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Great opening lines in direct marketing

Posted by Creative Collection on June 12, 2014

Copywriters, especially those who work in response marketing, know that envelope teasers are extremely important. The same goes for email subject lines, the envelope teaser’s not-so-distant digital cousin. In fact, nothing good happens unless the teaser or subject line does its job. That job is to move readers along to the sales message. It’s that simple. However, it’s surprising how often these key components are treated as an afterthought.

Well, this is one direct marketing agency copywriter who is going to make amends. Following are some successful strategies marketers can use to get the most out of these direct response workhorses and ensure application of direct marketing best practices.

Here is a list of 6 great envelope teaser strategies:

1. Tell readers what’s inside. Avoid teasers that merely pique readers’ interest. Instead, use plain language to say why your mailing is relevant. Be specific about what’s waiting inside. If your prospect is interested (they should be if you have a good list) you want them to know so they don’t throw away your mailing.

2. Show deadlines on the outside. Procrastination is a second nature to most people. An offer with a deadline is a great way to lift response and a core direct marketing best practice. But why hide it on the inside? Bring that powerful tactic to the outer envelope as well. If the deadline date is printed as variable data inside the package, consider a second window on the envelope so readers can see it.

3. Promise a benefit. Tell readers why you’re going to make their life better. For instance, “One call could save you $150 on car insurance.” Benefit-driven messaging is a common marketing practice and direct marketing best practice.

4. Don’t sell…yet. Your goal at this point is to get the reader inside and maybe set the stage for what’s coming. A brief recap of the offer or the single main benefit is all you need. Save the bulleted list of benefits and call to action for the inside.

5. Get serious. For some products and services, a serious approach works the best. Test an envelope that uses a very simple, fact-based style of copy. For instance, a credit card mailing might read “Notice of pre-approved status.” The reality is that both consumer and business decision makers are onto us marketers. Don’t assume promotional or gimmicky language will be well received.

6. Say nothing at all. Forget everything you just read above. Because, in some cases, having a blind outer works best. No logo. No teaser. Simply a plain white envelope. You also might want to test the size and color of the envelope.

Email subject line strategies tend to have similar characteristics and a few nuances. Check out this list of 4 techniques to get your emails opened.

• Don’t try to be clever. Consider this: The average email user receives 9,000 emails a year. So you’re better off (from a response standpoint) writing in a simple, clear style. That’s because unless the user understands what you’re offering right away, the user is reaching for the dreaded delete key.

• Make it feel urgent. Urgency has long been proven as one of the tried-and-true direct marketing techniques. Your subject line has to sit alone next to many other subject lines vying for your prospect’s attention. Help it stand out. Try leveraging copy that makes your email seem urgent. Incorporate words like “final offer” or “enroll now.” Just be careful to avoid SPAM triggers.

• Include your company name. If your company is well known or you’re sending an email to an existing customer, leverage the name to overcome email credibility concerns and boost your open rate. Likewise, if you’re marketing a known product, consider testing the product name in the email subject line.

• Use 35 or fewer characters. If your subject line is too long, prospects won’t be able to read it. It gets cut off in the viewing pane. That’s especially true for the growing number of people who read your email on a mobile device. They see even fewer characters.


Topics: Direct Marketing

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