Deepening the Experience
The goal of every direct mail piece is to get the recipient engaged with said piece, but that's easier said than done—with everyone strapped for time and inundated with myriad marketing messages.
It surely doesn't hurt to have your direct mail piece embody your company's unique selling proposition (USP). That's something Boston-based educational tour provider Explorica took to heart in its latest prospecting mailer. Using a 5-1/2" x 8" self-mailer, Explorica slaps its newly launched USP—"The experience is everything"—directly on the outer, along with a beautifully shot photograph of a student looking out at the French scenery, which includes the Eiffel Tower (Archive code #501-717811-0908).
The piece then plays off that "experience is everything" mantra, making the experience with the mailer a rich and deep process. The mailer unfolds with another eye-catching photograph along with descriptive copy to the right that begins, "At explorica, we know that educational travel is a vital part of a complete education ..." and ends with, "Because at explorica, the experience is everything." The mailer then unfolds upward, with more images of students immersed in their educational travel experiences, and there is yet another unique fold at the bottom with the business reply card. "We used a compelling cover shot to reinforce our tagline of ‘the experience is everything,'" explains Alexa Poulin, Explorica's director of marketing. "Having the piece uniquely unfold allowed us to unveil the details and deeper experiences of traveling with Explorica in a large space. Every layer is drawing you in."
This test was mailed to teacher prospects, segmented in different groups—i.e., Spanish teachers, French teachers, art teachers and a general pool of teachers—with slightly different versions to reflect the appropriate travel experience. Sent in August for the back-to-school season, this self-mailer was part of a newly unveiled integrated campaign to showcase Explorica's new USP. Created in-house, the campaign was launched in concert with Explorica's new website, which is reflected in the mailer with a call to action to visit the website to learn more about its educational travel experiences. "All of our marketing materials that went out for back to school-it was very much an integrated campaign," shares Poulin.
That online feel extends to the interior of the mailer. Laid out in a website-like fashion, there is plenty of white space, so as to not overwhelm the prospect, and small bits of copy, such as two testimonials from high school teachers and a section that details a couple highlights from three cities Explorica students travel to.
On the bottom fold-down piece, Explorica displays its offer and calls to action. The offer, "Free Membership On Select Tours," is emphasized on both sides of this fold-out, with the copy "Don't Wait—Limited Time Offer!" when students sign up for select tours by Sept. 30, as well as a link to visit and a phone number to call. "Anyone who signed up in that time period would get the free membership, but there were details around the qualification for it, which is what the landing page talks about," details Poulin. "The call to action was to get more information on the landing page to draw engagement to our website, but also the call to action was to call us, where they could talk to a sales agent directly."
So far, the results have been good. Poulin says this mailing is performing better than other prospecting pieces from the past, and Explorica plans to run it again with updated images and a higher-grade paper stock-and perhaps even a little more white space "so the offer stands out that much more," according to Poulin.
Preprint for Ease
Sometimes, something as simple as filling out a business reply card can be the difference between response and recycling. Prospects often don't want to take the time to fill a form, and the longer the form, the less likely for response. So try a preprinted BRC that requires little effort to fill out, like education travel provider Explorica did in its back-to-school prospecting mailer. "The preprinted BRC is working great for easy response back," says Director of Marketing Alexa Poulin. The simpler, the better.