Believe it or not, marketing through direct mail is still a valid tactic. For one thing, people love getting mail, especially when it’s personalized to them. For another thing, everyone’s email inbox is already overflowing with offers and advertisements both personalized and generalized, so one more email is likely to get lost in the shuffle—whereas an attractive flyer, a handwritten envelope, or a compelling brochure received through direct mail is much more likely to get noticed.

Plus, people process and comprehend text differently when they’re reading it on a page rather than on a screen. Studies have shown that people are more likely to understand and remember things they read on paper. There’s a whole science behind the way the brain assimilates written information, and if you want more proof, you can read about it in the Scientific American.

Convinced? Good. If you’re ready to try a direct mail marketing campaign, here are some basic direct mail best practices to help you succeed.

1. Make it PERSONAL. 

Junk mail that’s obviously junk mail gets tossed right in the trash. It takes more than a stock letter with a blank space for the recipient’s name to grab their interest. Your mail needs to be instantly recognizable as something personal and relevant. Try handwriting the recipient’s name and address on the envelope, or jotting “Hi there, ____!” in the lower-left corner. If it’s clear that an actual human being played a role in the mailing process, the message will already seem more meaningful.

The content inside the envelope needs to feel personal, too; otherwise the content gets trashed (and so does your integrity in the eyes of your customers). If you want to go all out (and if it fits your brand), you can personalize whimsically, by incorporating vivid visual elements that will resonate with your target audience and adjusting the tone of your content to match the tone in which they’re most comfortable speaking and being spoken to. Just make sure the graphics and content are consistent with your brand’s usual voice (see our blog post about brand voice for more info).

Also, take care to avoid obscure technical terms or unfamiliar acronyms or abbreviations. You don’t have to “dumb down” your content—the average American consumer is probably smarter than you think they are—but make an effort to be clear and comprehensible to everyone.

If your brand is more straightforward than playful, you can still personalize your content in a way that’s meaningful and effective. Mention the last item the recipient bought from you and ask how they like it. Include a testimonial from someone your recipient can identify with. Thank your customer for their business. At the very least, you can include the address and business hours of your company’s nearest location so the recipient knows where to find you.

2. Know your audience.

It’s hard to get personal with someone you don’t even know. Therefore, you should put a lot of effort into learning everything there is to know about your target audience: their jobs, their environment, their living situation, their income level, their values, and especially their “pain points”—the problems they have that your products or services can help address. Keep your marketing data updated to avoid sending your message to the wrong audience. People work, recreate, and shop much differently in 2020 than they did even a year ago, before the pandemic.

3. Include a call to action.

Make it specific (“Call now!,” “Visit our online store,” “Sign up for coupons,” etc.) and as easy as possible to follow. Provide the phone number they need to call, the URL they need to access, and any other details that may help them answer your call to action. A good strategy is to repeat the call to action throughout the text, and to place it away from the main text where it will be easily noticeable, like in a postscript or a sidebar. Repetition seems obnoxious on the Internet, but it actually helps people reading on the page to remember and absorb your message.

4. Have a larger plan.

Like any marketing tactic, direct mail works best when part of a larger, well-planned marketing strategy (see our post on tactics vs. strategy for more on this). But you don’t have to figure it out alone; Absolute Holdings Group can help you strategize and execute your strategy for maximum profit. Give us a call or reach out to us on social media for more info on how we can help guide your business to success!