My dad is not a big fan of direct mail. When I’m over at his house, he’ll gesture at some well crafted direct mail piece and with a well-aimed, good-natured grin in my direction, laugh at the pointlessness of it. One day I noticed something nestled neatly under the TV remote. ‘Is that a flyer?’ I asked triumphantly if in a slightly accusatory way. ‘You hung onto something that came in the door?’, I mocked. ‘That’s different’, he said defensively…that’s….
….Useful’. And with that, the first rule of direct mail was shining like a beacon from the coffee table. If you’re a copywriter and can get your DM piece through the first day without it landing in the bin, you’re doing something right. If it’s still hanging around the house after two days, you’re really in business. And if it’s still there after three days, taking pride of place with phone books and coasters or even lounging by a potted plant, you’ve hit the jackpot. The longer it’s held on to, the better your chances of it being used.
How you do that is the key. Different things work for different target audiences. But being ‘useful’ is usually what it comes down to. From calendars to measuring tapes and from handy hints to solid advice, if it comes through your door, it has to be worth holding on to. Direct response sales letters can be an exception but they can often also work well days after coming through the letterbox. If it’s a brand building piece like a newsletter, introductory brochure or even a postcard, it’s got to say something helpful or be useful in some way.
So, that’s simple. Think of your target audience, think of how they digest content and get information. What do they want to know? Well prepared DM campaigns that are playing the long game will educate and inform first and sell second.
And that goes for B2B too. If you think of a typical workspace or workstation, things can stay on your desk for a day or two even if you are not fully engaged with them. Even as you read this, your eye may be drawn to a menu from a local lunch deli or that free car wash token you’ll get around to using eventually. Both very useful in their own way…
Direct mail in print works – you just have to know how.
(And no, I’m not telling what worked on my dad. But it was impressive though all the same!!)
If you’re having trouble coming up with a great DM idea or would like the help of a professional copywriter, get in touch. I’d be glad to help.