Anybody involved in direct mail marketing knows that getting your mail to a recipient’s mailbox doesn’t mean that it’s delivered. Having the right list, of course is critical. Making sure that the mail is properly prepared and accurately delivered as economically as possible is really important. But just getting there doesn’t do you any good. Nothing is going to happen unless someone opens that mail and reads it.
How can you make that happen?
I’ll never forget TMR Direct founder, Gerry Amber, addressing a group of mailers at an educational seminar one day and telling them about one sure-fire way to make sure their mail would get opened. Gerry is not a particularly demonstrative person, and he’s not one taken to making grandiose claims, so this seemed a bit out of character. But he had everyone’s attention. Everyone wanted to know the secret to having their direct mail package get opened.
Gerry held up a hand-addressed, stamped, invitation-style envelop, showed it to the crowd, and guaranteed the businesses and organizations present that if they sent the same type of piece to their mailing lists, the letter would get opened.
Gerry was onto something. He knew that people actually like getting mail if it holds the promise of being personal and valuable. A hand-addressed invitation is personal and holds the promise of containing information someone really wants.
There were some drawbacks to what Gerry suggested. This kind of mailing is time-consuming and (relatively) expensive. Still, to the right audience it can be extremely effective. And there’s one other thing that Gerry mentioned as an absolute essential.
What’s in the envelop has to deliver what it promises.
If you send hand-addressed, stamped, invitation envelops to people, you better be inviting them to a party or a special event—and not giving them a sales pitch. People may love getting personal, valuable things in the mail, but they hate being deceived.
And that was Gerry’s big point. Getting your mail opened—and even read—isn’t the goal. Getting people to respond is the goal. What does that mean for your direct mail efforts?
Remember that people really do want information that’s personal and valuable. If you have information that can help your potential clients solve a problem or answer a question, make sure your direct mail piece promises that up front—loud and clear. But then, make sure you deliver the information that you promised.
Don’t overwhelm people with information, but let them have as much as they want. HowIntegrate your direct mail with your website. Give customers enough information to demonstrate how you can help them. Then drive them to your website (to a specific landing page) where they can access as much (or as little) information as they want.
Once you get people to your website, show them the same respect and consideration that you do with your direct mail. Don’t hit them with a sales pitch. Make it easy to find the information they want—and give them the opportunity to respond and request additional information that they want.
What’s the sure-fired way to get your mail opened? Make it personal, make it valuable, and make sure it delivers what it promises. But remember that getting opened isn’t the final goal. Give people what they want and your mail will continue to be opened. Trick people into opening your mailing and the next time it will land—unopened—in the trash.