6 Winning Direct Mail Campaigns

Direct mail offers results that other channels just can’t match.

According to a recent study, direct mail has a response rate as high as 9%. However, there are always ways to engage your audience better and improve your mailers’ effectiveness. These methods below catch your recipents’ attention and increase the chances that they’ll read and respond to your direct mail piece. 

6 Winning Direct Mail Campaigns

1. Instill Curiosity with a Quiz

Do you worry your direct mail envelopes are going in the trash unread?

Take a page from Harvard Medical School’s playbook. In a recent mailing to woo subscribers for their Harvard Heart Letter newsletter, they put a heart health quiz on the front. The answers to the three-question quiz were inside the mailer, giving recipients a reason to open.

2. Benefits, Not Features

As marketers, it’s so easy to get caught up in promoting all the neat features of your product.

Your readers, however, don’t care about that. They care about how your product can be of benefit to them.

HelloFresh hit the mark with a February 2020 mailer that highlighted three big benefits to ordering their kits. At a glance, readers could see that the service could save them time, save them money, and offer more variety.

3. Leverage Testimonials

Research shows that a recommendation, whether from a friend or a stranger, has a lot of sway on reader opinions.

In fact, 70% of people will trust a recommendation even when it comes from someone who they don’t know. 

Florida Gulf Coast University used the power of testimonials by putting recommendations from past students right on their mailing postcard. Having names, faces, and a glowing recommendation from current students helped convince potential attendees that the school is a good choice. 

4. Use the Magic Word

No, not “please.” The powerful word that gets your mailer a second look instead of a quick trip to the recycle bin is “free.” 

A March 2020 mailer from Estee Lauder catches attention with bright coloration and a prominent offer for a free gift when people visit their counter inside Macy’s. Offering a gift is a way to get people inside your brick-and-mortar location, where there is an increased chance that they’ll take the opportunity to buy.

5. Catch the Eye with Familiar Forms and Images

When Nestle was promoting their Kit Kat Chunky bar in the UK, they used a familiar image — a Royal Mail card about an undeliverable package.

However, instead of the normal reasons for failure to deliver, recipients learn that the free chocolate bar Nestle intended to send them was “too chunky” to fit through their mail slot. The mailer served as a coupon to get a free bar to try from the store.

6. Invite Recipients to Interact with Your Mail Piece

To raise awareness for World Water Day in Belgium, the organization demonstrated the importance of water in an innovative way.

They sent a postcard that could only be read after the reader held it under running water. This tactile trick increased engagement and also got the group a viral bump on social media.

No matter what your business, it’s possible to catch readers’ eyes and attention with your direct mail pieces. Think about how to evoke your recipient’s curiosity, which can lead to engagement and conversion.

6 Tips to Improve Your Printed Newsletters

Online ads, digital promotions, and e-newsletters bombard recipients daily.

Much of this information is being deleted or filtered out without ever being read. Because of this, printed newsletters are making a comeback, and more businesses are using them to keep their customers current with what is happening. 

Regardless of whether the company is already sending out a newsletter or debating on starting one, it is good to learn new ways to improve it. Here are some tips to help improve printed newsletters. 

6 Tips to Improve Your Printed Newsletters

1. Exclusive Information

Offering exclusive information in a newsletter or a special incentive for signing up can help increase the mailing list and encourage recipients to read it.

Information can include unique advice from the CEO, advance notice for special announcements, or information someone can only receive if they read the entire newsletter. Special incentives can include discounts for products or services, gifts, or invitations to special events. 

2. Article Focus

When writing articles for the newsletter, it is essential to make them fun to read and provide valuable information.

By offering valuable information, readers become informed about products, services, or events, which lead to future sales. Encourage employees to contribute and write articles to provide more variety in writing styles and topics. 

3. Add Personalized Content

Create newsletter articles for the individual needs of specific groups.

Writing for targeted groups may require multiple newsletters to achieve; however, it may be worth the investment if a business targets multiple groups of people. For example, a major real estate company may want to create two newsletters, one for those who need real estate information to buy or sell homes and then a second newsletter for real estate agents. 

4. Use Color

Color attracts the eye and draws people in, encouraging them to continue reading.

Color animates everything, and one of the most popular newspapers — USA Today — implements lots of color in its papers. Use color to complement the article topics and other images within the newsletter. 

5. Placement of Images

In addition to using color to attract readers, the placement and use of images and photos will help draw readers.

Many will look at images and read their captions first before reading the article. Use photos and images that help better explain an article and be visually attractive for newsletter skimmers. One tip to keep in mind is to use the dollar bill test. It should be possible to place a dollar bill anywhere on the newsletter, and it should be touching an image.  

6. Offer an Online Option

Though having a printed newsletter to read in hand is preferred by many, some still want access to the same information online.

Create a section on the website to include links to PDF files or online versions of the newsletter. For example, The Disney Company has printed The Mickey Monitor for years to send out quarterly to annual pass holders to its theme parks. However, the newsletter is also accessible online. 

Nonprofits and groups are also offering printed newsletters online as a virtual reference. When signing up for the newsletter from Widowed Persons Service, recipients can select to receive a printed newsletter or one via their email. 

When done correctly, a printed newsletter can attract attention and be an excellent tool for a company. Regardless of the newsletter’s purpose — boost sales, attract new clients, or educate employees — there is sure to be a return on the investment associated with the costs of printing the newsletter.

