Ugly Mailings that Make Millions (1,396 words)
Looks can be deceiving, as the old saying goes. And it's espcially true when it comes to the mail. Often, what you might call "plain Jane" direct mail packages get the job done as well, if not better, than their fancier counterparts. Why?
The answer is simple, really: These successful mailings were not designed to be beautiful; they were designed to get response...because that's the name of the game in our industry.
Highly successful direct mail pieces—long-term controls that have made a lot of money for the companies that mail them—don't necessarily have slick brochures, colorful poly envelopes or expensive interactive devices (not that you never want to use these approaches, because there's certainly a place for them). But many top-notch mailings succeed without those expensive elements. Instead they use good, solid copywriting, simple but effective design, strong offers and some response boosting tricks of the trade like tokens, premiums and power words like FREE.
Plain Janes that WORK
We've talked ad nauseam in this publication about the most successful advertisement in the history of the world: The Wall Street Journal's "Two Young Men" control package that's been in the mail for over 18 years and generated over a billion dollars in revenue. What makes it a standout: great copy that speaks to the needs and wants of the reader WSJ is trying to reach.
The writer, Martin Conroy, gets inside the head of the prospective reader with a story about "Two Young Men." It is inferred, not stated, that the more successful of the two men was a reader of The WSJ. (Note: The idea of getting inside the heads of your prospects is a great one to try for your next creative effort, but fair warning here: Do not "steal" the story of two young men. Even if you try to disguise it, you could get snared since this is a copyrighted mailing. It's been tried before, and the folks have been caught.)