In some ways, direct mail sales pieces are like a puzzle. There are several components that come together to form a cohesive whole. Without all the right pieces, your puzzle won’t form a complete picture, and that means it won’t resonate with your recipients.
You’ll need these 5 key elements to create the most effective direct mail sales pieces:
1. Attention-grabbing headline.
It has to be big, bold, short and to-the-point. In the blink of an eye, recipients will decide whether they want look further. Direct mail pieces wind up in the trash when they do not instantly connect with your prospect.
2. Clean, custom design.
Your direct mail pieces have to be all about you, which is why it’s so important for your design to be custom-tailored in every detail. Your goal is to stand out from other businesses, explaining concisely why your company or products or services are the best choice. You must:
- Avoid clutter. Less is more, especially if your direct mail pieces are postcards, even jumbo format ones. Trying to cram in too much merely makes a visual mess and confuses your reader. Bullet points are easiest to read.
- Adhere to graphic design best practices when it comes to fonts, colors and layout that appeal to the eye and lead the reader around your mailer convincingly. You don’t want any of your key points to be missed.
- Choose your photos or other images carefully. A picture may be worth 1000 words, but it’s worthless if it doesn’t engagingly reflect something special about your business and/or your special offer.
- Proofread. Simple yet too-often overlooked, that final double-check to be sure every detail is perfect can make or break your direct mail sales pieces. Typos, bad grammar or other sloppy mistakes tell readers you are not careful in your work. That’s not a successful sales pitch.
- Insist on the highest quality printing. You’re pouring your heart and soul into the perfect design, so ensure your mailers present it all in beautiful, crisp color that really pops. Your postcards or brochures will have “professional” written all over them.
- Consistently match your company’s other marketing materials in terms of colors, etc., to reinforce your branding and spark instant recognition.
The purpose of direct mail pieces is to get your reader to do something – schedule an appointment, eat dinner at your restaurant, shop your sale, request more information, etc. — that will qualify them as a lead or lead directly to a sale. But the thing is, you can’t just leave it up to them to figure out what to do, you have to explicitly tell them – call them to action. Call now, join us tonight, sale starts Saturday at 7am.
In addition to spelling out “what to do next,” your CTA must be visually obvious so even the most distracted reader can’t miss it. This is the point of conversion, so you don’t want to leave anything to chance.
Conveying a sense of urgency – supplies are limited, this week only – further motivates your recipient to act right away.
Don’t just tell your prospects how to follow up, give them an incentive to do it. The best way is to sweeten the pot with one or two special offers – exclusivity, a discount or something free. Studies show direct mail pieces that include an offer generate far greater response. But make sure your offer is well-chosen so it’s relevant and meaningful to your prospects.
Sending your great mailer to the wrong audience is a disaster. You can use an internal list to mail to existing customers or contacts; otherwise, get expert assistance to select the right mailing list criteria and ensure accuracy.
And don’t forget to include all your contact information, so prospects can easily follow up to ask questions and learn more about you.