5 Copy Tips for Better Direct Mail Response
Target Marketing recently published a terrific article on generating responses with direct mail. It doesn’t point to data-driven personalization, multichannel integration, or psychographic targeting, although all of these are important strategies. The article talks about the basics of effective marketing. We’ll summarize the points here and illustrate them with a TV commercial most of us will recognize: “Not You” from Realtor.com.
1. Create an either/or scenario.
In this scenario, there are two options: use your product, and things go well, use the other guy’s product and invoke disaster.
2. Use a real-world story to illustrate the consequences of the two choices.
Realtor.com does a great job with this. In the TV commercial, two women are looking at online pictures of the house one of them is buying. A third woman shows up and complains that this is the house she wanted. There are two primary characters here: you, who used Realtor.com to find and purchase the house quickly, and “not you” who didn’t use Realtor.com and missed out. Whether we’re in the market for a new home or not, this is a scenario with which we can all relate.
3. KISS — keep it simple.
Direct mail isn’t the place to get technical. You are creating a scenario and tapping emotions to make your point. In the world of direct mail, simple sticks.
4. Focus on solving a problem.
Realtor.com does this especially well. Problem: I don’t want someone else to get the house I want. Solution: Use Realtor.com. Everyone understands this simple problem-solution scenario.
5. Use images to evoke emotion.
In direct mail, you have a matter of seconds to convince the recipient that the piece is worth their time to pick up and read. People process visual information much more quickly than text, so use images to your advantage!
Direct mail is a powerful tool for getting a message into people’s hands quickly. Use these tips to make the most of the opportunity!
Why You Need a MultiChannel Strategy
We live in an era of gadgets. Research shows that 94% of people have their cellphone within arm’s reach at all times, consumers are shopping on tablets while watching television, and more email is opened on mobile devices than a desktop. Customers continue to move into a multichannel world, and responsive marketers need to go there, too.
Channel integration isn’t something marketers can afford to ignore. According to Target Marketing’s Media Usage Survey, 37% of marketers’ 2016 budgets went to online marketing, 29% went to print (direct mail, magazines, newspapers), and 21% went to live events. The rest was split between radio, television, and space advertising.
Even as direct mail remains the bedrock of highly effective marketing campaigns, digital components are increasingly part of the mix. According to Target Marketing, the following digital channels are growing the most rapidly:
• Online advertising (54%)
• Email (49%)
• Mobile marketing (38%)
• Search engine marketing (41%)
• Search engine optimization (43%)
• Social media engagement (55%)
• Social media advertising (49%)
Consumers’ lives are multichannel, so marketing is increasingly multichannel, too.
The multichannel approach also produces better results. In a data analysis of retailers, McKinsey found that the more channels customer use to engage with the store, the more they spend on an annual basis. Customers who shopped both in store and who used catalogs spent three times more than those who did not. When Internet marketing is added to the mix, revenue grows by four times. Likewise, customers who shopped online spent four times as much when catalogs were added to the mix and six times more when they also shopped in store.
How the Brain Responds to Print vs. Digital
One of the marketing surprises of the last few years has been how strongly Millennials—the smartphone and fully wired generation—respond to direct mail. In fact, according to “USPS Mail Moments 2016,” Millennials are more likely than other generations to read, organize, and sort their mail than all other generations. They are also less likely to discard their mail without reading it.
Why do even so-called digital natives still respond so strongly to print? Could it be, in part, how we are wired? The answer is yes. Neuromarketing research shows that our brains react differently to printed material than to digital media.
To more fully understand how the brain reacts to physical vs. digital mail, the United States Postal Service partnered with the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business to gauge responses to physical and digital advertising pieces. Researchers used brain images, biometrics (e.g. heart rate and respiration), eye tracking, and questionnaires to measure reactions.
They found that:
• Participants processed digital ad content more quickly.
• They spent more time with physical ads.
• Physical ads triggered activity in a part of the brain that corresponds with value and desirability.
• Participants had a stronger emotional response to physical ads and remembered them better.
Canada Post found similarly intriguing results in its neuromarketing research project. They measured the response to campaigns that used the same creative and messaging for both physical and digital media.
They found that:
• Direct mail campaigns required 21% less cognitive effort to process.
• Participants’ recall was 70% higher if they were exposed to direct mail rather than a digital ad.
• Activation in parts of the brain that correspond to motivation response was 20% higher for direct mail.
As human beings, we are wired to respond more strongly to physical, printed messages. For marketers who want advertising with long-lasting impact and easy recollection, printed materials can clearly make a difference.
Excerpted and edited from the USPSDelivers.com presentation “Still Relevant: A Look at How Millennials Respond to Direct Mail” (2017).