Reply Devices That Really Deliver
Reply form. Order card. Action device. Whatever you call it, there’s no denying that little—or sometimes big—slip of paper carries a lot of weight.
As Carol Worthington-Levy, partner, creative services, at consulting firm LENSER, asserts, “People will head right for the reply form first, and then they head for the letter. … There is a mind set and a cultural training that has us looking for the one piece in a mailing where it says what [we] need to do to learn more or get this product or service.”
Case in point is the voucher format that has been dominating the publishing world for years. Often, the voucher—like the double postcard that came before it—is little more than a reply device in an envelope. That this stripped-down format has worked so well, for so many, for so long is a testament to the importance and power of this component.
But while direct mail experts the industry over agree that a strong reply device is integral to the success of a direct mail effort, there is little consensus about what that ultimately means. With all of the factors that impact a reply device and make it unique to any given effort, such as the package format, the tone of the piece, the product or service being sold and the overall marketing objectives, there is just no one definition of what constitutes a winning reply device—other than to say that if it works, it must be good.
So (in true direct marketing spirit) instead of trying to define the features that make for a great reply device, what follows is a breakdown of some of the benefits you may want an order form to deliver—no matter what kind of package, product or purpose you have—and a few tactics you can mix and match to help you get there.