Direct mail advertising often ends up in the trash. Figuring out how to avoid this with compelling written content is every marketer’s goal. The mailing needs a “hook:” a phrase, statement, or image that will draw in readers and convince them to read the rest of the paper. There are a number of factors that are important to an effective hook, and a few tips for writing a good hook are listed here.
1. Keep it short.
The phrase “short, sweet, and to the point” should be applied to a good marketing hook. They must be no more than a few words; a catchphrase that grabs readers’ attention and convinces them to keep reading. As a general rule, ten words is a good limit.
2. Be direct.
Get to the point. Readers in the modern world appreciate transparency and bluntness and recognize when something is being sold to them. The best way to be successful is to be up front about your sales attempts and treat them with humor.
3. Be helpful.
Tell your recipients how you can help them in the title of your mailing, making the material immediately about the reader. If he or she believes you truly want to help them, the reader will be more willing to become a paying customer.
4. Be surprising.
People in general have become very cynical about advertisements and “junk mail,” which leads to direct mailings often being thrown away unread. Do something different and unexpected with your mailings. Effective video marketing campaigns like the Old Spice commercials and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge were effective in part because they were surprising; people wanted to see what would happen next.
5. Use current events.
People are interested in reading about current events. Direct mailing is an unexpected place to find news, but this method can catch your recipients by surprise. Encourage recipients to read the rest of your advertisement but relating it to a relevant topic.
6. Use active language.
Write your hook in language that evokes thoughts of action; it will resonate more with the reader and be more likely to encourage action.
7. Try a question/answer hook.
Some years ago Geico used an advertising gimmick of asking rhetorical questions with humorous punch lines. The commercials were very popular because they engaged viewers and made them think about what the answer might be. Direct mail advertising can use the same strategy; ask a question to engage the reader, and provide the answer inside the mailing.
8. Personalize the mailing.
Most college letters to graduating high school students have mastered the art of personalized content, with graphics as creative as the student’s name written in the sand or spelled out with fall leaves. There are simple digital tricks that marketers can use to make each mailing personal, which makes the readers feel important. Show the recipient you appreciate their taking the time to read your advertisement.
Try these tips to improve your direct mail marketing campaigns and increase your company’s success.