How to Ensure Your Direct Mail Marketing Leads to Action

2/21/2018 RRD

How to Ensure Your Direct Mail Marketing Leads to Action

An effective direct mail piece can create and sustain relationships with your past, present, and future customers — but how can you ensure your direct mail piece leads to action? Sure, your promotion can be visually stunning, but a good offer is most commonly responsible for generating profitable responses.

Here are some tips for making your direct mail campaign stand out and spur action.

Specify your audience and personalize the offer. Depending on your audience, the offer in each piece should change. Use the data you have collected to your advantage by personalizing the message. Is this a first-time customer, or a life-long customer? Your offer should speak to them appropriately.

Once you’ve decided on your target, it’s time to decide which offer will be the most appealing to them.

Choose your direct mail offer type. When creating an offer, choose one of these four proven tactics:

  1. Guarantees
  2. Free gifts
  3. Discounts
  4. A deadline to capitalize on any of the above

Let’s dive into these options a bit further.

Tactic #1: Offer a strong guarantee. The harder the offer, the stronger the guarantee must be presented. If you’re asking for payment with an order, it’s vital to provide a promise to return the money if the customer isn’t satisfied. Watch out for the small print and asterisks (**), which will dilute a guarantee and ultimately lessen your net results. It’s best to make a guarantee as clear as possible.

Tactic #2: Add a compelling free gift. Make your direct mail indispensable by including “freemiums,” or pieces of copy that have real value. Some common examples are address stickers, bookmarks, and calendar cards, but you can stretch your imagination to consider other items, such as:

  • Weight and measures tables
  • Currency calculators
  • Sports calendars
  • Calorie counters
  • Rulers
  • Birthstone and anniversary stone lists
  • State and country facts

Always tie your offer to the copy on the freemium. (For more about copy, read our blog post on creating compelling copy for your direct mail campaign.)

Tactic #3: Target the discount to your audience. Discounts can be presented in a variety of ways, including coupons. Varying coupon values according to buyer demographics and purchase history allows you two luxuries:

  1. Optimizing the discount for the highest returns at the least cost.
  2. Nudging your consumer into the desired purchase value bracket.

In one case study, a national retail marketer utilized customer purchase history and variable print technology to deliver targeted discounts to specific audiences. The result was a 14% boost in ROI and higher redemption rates.

For the best results, develop a strategy that protects you from the wasteful, broad-brush approach of “one discount fits all.”

Tactic #4: Find the right response deadline. Conflicted over the grace period you should offer as a deadline to respond? If it’s too soon, they will miss the deadline — and if the deadline is too long, they’ll procrastinate. To combat this issue, offer the “Fast Fifty,” or an offer that rewards a group of people that sign up first. The reader infers speed is of the essence, but rank in line trumps all. In fact, whether the responder was the 50th, or the 300th, you can still honor the offer.

Time the offer close to the most recent sale. The easiest time to close a sale is immediately after the preceding order. Review the invoices you are currently mailing and ask how you can provide a variable offer on the invoice to inspire an additional purchase.

Test your offer. With any type of offer, testing is imperative. Analyze your results across offer categories, such as premium 1 vs. premium 2 vs. no premium. You should also look for differences in responses by premium within the list category. For instance, half of your responders may like premiums, while the other half want a price discount. As a marketer, you need to know the demographic preference for one premium over another.

Each person who comes in contact with your direct mail marketing campaign is different — so the offer inside should be, too.

Looking for more direct mail marketing tips? Download the 101 Insider Tips on Direct Mail.

Contact us to discuss how direct mail marketing can deliver results. 


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