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Five Tips That Can Turn Your Direct-Mail Pieces Into Must-Reads

by Drew McLellan  |  
March 14, 2012

Myriad marketers are so enamored with social media that they've forgotten the golden oldies of marketing that still deliver reliable results. One of the tried and true is direct mail.

The next time you’re writing or evaluating direct mail copy, make sure to follow these tips for increasing the response rate of your direct mail.

Offer the benefit in the headline. There’s no time for subtlety in direct mail. You need to capture the reader’s attention as he stands over the trash can, tossing unwanted mail into it. So, grab attention with a headline that gets right to the point.

Ask a question then answer it. Raise a question that you know will catch your audience’s attention. Provocative questions (e.g., “Are you loving your dog right to her death?”) pulls readers in and gets them to look for the answer.

Show your sense of humor. For some reason, most direct mail is deadly serious. Radio and television often use humor to increase recall and affinity, but direct mail is typically straightforward. Bend that trend by amusing your audience.

Don’t leave your direct mail on its own. Like most marketing tactics, direct mail works best when it’s part of a multi-tool campaign. Combine it with a mass media tool like radio or something more personal, like follow-up phone calls or PURLs (personal URLs).

Give your audience a voice. In today’s hyper-connected world, direct mail does not have to be a one-way conversation. Drive your audience to share their opinion, request product features, or lodge a complaint. Offer different ways to communicate. Sure, give them the URL of your Facebook Fan page or Twitter handle but don’t forget the tried and true toll-free number or email address.

Do you still respond to direct mail as a consumer? From your business' perspective, has it lost its allure for you or is your organization still getting decent results?

(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Mail Delivery)

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Drew McLellan's a 25+ year marketing agency veteran who lives for creating "a ha" moments for his clients, clients' customers, peers and audiences across the land.

Drew writes at his own blog, Drew’s Marketing Minute and several other hot spots. He authored 99.3 Random Acts of Marketing, co-edited the Age of Conversation series of books with Gavin Heaton, and he launched his own firm McLellan Marketing Group in 1995.

LinkedIn: Drew McLellan

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  • by Direct Mail Services Tue Mar 27, 2012 via blog

    Hi Drew McLellan,
    Great post.
    I agree with your all points. I like your point - ""Offer the benefit in the headline"" because, the headline is the most important element which we can't ignore. Headlines you use in your direct mail campaign can make or break its success.

  • by Drew McLellan Tue Mar 27, 2012 via blog

    I've heard it said that once you've written the headline, you're 90% done. Not so sure I buy that...but it is a huge factor in any ad, direct mail piece etc.


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