B-to-B insights: Let’s Get Physical
However, in many instances, direct mail can generate more and better qualified leads than email marketing (though not always, of course). In addition, some industries, like insurance, find direct mail, not electronic marketing, to be the workhorse of their direct response campaigns.
A growing trend for direct mail is to omit the response device and drive recipients to either a toll-free phone number or a URL. But a recent test by a conference promoter suggests this may be a mistake.
The conference promoter meant to offer Web and phone as the only response options. But at the last minute, the promoter decided to add a paper registration form to the mailing. Result: Of the 793 registrants, 320 sent back handwritten registrations (bit.ly/poE3u4).
I have found that adding an order form to a direct mail piece, or a coupon to an ad, can actually lift online and phone response. Reason: The order form or coupon is a visual indicator that tells the reader to respond.
Also known as structural graphics, dimensional mailers are paper mailings that unfold into three-dimensional shapes. The response rates are sometimes multiples of conventional 2D control mailings.
For instance, John Deere sent a mailing that unfolded into a paper replica of a tractor. The paper tractor was folded up inside a box along with a USB memory stick containing photos of the tractor.
Iggesund Paperboard, a manufacturer of virgin fiber paperboard used in packaging, sent a structural mailing to promote its Invercote, a high-end grade of paper. The dimensional mailing generated 400 percent more replies than a previous marketing campaign.
One of the most famous physical mailings was the free CD mailed in enormous quantities by AOL to sign up new customers. All the mailings contained the CD, though AOL experimented with the outer carrier, testing (among other things) a metal CD box.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.