The Psychology of Direct Mail
You may think that direct mail is pretty straightforward. You send an offer to someone who hopefully wants it, and they respond. Well actually, when you look closely, really good direct mail uses psychology. Before designing the layout or writing the copy, taking the time to dig deeper into your audience can be a big payoff. Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context. So if we want to create direct mail that the recipients can’t help but respond to, we need to get into their minds.
Let’s break down how best to profile your audience:
- Identify Their Pain/Pleasure Points – this is the driver of human behavior
- Find a Novelty – something new or unknown to them
- Find the Why – show them how great it can be
- Make it Easy – easy to read, easy to understand and easy to respond
- Find What Makes Them Curious – when you spark curiosity they make more of an effort
Once you have all of the information above, you can start to create designs and copy that appeal directly to your audience. In many cases we are targeting different segments at the same time, so create separate designs and copy for each segment. Let’s look at both design and copy while focusing on psychology.
Design can be broken down into five areas of focus:
- Instinctive – create the reaction no one can resist
- Opportunity/Threat – create the feel of opportunity with the offer and the threat of what happens if you don’t do it
- Number of Options – keep it simple, too much and it will be thrown away
- Patterns – eye pleasing and creating contentment
- Selective Disregard – this is an automatic process, make sure your design is not disregarded
Here are a few psychological tricks for your copy:
- Position – people remember what they saw first or last, not the middle
- Unusual – is easier to remember
- Rhyme – people trust and remember them
- Repetitive – the more often the message is seen the more true it becomes
If you can pull the right triggers with your direct mail design and copy you are sure to get an increase in response. Careful thought, purposeful design and well worded copy are the foundation of great direct mail. Make sure to consult with your mail service provider to make sure your designs are not a problem with the post office. You don’t want to waste your money on extra postage if you can make the changes ahead of time. If at all possible consult with a current customer or prospect on your design and copy. Their feedback can be invaluable to keep you from making costly mistakes or providing a new idea you had not thought of.
A blog about Direct Mail Marketing, tips, tricks and what not to do.Summer Gould is President of Eye/Comm Inc. Summer has spent her 27 year career helping clients achieve better marketing results. She has served as a panel speaker for the Association of Marketing Service Providers conferences. She is active in several industry organizations and she is a board member for Printing Industries Association San Diego, as well as a board member for Mailing Systems Management Association of San Diego. You can find her at Eye/Comm Inc’s website: eyecomm.org, email: email@example.com, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @sumgould.