5 Messaging Tricks to Drive Direct Mail Response

The following post was originally published by Target Marketing. To read more of their content, subscribe to their newsletter, Today @ Target Marketing.


We all need to reach ever-increasing direct mail response rate goals. This is a challenge. Although your customers and prospects really like to get mail, you need to make sure that what you send is relevant to them.

Your design grabs attention, but does your mail piece drive enough response? So what can you do differently to increase your response rates? Sending your pieces to the right people is No. 1; but, your messaging is very important, too. How much time do you spend crafting your messaging?

Consider the following when crafting your message:

  • Create Your Core Idea  Core messages help people to avoid bad choices by reminding them of what is really important.
  • Uncertainty Can Paralyze Decisions  The more we reduce the amount of information and choices in an idea, the more it will resonate.
  • Create Analogies  Analogies make it possible to understand compact messages, because they are based on concepts people already know.
  • Create Surprise  Unexpected ideas resonate more, because surprise makes us stop and think.
  • Avoid Logic  Common sense messaging is not remembered. Why bother? We already know it.

Beyond the ideas above, there are other areas we can focus on that drive direct mail response. Human curiosity requires us to find answers, because it is a gap in our knowledge that we must fill. To get people to be open to our messaging, we need to provide a question that they can’t answer without the information we are about to give them. What people don’t know can be used to entice them to respond to your direct mail.

In order to create interest for a more complex idea or situation, you need to use a clear structure, vivid examples, and fluid language. You should then create a sense of mystery. This will grab attention because people need closure; they will have to read your mail piece to solve the mystery. Make sure to provide clues to assure people they are getting close to the answer. When you do, it compels them to finish in order to get the answer.

Keep in mind that an abstract message is hard to understand and remember. Make sure your messaging is clear and concrete. Concrete language helps people understand new concepts and appeals to the senses. It should appeal to sight, smell, touch, taste, or hearing. The best messages are full of concrete words and images. Some examples are words like tart, cold, green, coarse, or fork. They are real and can easily be seen in the mind.

To make your message even more effective, shift from a “provide information” tactic on your mail piece to a “what questions can I ask” tactic. What do we mean by this? You need to create questions that get people thinking and questioning their own knowledge. You want them to need you to help them. The choice is clear, they need you. Of course, you also need a sense of urgency to get them to respond right away and a call to action that resonates.

Are you ready to get started driving a better direct mail response rate?

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