Returning To the Basics: Direct Mail Best Practices

returning to the basics direct mail best practicesWhen direct mail strategies work, they work wonders. When direct mail strategies don’t work, they can be a huge drain on company resources. The best practices for direct mail should bring you back to the basics. Why does direct mail work, and how can your business capitalize on it?

Don’t Make the Same Old Mistakes

If you are implementing a direct mail strategy, don’t assume that the mail you send out will automatically convert recipients. Direct mail works when it is targeted toward the right people and offers the right information. It’s not all about discounts—customers appreciate your company when you share information that is useful and relevant.

Useful Information

Necessary information is crucial when planning a direct mailing strategy, so don’t skimp on the content. While the online marketing world relies on concise snippets of information, direct mail should include carefully calculated (and carefully written) content. For example, in order to generate leads, a little less information is better than more. Still, if you’re looking for responses, you should definitely include enough information that your reader isn’t left entirely in the dark.

What this does not mean is that your direct mail should have giant blocks of text, which leave no space for your reader to breathe. You’re informing your potential customer of a service, not writing the great American novel. Bold key points and bulleted lists are great ways to break up text, get the attention of the reader, and direct readers toward the most important information. These tactics capitalize on a reader’s tendency to scan over information. Gain their full attention by optimizing the readability of your direct mail content.

Summarize and Simplify

In addition to bulleted lists, including a small summary at the end of the bulletin (maybe in the form of a P.S.) will actually help readers understand your call to action – as it happens, almost every reader will read the P.S. before the rest of the content.

If you haven’t thought about the design of your mailing, now is a good time. Make sure it is simple and direct. Sections should be defined, headlines should be readable, and the overall look should be consistent. Good printed design means that your prospective customers are looking where you want them to look. That said, don’t be afraid to get creative – creative design can still be visually simple, even when it’s very inventive. An embossed design or an interactive feature can work wonders: the trick is to make sure that these design choices are consistent with your content and don’t detract from your message.

Allow Options for Responding

Did you know that almost a quarter of direct mail recipients prefer to respond the old-fashioned way? These target customers will opt to mail back a form rather than switching to an online form, so include an enrollment form printed with the mail. All customers like to choose the way they respond to a mailing, so make sure that you also add a phone number as well as a URL or website link, and make sure that the online form is easy to fill out.