Direct Mail Strategy: When Less is More

Direct-mail-strategy-when-less-is-more.jpgThere’s a good chance you’ve heard the phrase, “Less is more.” It’s a saying that was adopted by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1947 as one of the precepts for minimalist design and architecture. Over the years, the phrase has been associated with an uncluttered approach to many disciplines. The basic idea is that the presence of too many elements confuses the image or message or purpose.

It’s something we actually see in direct mail fairly often. A business may decide to do a mailing to promote an event or advertise their goods or services. They know direct mail is still a powerful marketing tool (when done properly). But then they start looking at the money they are investing (for copy, design, artwork, printing, mailing and postage) and they are tempted to think they should use this direct mail vehicle for more.

For instance, a company may decide to try to kill two birds with one stone. “As long as we’re promoting the Open House, why don’t we also mention our new service agreement?” The thinking is that the information about the service agreement rides along for free. Unfortunately, having two messages generally reduces response. Recipients aren’t sure what to respond to—so they don’t respond to either. “Doing more” ends up generating less response.

A second form of “doing more” is cramming too much information into a mailing. This tactic rarely works in today’s economy. Unless someone has specifically requested detailed information from you, they probably don’t want to read everything you send them. Instead, you need to use your mailing to entice your audience. Make them curious. Promise helpful information. Then drive your readers to a unique landing page or microsite where they can select as much (or as little) information as they want. That’s a classic example of less (smaller amounts of intriguing and promising information) being more. If you’ve done it right, people will request more information.

Direct mail still moves people to action, but the way it elicits a response has changed over the years. Don’t be afraid to say less in order to generate more response.Direct Mail Best Practices