Why 2021 Direct Mail Marketing for Food Businesses Retail Still Matters

While people are finally able to obtain a vaccine for COVID-19 and the ability to travel, move around, shop, and dine out is increasing, restaurants have a long hill ahead of them before getting back to a business “normality.”

In fact, entire behavior patterns have changed in people after a year of completely living at home and avoiding regular work presence, school, commuting, and traffic. And that means businesses have to work extra hard in diversifying how they produce income and revenue channels to stay viable.

Many restaurants realized early the only way they were going to stay in business was to boost their ability to handle delivery, ordering out, pick up, and other forms of fresh-cooked food transfer to customers who could no longer dine in.

While people generally tried producing their food regularly at home, overall, Americans are used to picking up and eating out. So, the demand never actually left; it was stifled by COVID restrictions.

However, even now, many communities are still maintaining social restrictions to prevent new COVID infections until vaccinations are fully in place at every age level. That means restaurants and food preparation businesses have to continue leveraging direct mail to be heard, seen, connect and remain on the attention radar of customers.

4 Reasons Direct Mail Works

1. Direct mail is almost always local.

The most likely customers that can and will visit a restaurant from the surrounding area are the primary target for print mails.

2. Direct mail marketing for food businesses is significantly lower in cost than other marketing channels.

This is a key factor for food businesses that are already strapped and trying to stay in breakeven with the loss of income thanks to COVID.

3. Direct mail has a higher return on investment.

The return on investment of a simple print card mailer can be thousands upon thousands of dollars when a customer responds to an included call to action.

Add in the additional benefit of discounting, and that same customer is likely to buy even more, increasing a business’s revenue and cash flow per sale.

4. Direct mailers should be designed to be re-used.

Customers love the ability to use a marketing tool or coupon repeatedly.

And that creates both business retention and a greater amount of income stream for a restaurant or food business, again the primary goal of the effort in the first place.

Now is the Time

Restaurants and food businesses that rely on retail traffic shouldn’t be waiting for social restrictions to lift further.

Marketing for food businesses takes time to have a positive effect, which is why direct mail efforts need to be sent out on a cyclical basis, pushing and reminding folks of a restaurant’s presence and availability.

As people keep being reminded, especially as they start commuting to work again, the food business will become viable and convenient for a warm meal, even if it is still takeout or delivery. Card stock direct mailers can help tremendously. So don’t wait for the market to reappear. Get out there and chase it now!

How to Inspire Action with Highly-Engaging Postcards Marketing

What do dentists and direct mail have in common?

New clients! Direct mail has proven to be a remarkable investment for small businesses of many kinds, especially for entrepreneurs looking to grow their client base.

Dr. Diep Truong (of Viva Dental) gave direct mail postcard marketing a try in 2011. After streamlining a process for mailer design, demographic targeting, and ROI reporting, this Indiana-based facility consistently experienced a 400% ROI on their postcard campaigns, with a 50% conversion rate of inbound calls for scheduling appointments.

As 2020 kept people closer to home, attentiveness to direct mail has grown. As a result, response rates are high, and now is the time to invest in sharp, unique direct mail campaigns! Postcards are a particularly good investment, with oversized postcards garnering one of the highest direct mail response rates.

According to recent statistics, 23.4% of consumers say they would respond to relevant postcards of interest to them (compared to 7.9% for letter-sized envelopes).

Ready to wade into the water of a new postcard campaign? Here are a few steps to success in 2021:

Take a Multi-Pronged Approach

One of the biggest trends direct mail is seeing is the consolidation of online and offline advertising.

Take a multi-pronged approach to generating leads, so your social media ads prompt curiosity, but your print ads pack some punch with greater neurological impact.

Keep it Simple and Succinct

People are busy, and if they’re going to look at your mail, they’ll need a good reason.

Make sure your postcard leaps off the counter with unique imagery, splashy colors, a memorable catchphrase, or an unbeatable offer. And remember, when it comes to direct mail, less is more. Postcards that are sharp and straightforward will communicate much more than those packed with content.

Grab Emotions

According to one Harvard marketing study, 95% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously.

If people’s hearts are in the driver’s seat, then direct mail should aim straight at this target. Research shows that the primary emotional appeals that prompt action are:

  • Fear
  • Greed
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Flattery
  • Exclusivity
  • Salvation

Experiment with Specialty Branding Features

Because postcards are so economical, there’s lots of room to add embellishments.

Try haptic coatings, embossed logos, foil-flecked accents, or even scents.  When Sunsilk co-creations wanted to snag more customers, they decided to add an experiential element to their designs. Its gorgeous lime and hot pink postcards came with a tiny shampoo sample attached and a scented trial as well: “scratch to smell the new fruity fresh fragrance of this apple-coconut shampoo!” Customers may not sniff shampoo in the store aisle, but a scented postcard is irresistible!

Specialty branding makes a stronger impression on readers as they physically interact with your marketing. So build curiosity and engagement with these fresh, creative designs.

Postcards Marketing Inspire Action

Postcards are distinct, direct, and easy to read.

50.9% of people say they find postcards useful, and direct mail as a whole is especially inspiring to young people. Because many people today are glued to their phones, millennials, in particular, say that postal mail inspires them to action much more often than email (in fact, 30% say direct mail is effective in getting them to visit a website, go to a store, or make a purchase).

When you are ready to take your postcard marketing efforts to the next level, sign up for a personal consultation with one of our mailing experts. Our work-in-progress partnership will simplify each step and position your business for maximum impact!