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Difference Making Direct Mail Strategies

In 17 years of helping turn catchy and creative direct mail ideas into reality, we've dealt with some real stand outs. For 1•2•1 MSG, this has sometimes meant reconfiguring production lines or inventing new processes or even adding extra employees. It's not always easy, but we're glad to do it to help our clients' messages get noticed. Our list of top-performing direct mail strategies:

1. Make It Secret

Humans are curious beasts. If the envelope is oddly lumpy or reveals only a tantalizing sliver of its contents, nearly 100% of recipients will open it because they just have to know what "the lump" is. Of course, the contents must deliver on the tease or the package will be discarded as quickly as it was opened, but most direct marketers agree that getting the package opened is at least half the battle.

2. Make It Useful

Include something in the mailer that the customer can actually use. Post-Its, notepads, pens, magnets and the like can all be customized with corporate information economically. Recipients are much more likely to keep the useful item than the mailer it came in, and in doing so, will retain your messaging for longer.

3. Personalize It

This strategy may seem like old hat, but with advances in data management and printing technology, personalization is no longer a simple game of "your name here". (Most consumers are numb to this old-style, impersonal personalization anyway.) Communications can now be tailored to the recipient's purchasing behavior and shopping preferences in a much more natural and, ultimately, motivating way. The more truly a personal a message is perceived to be, the better chance it has to trigger action.

4. Flip It

Instead of building excitement toward a value proposition indirectly as is common direct mail, just open with it. For example, instead of "See Great Offer Inside!", use "Great Offer X Is Yours!" This tactic not only grabs the recipient’s attention more directly, but it forces the issue of whether the offer really fits the recipients. If response is low, it is clear that the value proposition itself needs attention.

5. Sample It

Including a product sample instantly turns junk mail into a much more valuable communication tool. Recipients are sure to open the package and, because they've already committed to interacting with the sample, are more open to absorbing other messaging. It's a great way start your ongoing customer engagment on a positive note. Several companies specialize in creating product samples. They can help with interactive programs increase your brand's ROI.

6. Stamp It

Consumers can tell when a piece has been mass-mailed. Using a stamp (and a handwritten font) can help your direct mailer achive the look of a personal letter. And, as we mentioned above, who doesn't want to open a personal letter? Again, the content must be captivating or the recipient will quickly lose interest, but at least the goal of getting the recipient to open the mail has been achieved!

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