials—the smartphone and fully wired generation—respond to direct mail. In fact, according to “USPS Mail Moments 2016,” Millennials are more likely than other generations to read, organize, and sort their mail than all other generations. They are also less likely to discard their mail without reading it.

Why do even so-called digital natives still respond so strongly to print? Could it be, in part, how we are wired? The answer is yes. Neuromarketing research shows that our brains react differently to printed material than to digital media.

To more fully understand how the brain reacts to physical vs. digital mail, the United States Postal Service partnered with the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business to gauge responses to physical and digital advertising pieces. Researchers used brain images, biometrics (e.g. heart rate and respiration), eye tracking, and questionnaires to measure reactions.

They found that:

  • Participants processed digital ad content more quickly.
  • They spent more time with physical ads.
  • Physical ads triggered activity in a part of the brain that corresponds with value and desirability.
  • Participants had a stronger emotional response to physical ads and remembered them better.

Canada Post found similarly intriguing results in its neuromarketing research project. They measured the response to campaigns that used the same creative and messaging for both physical and digital media.

They found that:

  • Direct mail campaigns required 21% less cognitive effort to process.
  • Participants’ recall was 70% higher if they were exposed to direct mail rather than a digital ad.
  • Activation in parts of the brain that correspond to motivation response was 20% higher for direct mail.

As human beings, we are wired to respond more strongly to physical, printed messages. For marketers who want advertising with long-lasting impact and easy recollection, printed materials can clearly make a difference.

Excerpted and edited from the USPSDelivers.com presentation “Still Relevant: A Look at How Millennials Respond to Direct Mail” (2017).

 

 

 

 

What Is Really Motivating Your Customers?

When we think about motivating consumers to make a purchase, we think about using the right mailing list, creating the right offer, and having a compelling call to action. Whether creating a direct mail piece, a sales letter, or a magazine advertisement, those elements are critical. But the reasons people buy can also be more complex.

Particularly in the B2C environment, emotional factors are often at play. For example, if you are selling exotic vacations, you aren’t just selling a cost-effective hotel with great food and a seafront view.

  • You are selling relaxation.
  • You are tapping into the desire to escape from the daily grind of meetings, presentations, and child rearing.
  • You are selling the desire to be catered to.

Tapping into these deep emotional wells can help you sell more. Instead of mailing a postcard with the headline, “Get 25% off plane tickets today!” Try, “Don’t you wish the office were a Thousand Miles Away?” Or, “Isn’t It Time that Someone Pampered YOU?”

Think about a parent dreaming of excitement beyond the children’s homework, playing shuttle for soccer practice, and meetings for the PTA. A trip offering whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, and skydiving might tap deep emotional needs for adventure. Try a postcard with an image of the face of a skydiver, wide-eyed and exhilarated—cheeks flapping in the wind—that says, “You, too, can FLY!”

Whether you are developing direct mailers, sales letters, or magazine ads . . .

  • Think about unmet frustrations and deeper emotions that might drive recipients to make a change.
  • List the potential motivators. To be recognized at work? Get a promotion? Be challenged? Break out of the mold? Feel empowered, youthful, and sexy?
  • Show — don’t tell. Use the power of graphics to tell a story.

Emotions are powerful marketing tools. Emotionally driven purchases tend to be less price-sensitive and more spontaneous. The medium of print has the ability to tap into those emotions and motivate behavior in a way that no other medium can do. Take advantage of it!

Guide to Being Authentic

Whether you are writing copy for direct mail, email, social media, or mobile video, it is important to be authentic. People buy from people, so create marketing copy that is believable and that makes people want to buy from you. But like everything else, being authentic still takes planning. Here are five tips for keeping it real.

  1. Be human. Don’t sound like a corporate brochure. Instead of saying, “We’re going to leverage our core competency to shift the paradigm,” say, “As experts in this area, we’re going to do something new and exciting.” Use common language. Speak in a way that your audience can relate to.
  2. Be passionate. Passion is contagious. When someone argues deeply and passionately about an environmental cause, a weekend hobby, or an outstanding vacation destination, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. Even if your product is as dry as Melba toast, find something to get excited about, then write from that source of passion.
  3. Be vulnerable. Studies consistently show that consumers are more likely to trust a company that admits its flaws and failings but is honest about them and works hard to correct them than one who claims that all paths lead to success. Vulnerability is real, and we relate to it. Vulnerability builds trust.
  4. Be honest. Don’t exaggerate the truth, and don’t make promises you can’t keep. If consumers sense that you’re not being honest about one or more elements of your marketing pitch, they will question the truthfulness of all of it.
  5. Have fun. Have some fun in your marketing. Use humor, lighthearted pictures, and an element of surprise now and then. We have enough things in our lives that are dull and boring. Don’t make your product one of them.

 

3 Areas Where Direct Mail Beats Email

Don’t get us wrong—we love email. Like every marketing channel, email has an important place in the marketing mix. But with the pressure that marketers often experience to go all digital, it’s important to remind ourselves of some of the unique benefits offered by direct mail.

  1. Direct mail doesn’t require an opt-in.

Before you can send a marketing email, you need to get the recipient’s permission. If people don’t want to receive your emails, they can block them. If they have opted in and later change their minds, they can simply opt back out. Direct mail doesn’t have these restrictions.

  1. Direct mail doesn’t land in the spam folder.

Direct mail doesn’t have spam restrictions. If you send direct mailers to accurate physical addresses, your target audience will receive them.

  1. In a B2B environment when the recipient moves onto a new job, direct mail still finds a target.

When your contact leaves the company for a new position, their email addresses are no longer valid and your marketing emails will bounce. However, direct mail still ends up on the desk of the next person to take their job. Not only does your message still find a target, but you have just introduced yourself to a new contact.

Both direct mail and email are powerful marketing tools, but they are not replacements for one another. Each has a role to play and offers benefits unique to that channel. Use direct mail and email individually, or better yet, create an integrated campaign in which they work together. But don’t think of either as a replacement for the other.

Want to learn more about the differences between direct mail and email? Give us a call!