Recently, I received a phone call from a B-to-B marketer in Denver who said he needed help beating his 10-year control mailing. There’s no bigger, more rewarding and more frightening challenge than being asked to try to beat a control that’s withstood years of testing. What does it take to overpower a direct mail workhorse that has been in the mail for 10, even 20 years? While I’ll quickly admit I don’t have a perfect track record, I’ve had the chance to learn from what’s worked and what hasn’t. What follows are some tips for you to try as you develop your own control-beating
Pat Friesen & Co.
Have you ever received a piece of mail that prompted you to think, “Oops! I wonder what they were they thinking when they mailed me this?” My first tip for avoiding these direct mail blunders is to put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving your mail. Do this and you’re almost guaranteed to avoid the following problems. Timing Is Everything This past Nov. 24—the day before Thanksgiving—I received two different holiday gift catalogs already proclaiming, “It’s not too late—Christmas delivery guaranteed!” and, “There’s still time to order!” With Christmas more than a month away, the “It’s not too late” message is
If you can get people to spend more time reading your direct mail, you’re likely to generate more response One of the most eye-opening things I’ve learned during my 25-year career of writing direct mail copy is that people don’t read every word I write—even those who truly are interested in what I’m selling. And they certainly don’t read it from start to finish. Instead, most people scan copy, looking for reasons either to keep reading … or toss it. Even those who ultimately respond spend less than three or four minutes reading the copy it took you (or your writer) days or weeks
Add greeting cards to your customer contact repertoire. I have a confession: I am a saver. I save price tags. I save trade publication articles. I save greeting cards. And I save direct mail pieces. These last two combine quite well, as I have plenty of samples of greeting cards used as direct mail. Consider using greeting cards as a viable format in your direct mail marketing. A growing number of companies are using greeting cards to build loyalty and increase sales. With the holiday greeting card season just around the corner, now might be a good time to test the idea. But don’t
The format appears more popular than ever, so be sure yours stands out in the mail. After years of being ignored as an effective direct mail format, the postcard finally is center stage. Marketers send postcards touting everything from pizzas to office equipment. It’s also the format of choice for generating retail, Web and trade show traffic. While postcards once were thought too small to tell the whole story—not compelling enough to grab the reader’s attention and loaded with creative limitations—today, on any given day, my mailbox holds two, three or more. In fact, recently I found a stack of seven postcards nestled
These are exciting times for all of us involved in direct mail. If you’re wondering whether direct mail—the traditional workhorse of direct marketing—is dead or even dying, the answer is a resounding “No!” However, it is changing. And to be successful with your 2004 direct mail efforts, you need to be a part of the change. Times Are Changing Thanks to the now-famous Do-Not-Call Registry, direct mail is being reconsidered as a viable medium by many who had thought of abandoning it. Of course, those of us who understand the strategic value of direct mail have never thought of it as not viable.