Sometimes we’re so close to our own direct marketing efforts that we don’t see them clearly. And sometimes we get so wrapped up in all the techniques, measurements, and procedures that it’s hard to evaluate whether the mailing we’re about to do will be effective. Here are four simple questions you should ask (and answer) before you put a stamp on that next mailing.
What’s the BIG Message?
Having a big message doesn’t necessarily mean having a lot of words. Some direct mailings have lots of words—but there is no cohesive message running through the mailing. There may be all kinds of little pieces of information (pricing, features, reviews, etc.) but you’d be hard pressed to say what the mailing is actually about. Marketing isn’t just about getting a message out—it’s about getting the right message out. What does your audience really need (and want) to know? What ONE thing do you want prospective clients to know when they are done reading your mailing?
What Do I Need to Do?
Of course your mailing isn’t just about disseminating information, either. You want recipients to do something with the information. What is it exactly you want them to do? Tell them that clearly. Give them a specific call to action. Think about this before you start writing your copy.
Can I Actually Do It?
It doesn’t do any good to create a specific call to action if your audience can’t actually take action. Have you ever had a friend call and tell you to meet her in 30 minutes—and then forget to tell you where she is? You can’t act on the information even if you want to. If your mailing asks someone to call, make sure there’s a phone number (and someone standing by to take the call). If your mailing points to a website, make sure the link works and than it takes interested parties to a landing page with the exact information they are looking for.
Am I Motivated to Do It?
Even a concise message, with a clear call to action, and a concrete way to follow through won’t work if your audience isn’t motivated. Are you giving them a good reason to act? What’s your offer? Is it really something they want? Put yourself in their shoes. Would you give up your email address or phone number for what you’re offering to give them? If not, head back to the drawing board and think about what will motivate someone to respond.
These four questions are critical if you want your mailing to succeed. But if you really want honest anwers to these questions, however, don’t try to answer them yourself. And don’t simply rely on the feed back of colleagues who will probably tell you what they think you want to hear. Solicit the help of someone you trust from outside your company or organization. Have him or her go through your mailing and then answer the questions. Then you’ll know whether you’re hitting the mark or not.