12 Direct Mail Mandates
4. Test! Test something, but resist "testing around the edges." That is, don't only test a new headline. Instead, test completely new story, positioning, offers and more. And make sure you have at least a basic understanding of statistical confidence intervals so you can validate if one direct mail package really outperformed the other when it's rolled out to higher volumes.
5. Identify the Persona. Begin with basic demographic data, but you must get into your prospective customers' mindset using behavioral data. Get started by having a basic profile run of your existing customers (easily accessible from data vendors, and ordinarily quite affordable). Look for behaviors that you can cluster into several personas you can describe and name. For example, "Money Matters," "Adrenalin Seekers," or "Did I Matter?" Key: knowing the data is merely a start. You must analyze and interpret the information. Assign the persona into one of your identified types (I have pegged 10 different types over my years in the business, three of those are listed above). Once you know the persona, you're ready to move into creative strategy.
6. Stimulate Emotion. We possess advanced human brains. However, as in most animals, at its core, our amygdala — the primitive "lizard brain" — reacts instantly with fight or flight instincts. We are alerted to basic needs including anger, fear, and reproduction. The left amygdala retains both pleasant and unpleasant emotions. The right amygdala retains negative emotions, especially fear and sadness. It's no wonder that negative works.
7. Calm the Mind. After stimulating emotion, you must calm the mind. Assure your prospect there is a solution that addresses fear, uncertainty and doubt. Direct the reader to emotions that offer pleasure, reward, a pleasant memory, new learning and moderate the mood.
8. Position/Reposition: Create new memory for your prospective customer or donor by giving your product or organization a distinctive positioning with your unique selling proposition (or unique value proposition). Differentiating you from your competitors is essential to creating new memory that can linger on for your product or service.
Reinventing Direct is for the direct marketer seeking guidance in the evolving world of online marketing. Gary Hennerberg is a mind code marketing strategist, based on the template from his new book, "Crack the Customer Mind Code." He is recognized as a leading direct marketing consultant and copywriter. He weaves in how to identify a unique selling proposition to position, or reposition, products and services using online and offline marketing approaches, and copywriting sales techniques. He is sought-after for his integration of direct mail, catalogs, email marketing, websites, content marketing, search marketing, retargeting and more. His identification of USPs and copywriting for clients has resulted in sales increases of 15 percent, 35 percent, and even as high as 60 percent. Today he integrates both online and offline media strategies, and proven copywriting techniques, to get clients results. Email him or follow Gary on LinkedIn. Co-authoring this blog is Perry Alexander of ACM Initiatives. Follow Perry on LinkedIn.