J&C Blog

Find all the latest marketing trends on the J&C Blog.

6 Reasons Direct Mail Packages Flop

Posted by Creative Collection on June 10, 2014

Your mailing looked great. The list was ideal. So why in the world did it flop so badly? If one or more of these red flags is present, it’s time to rethink your creative.

1. Message isn’t crystal clear
If you’re lucky, you have seven seconds to grab a prospect’s attention. In fact, your potential customer is probably standing over a garbage ready to throw away your mailing. In that moment, you must explain: A) what it is you’re selling; B) how it’ll make their life better; and C) why they should keep reading. To do all that, your message needs to be absolutely clear. Leave the clever headlines and fluffy set-up copy to the branding folks. Every good direct marketing agency knows that if a prospect has to think about what you’re trying to say, your mailing is going into the circular file.

2. There’s no offer
After the mailing list, an offer is the single most important part of any mailing. If you don’t include an offer (or don’t make your offer prominent), you seriously handicap your direct mail efforts. Also, make sure your offer is tied into what you want to accomplish. Are you looking for sales leads? Offer a free white paper on a hot topic. Do you want higher sales volume? Consider discounts for multiple purchases.

3. Little or no segmentation
Personalizing someone’s name is a good start. But there’s much more you can do. List segmentation provides the insights you need to make your message more relevant. And relevant messages have higher response rates. For instance, leverage past purchase behavior to suggest new products or show a retail location near the prospect’s zip code. Talk to a direct marketing agency such as Jacobs & Clevenger for other ways to segment your mailings.

4. Little sense of urgency
Everyone is busy. We’re all looking for a reason to put something off until we have a little more time. But once your mailing has been filed away for “later,” it’s likely gone for good. Strong direct mail packages counter this tendency. Instead of an open-ended pitch, your mailing should include a date by which the reader must respond. Ideally, this date should be tied to an offer (see #2 above) and positioned as an expiration date. The fear of missing out on something valuable can be just the push you need to move prospects from “hmmm, sounds interesting” to “guess I better call about this tonight.”

5. Isn’t easy to scan
Everyone is busy. Sense a theme here? If you expect prospects to read several paragraphs of copy to find out what it is you’re selling, your mailing is in trouble. Instead, make sure your solicitation is easy to scan. Use lots of subheads to break up content. Include short bulleted lists instead of paragraphs. And if your bullets run long, bold the first few keywords of each bullet. As a rule of thumb, prospects should be able to get all the information they need to make a purchase decision without ever reading the body copy.

6. Call to action gets lost
People tend to pull mailings apart when they look at them. Some folks read the letter first. Others prefer to scan the brochure. Many prospects go directly to the response card for a quick summary of the offer. So if you only list your call to action in one place, it can easily get lost. Your mailing should have, at a minimum, three strong calls to action sprinkled throughout the various components. What’s more, each call to action should give customers multiple ways to respond: phone, mail or web. You might also consider using icons as response triggers. These graphic elements are a great way to draw readers’ attention to this important piece of real estate in your mailing.

Direct Mail Best PracticesAn award-winning direct marketing agency, Jacobs & Clevenger provides clients with the tools and resources they need to boost response. Click here to download J&C’s Direct Mail Best Practices ebook and enhance the performance of your programs.

Topics: Direct Marketing

Recent Posts