Direct Mail: New Year’s Mistakes


mistakes-to-avoid-in-new-year-direct-mailAfter the holidays, most people take a rest from shopping, bargain hunting, and analyzing selections at competing stores. However, retailers experience no such reprieve. We understand retailers must keep profits up after the holidays, and how frustrating it can be when potential shoppers don’t respond to direct mail material. In fact, direct mail often ends up in the garbage, but if you avoid certain mistakes, customers will search out opportunities to visit your store and purchase your products. Today, we’ll look at a few common direct mail mistakes and how to avoid them.

Using Cluttered Copy

It’s said that online, a website has three clicks to make an impression. If people can’t find what they need in three clicks, they leave the site. In print, that window of time is even less. Most people automatically assume fliers are junk mail without really looking at them. To avoid this, make a statement quickly and make it effective. Front-load advertisements with verbs and strong adjectives, and front-load websites with trending words that SEO easily recognizes. Don’t clutter your copy with numbers or fine print. If your message is about a clothing sale, focus on the benefits of the items sold instead of discounts. People usually get sidetracked when they see those and then get bogged down in fine print. Also, add photos and colors to your copy, but don’t overdo.

Broadening Too Much

When using direct mail, go to in-house lists first; this includes anyone who has a store card or gets other frequent shopper benefits. Then, tailor your sales and products to those people first. Let’s say you run a religious bookstore and you know your in-house customers always buy Bibles and reading plans during the new year. Focus on that in your mailings rather than new music or self-help books. Once you’ve finished with in-house mailings, analyze what new customers may want and what items would persuade them to sign up for in-house benefits.

Using Poor-Quality Copy

Most companies edit their direct mail materials the best they can, but not everyone is an experienced writer. Thus, small spelling or grammatical errors can slip by unnoticed until after the material prints. When people see poor quality on a direct mail flier, they learn not to trust the people who put it out. They also learn not to shop at the direct mailings’ store, because people who don’t appear to care about their own promotional materials allegedly don’t care about their customers. Use grammatically correct copy and double-check for spelling and punctuation errors.

Relying on Clichés

A major reason direct mail fliers and other materials are thrown away this season is their reliance on clichés. Retailers keep up with times and dates, and that’s good, but they usually overdo it. For example, a gym owner probably won’t get anywhere if he frames his material with a “New Year, New You” angle. Nor will he get anywhere if he makes references to the elusive New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Both these angles have been done, and they also assume everyone wants to make a radical change in their appearance, when most people drop weight to have more energy and feel healthier. Come up with fresh ways to frame your products. For example, the gym owner could draw new members in with information about new high-tech machines or healthy smoothies.

Direct Mail Best Practices