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Dissecting your direct mail marketing strategy

What comes to mind when you think of direct mail marketing? For most businesses it’s a way to generate revenue. When done correctly, it can be very effective. There are three cases where direct mail marketing can be very effective:

  1. Generating new leads
  2. Engaging non-active customers
  3. Selling more to your existing customer base

These are three different priorities and should be treated as such. Meaning you shouldn’t use the same campaign to target these three groups. Each campaign should look different and should say different things.

Regardless of what your letter says, it should follow a certain set of principles, an overall framework. You should have a specific strategy in place. You need a formula that when applied to any target group can be translated to a successful campaign.

When was your last targeted direct mail campaign? Do you have a copy? If so, get it, look it over, and use the following questions to dissect your letter. Let’s see if there’s room for improvement.

Does your headline grab the reader’s attention?

The headline is the very first thing your prospective customer will see, so it has to be gold. Don’t be afraid to make a bold statement. If you can create shock value or evoke curiosity, they’ll keep reading.

Does your message tell a story?

Now that your headline has grabbed their attention, the key is to keep your reader’s interest. Your copy has to be good enough to connect with the consumer while showing them the benefit of your product.  Tell them a story. Ideally, it will be a story that they can picture themselves in. If you can successfully do this, it means that the customer has formed an emotional connection, and you’ve got them right where you want them.

Does your offer create desire?

The offer should come in the form of a dangling carrot. By the time they get to this part of the letter, they should be compelled to take action.  You have to make them want what you’re selling.

Are you making it easy for your customer to take action?

The more complicated it is for the customer to take you up on your offer, the less likely they are to take action. The call to action should be clear and simple. Give them all the details. Make it as easy as possible. The fewer hoops there are to jump through the more likelihood that you’ll get the sale.

Does your letter create a sense of urgency?

If your letter says something like 10% off your next purchase, your customer will be pleased. However, they won’t be in any rush. They’ll simply wait until the next time they need what you’re offering. By creating a sense of urgency such as “for a limited time,” customers will be more motivated to take action in order to take advantage of the special offer.

The number one way to ensure a successful direct marketing campaign is to put yourself in your customers shoes. Think like a consumer, not a business owner. If you were the one receiving the letter, would you be moved to action? If not, chances are your customers won’t be either.

If you’ve answered yes to all the above questions, then you have a winning formula, and you don’t need to change a thing. However, if you’re missing any of these components, try making changes in your next campaign and see what kind of difference it makes. Don’t be afraid to tweak as you go along. Finding the formula that works for your business doesn’t come without trial and error.

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