Give Me One Good Reason to Open This Envelope!


Give-me-one-good-reason-to-open-this-envelopeThese days it’s not enough to “send out a mailing.” No business can afford to spend money on marketing that doesn’t pull its weight. If you’re going to use direct mail, you need to make sure that what you send out generates a response.

So what can you do to generate responses to your mailings?

The lottery has an extremely clever tag line: “You can’t win if you don’t play!” The (unstated) call to action is clear. If you want even a possibility of winning, you have to buy a ticket.

Something similar applies when you’re doing direct mail: “A mailing that doesn’t get opened—and read—has no chance of generating a response!” It’s not quite as catchy as the lottery’s slogan, but it is every bit as true. If the people to whom you are mailing don’t even open your letter or flier, you have no chance of generating a response. None!

You’ve got to give readers a good reason to open your envelope and read what’s inside.

So what can convince someone to do that? Here are a few ways to keep your mailings from being tossed unopened into the recycle bin.

Ask a compelling question

If you know your audience, you should know what kind of questions they have. “How Can You Choose the Right Floor Plan for Your New Home?” is a good question for a potential homebuyer. “How Much Money Will You Need to Retire?” is a compelling question for someone approaching retirement age looking for financial advice. Gear your questions to your specific audience—and make sure you address it inside the mailing.

Offer a genuine benefit

People are looking for something that will really help them. The days of “Save 5% off your bill” just don’t cut it anymore. It’s not a big enough incentive. As a matter of fact, price is probably the last thing you want to address. It makes people wonder why you’re cutting your prices. It’s OK to say something like: “See inside to learn how you can cut your utility bill by 20%!” That’s a benefit. Or you might save someone time: “Discover how to paint your home in half the time.” Just make sure you can deliver on your promise.

Address a legitimate fear

This one is a little tricky. You don’t want to manipulate people or play on their fears. But if you can address a legitimate concern they have—and actually offer help in solving the problem they’re concerned about, you have a good shot at getting them to hear what you have to say. But you don’t want to simply stir up their emotions. Offer help for solving a problem.

Take a look at your last mailing. Did you give readers a good reason to open it and read what’s inside? If they don’t play, you can’t win.

Direct Mail Best Practices