Psychological Tactics That Increase Mail Response
The two go-to components of a direct mail campaign—the list and the offer—may not (and often cannot) change much, as lists are better targeted and cleaner than ever before and many companies, especially in this economy, are giving potential customers "best offers" already.
Yet for many mailers, response is down because of tough economic times that many prospects are facing. What are mailers to do? Turn to psychological tactics that have worked for decades in direct mail, and which may be the cure-all for your current campaign.
If we accept famed direct marketer Ed Mayer's 40-40-20 rule (40 percent lists, 40 percent offer, 20 percent everything else), then psychology only makes up a portion of that 20 percent. But the emotions that the mail piece is able to stir in the prospect (and cooked up in advance by the copywriter) may determine whether he responds or not, or if that package lives or dies in today's harsh climate.
1. Get the Offer Across
"I think in this economy marketers have to work harder at getting it right," says Bob Martel, principal consultant at JMB Marketing Group, located in Marlborough, Mass. "They have to understand the perceived value and give people a compelling reason to part with their hard-earned money—whether it's B-to-B or consumer—because you are competing for their shrinking, expendable revenue right now. So a smart marketer knows how to do that with good copy and an offer that doesn't give away the store, but uses the psychology of marketing to get the points across."
One of the big (40 percent) parts of the package—the offer—relies on such psychology to convince prospects, often quickly and forcefully, to take it. That doesn't necessitate an overhaul of the package, which is good news to budget-conscious mailers. Indeed, it can mean a shift in copy rather than design. "To find the offers that work best in a down economy, instead of new creative, look at offer tests and copy platform tests. If you do test creative, I would test copy as opposed to design," recommends Grant Johnson, president/CEO of Johnson Direct in Brookfield, Wis. and author of "Fairytale Marketing."