Contrary to some reports, direct mail is not dead. Yes, the Web offers opportunities to communicate with prospects in some cost-effective ways, but direct mail is still vital to striking a chord with customers. The thing is, now more than ever, it’s important to find ways to make your mail stand out from the pack and save money at the same time. Here, direct mail experts offer tips to develop successful, cost-effective packages.
1. Use a personalized self-mailer. Personalization is a must these days, but doing a match mailing can become quite costly very quickly. With that in mind, Gary Michelson, circulation director for South Norwalk, Conn.-based magazine and newsletter circulation management firm Circulation Specialists, helped develop a magalog self-mailer with the recipient’s name and address highlighted, along with a personalized reply form. The personalization was embedded on the back image with a window for the address, and when folded out, the back side of the image had the reply form.
“We wanted to do it in such a way that it didn’t have to be a match mailing, from a production standpoint, to keep our costs down,” says Michelson. “Our designer just looked at it and figured that image could fold through, and it could just be imagined as one process and save us a fair amount of money.”
2. Integrate other channels. While direct mail is still effective, it works best in concert with other channels. Xerxes Irani, creative director at visual image and creative company Veer, suggests driving audiences to the Web with URLs and PURLs, and even developing mail campaigns that incorporate more information/activities online. For example, Veer created a secret society campaign with riddles and a members handbook that compelled recipients to visit Veer’s Web site to interact more with the campaign.
Tracy Gauson, corporate communication and public relations manager at Veer, adds that her company was able to eliminate paper reply forms due to the URL, but she stresses, know your audience. Dropping the paper BRE isn’t for everyone.
3. Make the copy sing. No matter how great your mailer looks, people won’t respond without strong copy, Irani stresses. “Great copy can almost supersede or be on the same level as great design,” he says. If the copy is compelling, useful and relevant, the likelihood of a response is greater—no matter the length. Shorter isn’t always sweeter.