How to Create Sticky Direct Mail

So, what do I mean by “sticky” and why should your direct mail be sticky? By sticky, I mean direct mail that really resonates or makes an impression on your prospects and customers. When this happens, they are more likely to respond to your offer. After your first hurdle of grabbing attention so that your mail piece does not end up in the trash, your next hurdle is drawing them into your messaging. This is where the sticky part takes place.

Here are three ways to make your messaging sticky:

1. Testimonials

People trust the opinions of others more than they trust companies. When you add testimonials to your direct mail you make your product or service more trustworthy, and people are curious about what others say so they will take the time to read them. The testimonials provide you with an unbiased opinion of your products or services; this is powerful for people who are unsure if they should buy from you.

2. Stories

People enjoy stories. When you create direct mail messaging with a story concept, you draw in the reader. In order to keep them interested, you need to have a good story. Build up curiosity so they want to know what will happen. Of course your story needs to fit in with your brand and product or service — just adding any old story is not going to help you. Everything in the direct mail piece needs to tie together to be effective.

3. Emotional

Emotion is a powerful sticky point. When nonprofits tug at heart strings to get donations, it works! Use emotion to draw people in. Even for-profits can do this. Think of ways that your product or service can create an emotional appeal. You don’t have to focus on just sad emotions — try out each one to see what will work best for you by testing ideas with a focus group of clients or people outside of your organization.

No matter what the format of your direct mail piece is, such as a letter, postcard or self-mailer, the stickiness of your messaging matters. On postcards, you will have to be very concise while still drawing them in. Letters give you plenty of space for messaging — keep in mind that people like to read the P.S. lines, so have a great sticky message here. Images can also help your direct mail be sticky. When you are able to convey your message through powerful images, it creates a great way to draw people in. Make sure that you are not using language to disengage people. Stay away from clichés, boasting and arrogant messaging. No one wants to read that. Open, honest language is the best.

Consider the messaging you have used on past direct mail pieces. What could you do with that messaging to make it even better? Do you find any of it to be boring? One thing you can’t do is have boring messaging in your direct mail. That is a sure way to get it thrown into the trash. If you know you have used good messaging in the past, use it again — but not word for word. Change it up to keep it fresh. If you use testimonials, don’t always use the same ones — switch them out. Interest in your direct mail pieces over time tapers off, so freshen up not only your look, but your messaging too.

Create your sticky now to increase your 2017 results. When you send mail to the right people, create an impression and provide a good offer: You will get results.

3 Reasons to Use Direct Mail vs Email Marketing

When you work in direct mail, like I do, it means spending some time defending your business. I can’t tell you how often people tell me things such as, “I don’t ever buy things through mail,” “Big businesses don’t do that anymore,” and “But isn’t email more popular?”

It’s undeniable that technology has changed the direct marketing industry. However, it has not irreparably damaged direct mail marketing. To the contrary, direct mail has been enhanced by web technologies in many ways. Direct mail is great at getting leads to visit a webpage, encouraging customers to buy online or collecting information (including email addresses!) from prospects.

Rest assured that direct mail isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. To prove it, here are four reasons why you should use direct mail in place of email to get the best results.

1. Inbox overload

How many emails do you get a day? How many do you read a day? I would bet that the first answer is higher than the second. The fact is that most of us get many more emails than we want to read — or are even capable of reading.

Our inboxes are overloaded with personal communication, updates, news and offers. While these may all be great, we don’t have the time or desire to click into each and every email. Many people don’t even sort through their emails daily. And that means your marketing message, and therefore the basis of your livelihood, might be sitting at the bottom of the “stack.”

So what happens to it? Well, when your prospects finally get around to their inbox they’re likely to just “Select All” and “Delete.” Say goodbye to any good your sales message might have done. Sending it was a waste.

Sure, you could argue that people throw away physical mail too, but the numbers are in favor of direct mail here. A study by Epsilon showed that 77 percent of consumers sort through their physical mail as soon as they get it. Even better, data from the U.S. Postal Service showed that 98 percent of people check their mail daily. That means a lot less “back up” in the physical mail box and a much better chance for your sales piece to get read.

Email might have changed the marketing environment for good, but you can use that change to your advantage. Let other businesses focus on email marketing. Let them sludge through the massive inbox overload that everyone is experiencing. In the meantime, there is not nearly as much competition in your standard mailbox — and that’s where you should be aiming your sales messages.

