Direct mail is seeing a renaissance as spam filters capture more emails before they ever reach their destination.
Effective direct mail not only needs to land in the hands of your target market, but it also needs to have the right look, feel and message to “speak to” the recipient and influence his or her behavior. Think about the people you are trying to reach and the setting they will be in when receiving the mailing. The receiver will probably respond differently based on the type of direct mail. A request for $200 for a worthy charity should look different from an offer to clean the recipient’s carpets for $200.
Do your own analysis to see what makes you read and respond to direct mail under various conditions. Over the course of a month, create two piles: “read and consider” and “discard”. Then try to figure out why you made that determination.
• The type of paper: Is it high quality stationery or a lighter weight flyer?
• The envelope: Is there an envelope at all? If so, is it a window envelope? Is your address lasered onto the envelope, applied by a label or hand written? Was there a message on the outside of the mailing?
• The message: Did you receive a quick read announcement or a letter that makes a case for you to respond? Are you likely to respond because the message is compelling or because the offer is reasonable and comes when you are ready to buy? Does the message fit the image you have of the sender?
• Variable data: Are you addressed directly? Is a reply card already filled out to make it easy for you to respond? Or are you one of thousands?
• Postage: Does your mailing have a first class stamp or is it pre-sorted bulk mail?
Circumstances surrounding the mailing may have an impact on how you view the variables mentioned above.
• Where did you receive the mailing – at home or at work?
• Is the requested response on behalf of yourself or your organization?
• Is this one of many mailings you receive from the organization?
Once you have completed your analysis, think about your target audience in the same context to determine the type of direct mail that is most likely to get their attention. As always, including a tracking system in your responses will help you determine which of your approaches works best.