Direct Mail Strategy: Mind the Gaps
3. Check out pe.usps.com. This USPS Web site is a great time-saver for uncovering USPS information about mail piece addressing, design, ZIP codes, zone charts and more. For example, you can click on the “Mailpiece Design” link to access contact information for mail piece design analysts in your area.
4. Stand out in the stack. Direct mail always has been visual, tactile and three-dimensional; now it’s constantly morphing and changing as a result of new technology and new applications for existing technology. Consider testing:
• Translucent vellum outers—with sleeves or traditional envelopes—to showcase the contents of your mailing. These are carriers that double the “wow” power.
• Postcards with a built-in retention piece such as a credit card-thick postcard with a pop-out gift card. It’s unique, tactilely appealing and encourages retention.
• Cloth envelopes are a standout in even the tallest stack of mail. It’s a carrier that begs to be opened and reused.
• Credibly handwritten fonts are particularly appropriate when used on greeting cards or other mailings that require verisimilitude to maximize their openability and effectiveness.
5. Double the impact of your postage investment. Include “Preferred Customer Only” promotional offers on account statements or bounceback offers in outgoing shipments. These are effective tools for strengthening relationships with customers, generating additional sales and getting more from every dollar you spend on postage.
6. Engage readership and retention with personalization. While a personalized letter once meant including the recipient’s name in the salutation, creative possibilities now abound. For example, you can send a letter with a personalized magnet embedded into it—not glue-tipped onto it. Think of all the ways you could use customer data to provide a “personally meaningful” magnet reminder to, for instance, get an oil change for your 2006 Honda Accord or return for your annual dental exam in May 2008. The possibilities are limited only by your creativity. But remember my cautionary note: Have a strategically sound reason for all that you do; don’t resort to cute and clever for the sake of cute and clever.