Insights From the Field

5 Steps To Breathing Life Into Your Direct Mail

1: Use Postcards. Postcards do not require opening. A letter requires time to open, unfold and actually read. Consequently, a letter will, almost 10 times out of 10, end up in the recycle bin. Unopened.

An even better advantage is that postcards cost less to make and mail. In some cases you can save over 75%!

2: Have A Clear Message. Use An Attention Grabbing Headline. With each mailing the message you communicate must be clear.

Remember K.I.S.S.? Keep It Simple, Stupid. Less is more when getting your point across.

Also, your headline should address some sort of concern your customer may have. Don't be afraid to be a bit extreme. Customers respond to the idea of life or death situations.

Example: "What Happens If Your Brakes Fail? Is Your Family Safe?"

3: Make 'em An Offer They Can't Refuse. Offer Value. Most people are starving for value. So many companies offer so little in return that when someone actually does, consumers are almost programmed to ask, "What's the catch?"

Don't have a catch. Be honest, open, and full of value.

A good idea would be to give them something free with no strings attached. But watch out! Never offer something that will eat up your time and cost more than it's worth. The trick here is to find that hidden value, that mysterious gem your new customers will flip over. It must also be easy and low cost to produce.

4: Have A Call To Action. Make It Time Sensitive By creating a sense of urgency, you create a feeling of scarcity in the recipient's mind. And by having a call to action, you give them a clear message of what they must do to take advantage of what you offer. Example: "Limited Time Only: Free Brake Inspections For Every Car before (DATE)" Just remember to give your customers enough time to pick up the phone!

5: Don't Pull The Trigger Once... You Need To Keep Shooting! Much like the scenes from any video game, you have to shoot your target 3 or 4 times before he falls down in defeat, and the same can be said for the American consumer.

In almost every advertising instance, frequency, clear communication, and repetition are the only 3 elements that will work. But they must be used together. Having a clear message and only sending it once doesn't cut it. You must have a clear message and send it multiple times!

Drew Turnbaugh is America's leading authority on communication-based auto repair advertising, and founder of The International Automotive Network (IanAuto). IanAuto is responsible for helping facility owners reconnect with consumers while growing their business by becoming local information resources.

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