Direct Mail Back to Basics: 7 Tips to Boost Response in Today's Crazy Economy
If you rely on direct mail to bring in business, you've probably had a bumpy ride the last couple of years. There are signs the economy is starting to rebound, but it's still a little scary out there.
I don't recommend you run and hide as some businesses are doing now, but I do recommend a little caution when mailing.
Just as customers are more prone to avoid risk in these uncertain times, you should try to avoid unnecessary risk in your marketing efforts. This is the perfect time to remind yourself of a few basic principles that drive direct mail marketing.
1. Sell Things People Want
In general, direct marketing is not about creating markets but locating existing markets. It's a business-to-buyer avenue of selling that is streamlined, efficient and profitable—but only when a market wants what you are offering.
For example, a few decades ago only hard-core geeks would buy a computer by mail. Computers were neither understood nor wanted by the general public. Now, such purchases are common because a wide market exists.
2. Sell Solutions to Problems, Not Products
No one cares about your widgets. What they care about are their own needs and wants. Bob doesn't want a drill, he wants a hole. Mary doesn't want a dress, she wants to look thin at the party this Friday. Alice doesn't want an investment newsletter, she wants to find a great investment that will let her retire at 45. Ted doesn't want a recipe book, he wants new ways to impress his friends at dinner parties and generate the compliments he thrives on.
3. Appeal to Emotion First, Reason Second
Most direct marketers are number-crunching, logical people. It's easy for us to fall into a cold, left brain, bullet-pointed, 714-reasons-why type of sales pitch. However, people make decisions in the right brain based on emotion. Then they justify that decision with logic. To set up a sale, appeal to emotion first. Then, to close and confirm the sale, use logic.