Don’t Muddy the Waters! Present a Clear Message in Your Direct Marketing


DonGÇÖt-Muddy-the-Waters-Present-a-Clear-Message-in-Your-Direct-MarketingThere’s always someone taking exception to something these days, mostly because they understood it differently from the way it was intended. The same thing applies when you’re putting together a direct marketing campaign. It’s challenging to present a clear message to your audience without allowing room for misunderstandings.

There’s often no way to tell how someone is going to interpret the message, so you have to make sure it’s absolutely clear to avoid leaving your reader confused about what to do next.

Here’s how to make sure you do so and prevent recipients from forming erroneous conclusions:

#1: Identify the Purpose

Every direct marketing campaign should have a specific purpose. No, it’s not enough to say you want to increase sales or awareness! You need to ask—and answer—questions such as:

  • By how much do you want to increase awareness?
  • In what geographical region?
  • Which specific product line are you promoting?
  • How will you determine the success of the campaign?

Having this information at your fingertips will make it possible to target your campaign directly at the customer persona you want to reach, which will deliver better results than a broader campaign.

#2: Select the Message

Choose a primary message and up to two secondary ones that you want the reader to take away from the mailing. Anything more than that will dilute your message and your reader is less likely to retain the important aspects. List these three items as the basic “story” you want to tell with your campaign. For example, if you offer event management services for real estate agencies, your story board could look like this:

Main message:

We offer a complete service from start to finish

Secondary messages:

We have strong experience in real estate

Our services are affordable for small businesses

Now that you know what you want to say, focus on formulating your content to present precisely those three messages and ignore everything else. That’s not to say you shouldn’t include information about that huge conference you did last year, but don’t make it a focal point. Use it only as supporting evidence for your small business services or you’ll muddy the waters.

#3: Formulate the Content Creatively

The language you use is as important for getting a clear direct marketing message across as your direct mail design. For example:

  1. Make each piece of text actionable by sticking to active voice, e.g. “Let us organize your next event” rather than “You should allow your next event to be organized by our company.” It sounds obvious, right.  You’d be surprised how many people think they sound more business-like when they use passive voice.
  2. Open with verbs where possible (like this list!)
  3. Use direct speech in the second person (you, your) and a conversational tone.
  4. Stick to plain language and avoid jargon wherever possible. Yes, it’s necessary to use industry terminology here and there, but skip anything that could lead to confusion.

#4: Format for Easy Reading

Text, text and more text is just boring, boring and more boring. You need to find a way to present your story in a way that’s appealing to the reader. Use a mix of elements to make each message stand out, such as:

  • Bullets and number lists
  • Boxes and banners
  • Graphic calls to action
  • Subheadings
  • Images and captions

Don’t forget the white space, either; it helps to keep your mailer looking clean and uncluttered, and enables you to draw the reader’s eye on to the next step.

Use these tips to help you present the right message in your direct marketing campaign and you’ll generate a higher number of sales leads as a result.

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