5 Quick Tips to Drive Direct Mail Responses

Would you like to get more responses from your Direct Mail campaigns? We’ve blogged about Direct Mail Design a few times recently. There’s another important aspect in generating responses; the quality of your message. 

Your ‘copy’ needs to work with your design to capture your recipients attention. Here are our five quick tips for creating an effective message.

1) Remember, Humans Aren’t Logical!

We like to think we are logical, but when it comes to prompting action appealing to logic just doesn’t cut it. Rather than laying out a logical argument or relying on “common sense” reasoning which will largely be ignored (or at least rapidly forgotten), try a different approach.  

If you want to be memorable try some of these approaches instead; create tension, engage curiosity, be intriguing, create surprise, ask questions and prompt your recipients to think.

(For more info on creating tension in your messaging try these two great articles from Very Good CopyMind ControlProblem Agitation Solution)

The goal is to stand out, to be remembered amongst all the other advertising ‘noise’ your recipients see and hear every day.

2) Keep It Simple…

The more information we are presented with, the more ‘congnitive load’ we experience, and the less likely we are to make a decision.

Have you ever had that feeling of ‘information overload’, that right now you can’t take in any more information? That’s the effect of too much cognitive load.

If you want to maximise responses, minimise the options, simplify the design, make it as easy as possible for the recipient to understand and then to do the one thing you really want them to do (your Call To Action).

3) Tell A Story

Humans are ‘hard wired’ for stories, they resonate with us and we seem to find them easier to remember than plain facts, logic and information. This is the reason that memory championship competitors use techniques like Mnemonics, Memory Palaces, and Memory Journeys; they are telling themselves a story to help them recall the information later.

Make your mailing more effective by telling a story, building an analogy that allows the recipient to place themselves in the situation you are describing, to see how it works for them before they’ve even tried it.

Stories help us understand complex messages, and also engage our emotions, which in turn make the stories themselves more memorable.

This is another reason that customer reviews and testimonials, (often known as social proof in marketing circles) are effective; someone else “like me” telling their story generates empathy, understanding and engagement.

4) Draw Them In With Headings

Most people think they read left to right, top to bottom on a document; but they don’t!

The headings and sub-headings are critical in ‘drawing in’ your recipients to read more, as they catch the eye first; readers will sub-consciously skim through them in order of apparent priority (just like you did to the image above!).   

Structure the headings so they tell a compelling story on their own, exciting interest and making the reader want to read the rest of your document (and ultimately respond to your CTA).

5) Don’t Squeeze It In

The most effective Direct Mail pieces feel complete, a single thing, words and images working together. The easiest way to achieve this is to work on copy and design at the same time; write the words around the images and select the images that fit the words.

Don’t rush the copy as a last minute afterthought to the design, allow yourself time to write it, put it down, reflect on it, and re-write it.

Get some other people to read it too; ideally people who haven’t been involved in it’s creation who will give you their real first impression.

Bonus Tip; Don’t Forget The Basics

We hope our five tips above will help you generate a great response from your mailings.

As a final tip, make sure you’ve also checked all of the basics too; a beautifully designed mail piece with wonderful compelling copy can be ruined by a misplaced comma!

Checking the spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure of your copy will ensure your mailing hits home with your recipients and has maximum impact.

We hope you find our 5 Quick Tips helpful and effective in driving responses from your Direct Mail Campaigns.

For more helpful hints, tips, guides and info you can find us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn, or feel free to speak to your account manager if you have any questions or need any help.

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