Does Your Direct Mail Deliver?


Does-you-direct-mail-deliverWhen your direct mail piece is delivered to the correct destination in a timely fashion you tend to breathe a sigh of relief, but—has it really delivered?

Direct mail is supposed to do more than just arrive. It’s supposed to generate response. It’s intended to get people to do something. If it simply sits in the mailbox or lies there on the kitchen table, it’s not doing its job. “Mission accomplished?” Not by a long shot!

In order to fulfill its purpose, a direct mail piece has to be read. And in order to be read, it has to be opened. Are you giving your prospective clients a good enough reason to open your direct mail package? Or are they taking one quick look and tossing your mailing in the trash?

What is it that motivates someone to look inside? (In case you were wondering, writing, “Look inside!” doesn’t really do the trick)

Over the years, direct mail experts worked on all kinds of ways to get recipients to tear open that outer-envelope. They tried teasers. They made promises. They designed visual cues. Some worked. Some didn’t. There is one approach that works every time: A hand-addressed, invitation-style envelope with a live stamp will always get opened. Is this a foolproof secret to direct mail success?


You see the problem isn’t just getting people to notice and open the envelope. It’s not even getting them to read what’s in there. If you trick people with an invitation envelope and then on the inside you tell them, “You’re invited to try ACME Rug Cleaners for a Special Introductory Price of $39!” they won’t be happy. You may trick them once, but it will never work again.

The real way to get people to open your direct mail is to promise them something inside that they really want. Not some cheesy trick. Not some gimmick. Not some “bait-and-switch” tactic. Offer them information that’s valuable to them—and then deliver it!

You’ve got to give people a reason to read on—and to respond. And that principle holds true whether you’re sending a letter, a flyer, or a card. Whatever your teaser or headline promises has to have value to the reader. And then you have to live up to your end of the bargain and deliver that value.

By the way, sending out a hand-addressed invitation envelope with a live stamp is a perfectly acceptable (and effective) approach—if you’re inviting customers or prospects to an actual event.

If you want your direct mail efforts to produce results (responses, leads, and even sales), you’ve got to do more than just make sure the Post Office delivers it to the right address. You need to deliver the goods as well!

Chances are that direct mail isn’t the only “arrow” in your marketing “quiver.” Here’s a helpful post that talks about how you can integrate your direct mail efforts with the rest of your marketing plans.

Why You Need Both Push and Pull Marketing