Direct Mail Strategy: Show Them How Much You Care
This greeting card succeeds because of the strategic use of customer data—in this case, the date I signed up for the rewards program—combined with the creative execution. It’s appropriate and strategically well done.
Based on what I’ve been receiving in my own mail, the greeting card format is being used by an increasing variety of marketers. This includes retailers, who sell everything from jewelry to sunglasses to tires, as well as financial service providers.
Some are custom creations, while others are stock designs from major card manufacturers. And while the majority of the greeting cards I’ve received have been consumer mailings, B-to-B marketers also can use them.
The “triggers” for sending a greeting card can be anything from a birthday or customer anniversary to a special holiday, “thank you” or unique sales event.
Here are the key elements that work together to make the format compelling and effective:
Objective: Is your goal goodwill and loyalty, or are you trying to generate a sale from the greeting card message? Either way, make sure you can track, measure and analyze the results from your mailing. Otherwise, you won’t know whether or not you’ve met your objective.
Size: The format size (approx. 5-1⁄4˝ x 7-1⁄4˝) is 90 percent of the reason the envelope gets opened. We’ve all been conditioned to look forward to receiving and opening this size envelope since we received our first birthday cards as children.
Postage: Although a “live” postage stamp (presort or otherwise) is the best fit for the highly personal nature of the format, weigh your postage options and the savings they offer. A preprinted indicia doesn’t necessarily have to work against you. When in doubt, test live vs. preprinted postage. You may see little or no difference in response.
Addressing: Depending on how the return address is shown in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope, the type face (serif, sans serif, script, irregular handwriting, etc.) used to address the envelope may or may not be critical. If the goal is to make the envelope look extremely personal, a handwritten font is more appropriate. If the return address includes a company name or logo, you probably won’t sacrifice response using a serif or sans-serif type face. But it’s worth testing. Remember, it’s all about verisimilitude and how the format size, addressing, return address and postage work together to delight your reader.