Direct Mail Back to Basics: 7 Tips to Boost Response in Today's Crazy Economy
4. Use Proven Techniques
While there is no set of universal techniques for all circumstances, there are a few that are nearly universal. According to Bob Stone, the guru of gurus in direct marketing:
- A yes/no offer usually out-pulls offers without a no option.
- A negative-option offer usually out-pulls a positive option offer.
- An offer with a time limit usually out-pulls an offer with no time limit.
- An offer with a free gift usually out-pulls discount offers, especially when the gift closely matches your prospect's self-interest.
- Sweepstakes usually increase order volume, especially for impulse items (though sweepstakes customers will not be loyal).
- Benefits out-pull features.
- The more involved you can get people, and the more they read, the greater your chance for success.
- Envelope packages usually outpull self-mailers.
5. Value Content Over Form
One of the primary reasons advertising fails is that ad creators often get caught up in a creative vision without having anything to say.
One agency has repeatedly sent me mockups of mailers and brochures with tiny blank spaces it wants me to fill in with copy. When I ask about the purpose of the piece or point out that the design should be based on what needs to be communicated, I am gently told to just write something the right length and everything will work out fine.
This is nonsense. Don't start with a "look," start with content. Allow your design to develop naturally from your copy.
6. Make Sure You're Doing Direct Marketing
Every direct marketing message includes three basic elements:
- an offer;
- enough information for immediate acceptance of the offer; and
- a mechanism for responding to the offer.
Without each of these, you are not doing direct marketing but merely using a medium associated with direct marketing.
7. Consider Two-step Sales
There are two basic ways to make a sale in direct marketing: