Who even uses direct mail anymore? Any company with sense, that’s who. Direct mail has been undergoing a quiet revolution in recent years. In fact, in 2015, direct mail outperformed ALL digital channels by 600%. Six. Hundred. Per cent.
The thing is, while everyone got sick of junk mail filling up their letterbox a few years ago, the digital revolution means we now have less and less spam coming through the door. That means clever direct mail campaigns are actually more successful than digital-only campaigns, but businesses need to be savvy about how it’s done.
Direct mail still influences purchasing decisions across the world. You may think ‘millennials’ – the generation with the biggest B2B and B2C buying power – are all focused on digital marketing. In fact, 92% of millennials have said that direct mail has influenced a purchasing decision in the past year. Who said print was dead?
There are many ways to make your direct mail campaign a success – not least by integrating it with your digital channels. For example, you could send out a flyer with an online-exclusive discount, which will drive customers to your website to complete a purchase. Or you might want to advertise a competition via direct mail, which requires customers to take photos of themselves with your product and upload it to social media with a hashtag. There are so many ways to integrate your direct mail and digital marketing, the opportunities are endless!
So, how do you make your direct mail stand out?
1. Make it short
While people like the novelty of real mail these days, their attention spans have reduced to the size of tweets. Your message needs to be as short and concise as a single tweet – if you can’t reduce your idea into twenty words or fewer, you’re not doing it right.
Of course, once you’ve got them hooked you can spend a little longer expanding on the idea. It’s your tagline that needs to be snappy – the first thing they see when the envelope is opened (or sometimes even on the envelope itself) needs to be attention-grabbing.
2. Be original
We’ve all had those charity letters through the door, asking for donations. The sad eyes of lost children, the images of war torn countries – these are used for a reason: they work. However, any good copywriter will use their words to tell the story and not rely on some cheesy graphics. Avoid adjectives, use active verbs, and remain to-the-point on everything.
3. Be personal
Personalised direct mail is vital if you want people to interact positively with your brand. This could be something as simple as addressing a letter using their full name, or something far more complex such as a voucher offer based on their previous spending habits with your business.
Make your data work for you by breaking it down into segments of opportunity as much as possible. For example, 53% of people would be happy to receive a piece of marketing aimed at providing a discount for their birthday. When you see opportunities like this – an annual buying cycle for every customer you already have – you’re hugely increasing lifetime customer value, all thanks to a very inexpensive direct mail campaign.
3. Be a straight shooter
If your campaign is asking for donations, don’t be vague: make it clear from the start. If the direct mail is part of a competition, highlight the benefits of winning immediately. If the letter is part of an integrated campaign, be sure to make the most of mentioning all of the different channels people can use to contact the company.
Whatever you do, don’t dance around the issue: people don’t have time to read spam letters just as they won’t read spam emails. Make it count.
4. Think about how it feels
It’s not just about what you say in your direct mail campaign – it’s about how it feels in your recipient’s hand. Something that seems cheap will make a potential customer subconsciously feel that you don’t feel they are worth your dime. A heavyweight paper stock, a fancy lamination finish, or even a high shine gloss Spot UV addition, will all give depth and texture to your direct mail. People will want to turn it over in their hands, to look at it, and to examine it.
It’s this weight and added engagement that you’re striving for. Even if your flyer is picked up from the doormat with the intention of it heading straight for the bin, that interaction of touch can say a lot about your company. It’ll make someone stop, even for a split second, to admire the printing and the feel. That could be all you need to change a naysayer into someone who recognises your brand at a later date – and that’s how direct mail really works. It’s all about brand awareness.
The art of copywriting for direct mail has fallen into disrepute as the days of recycling everything crept upon us. We were made to feel bad that we contributed to masses of landfill, and that our time was as wasted as that of the recipient, because everyone knows nobody reads junk mail.
However, with the direct mail renaissance right on our doorstep (please excuse the not-very-subtle pun), it’s time to take up the tactics we’ve learned in our digital age and apply them to real-life letters in order to prevent losing the skills of writing compelling advertising copy that doesn’t instruct you to ‘click here’.
There are still thousands of people without the internet in your city alone (my gosh, how do they cope?): older people and the socially disadvantaged are two key groups in the dark ages. This means companies seeking to contact these groups are likely to be using direct mail for their advertising… just a hint for consideration in your next marketing campaigns meeting.