Part II: Psychology of the Mailer
In part one, published in February, we talked about why now is the best time to releverage the power of psychology within the mail piece. With many best offers already out there and lists cleaner than ever, the creative-20 percent of the deal (within the notion 40 percent offer/40 percent list/20 percent creative)-should be tweaked or overhauled to reflect the current environment. Today, that means a mass of prospects more uncertain, skeptical and reluctant to respond than in decades.
To approach these folks on their current level, employ copy drivers-fear, guilt, anger, greed, exclusivity, salvation, patriotism, need for approval, convenience, pleasure, scarcity-all over the mail piece, particularly in the letter. Persuade! Provoke! Empower! Feed! Conjure up! Awaken!
It's what great copywriting always has been about, and there's no better time to apply the potential power of a mailing's "psychology." In essence, you're doing two things that are no easy feats (and that's why
some seemingly great packages flop while some rather pedestrian ones succeed): climbing inside prospects' heads and then somehow getting them to take action. Here's how it's done, as recommended by some of direct mail's leading voices.
Get in Their Heads ... and Stay There Until They Respond
Method Marketing. It's a term that our group president, Peggy Hatch, came up with in the 1990s, and it was the title of direct marketing guru (and her husband) Denny Hatch's 1999 book. Its subhead-"How to make a fortune by getting inside the heads of your customers"-said it all. In "Method Marketing," he tells the stories of several method marketers who "got inside the heads and under the skin of the target audience and created such persuasive messages that people sent in their money, and businesses were created. "What businesses? We're talking such significant ones as Covenant House, Boardroom, J. Peterman Co. and Agora Publishing.