2. Increased trust

With increased technology comes an increased concern for privacy. What with hackers constantly breaking into “secure” sites and identity theft being a real threat, people trust electronic communication less and less. Phishing scams are common and people do not trust attachments and links in an email. Sometimes, even images can get eaten up by the evil spam filter.

So how are you supposed to get your email to stand out? How are you supposed to impress your prospects? How can you “wow” them to the point where they simply must know more?

In short, you can’t.

You don’t get options with email. When your message drops into their inbox, you get a subject line or headline. That’s it. And you can use all the fancy tricks you want, keep up on the latest clickbait research, and split test until your head splits. But the fact is simple: Sometimes a headline just isn’t enough.

In addition, fancy emails with multiple attachments aren’t seen as trustworthy. People are suspicious and careful in the online world. This caution is entirely to the detriment of your sales message. In fact, even the simple words you write might be doubted. After all, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, right?

Direct mail is not faced with these same problems. You can “attach” as much as you want without setting off alarms. Bells and whistles of a fancy package are added bonuses instead of red flags. Consumers are bound to trust your direct mail sales piece more than they would a suspiciously fancy email.

3. Enhanced delivery

A direct mail piece has the opportunity to be much more impressive than a simple, bland email. While this is not always necessary (sometimes a straightforward postcard can suffice), it’s definitely nice to have so many options.

Here’s a good example: Around the holidays, I receive Christmas cards from my family across the country. As soon as I grab my stack of mail, I recognize them. They’re the ones with bright red or green envelopes. I would never dump that in the trash without looking at it! (I look for orange around Halloween, too.)

A lot of people have built-in cues like this for something special that signals to them that a mail piece is worth opening. You can duplicate these cues to give your mail piece a better chance of making it to the table. Colored envelopes are only one example. You can also use a “handwriting font” for the address to make your sales piece look like personal mail. Another option is to always use a live, physical stamp instead of indicia (which instantly says “mass mail advertising”).

Another great option for making your direct mail stand out is to use what we call a “lumpy mail” package. This is a type of three-dimensional mail piece that makes your prospect feel really special. Plus, it’s intriguing.

There are also dozens of envelope shapes, sizes and dimensions to pique curiosity instantly.

You can also include freebies in your packages that help promote your business while providing the recipient with a small gift. Pens, stickers and even coasters can all be printed with your business name and included in direct mail.

When was the last time you got a pen in an email? Oh, wait …

If you want to stand out to your prospects, you must do something different than what your competitors are doing. Everyone can send an email, but direct mail is something special these days. Not only that, research shows that direct mail connects with customers on a deeper emotional level and provides a much higher response rate.

So don’t ever let anyone tell you again that email has sunk the direct mail industry — it’s just not true!

How Direct Mail Combined with Email Delivers Killer Marketing Campaigns

With the rise of digital communication, it seemed direct mail would become obsolete. Then it seemed social media marketing would make email redundant – but a cross-platform strategy should not be ignored as a powerful tool in the entrepreneurs’ arsenal.

Direct mail and email can work in tandem to deliver a killer one-two punch campaign that’ll have current customers coming back for more and win over new ones.

The stats speak for themselves: according to the Royal Mail’s It’s all about Mail and Email report, when mail was used in tandem with an email campaign, 13% more consumers were driven to the brand’s website – while campaigns that included mail were 27% more likely to deliver top-ranking sales performance, The Private Life of Mail report found.


3 Split Tests to Improve Your Direct Mail Results

Of course you want better results from your mailings. The worst thing you can do is to become complacent and think the mailing piece you’ve got is “good enough.” The best thing you can do is to keep making variations to your mailing piece, and then test the results.

A client of trying to “crack the code” on direct mail for his medical clinic sent out a tear-sheet mailing that resulted with marginal results. While my client didn’t lose any money and he also didn’t make any money. Actually, marginal results on your first mailing are not bad.

Months later, we recommended he do a split test, where he divide his list and mail the tear sheet piece to one part, and the new piece to the other part. When mailing a new sales piece I always recommend a split test.

By mailing a tear-sheet again against a new format, we could see if the new format was an improvement or not. By testing a new piece against something you have past results on you can be certain about which piece really works better be­cause you are mailing them at the same time to the same lists. The results will tell you what direc­tion to head in next.

Testing different aspects of your mail campaigns is critical to your marketing success. To get you started, here are three aspects of your direct mail campaign you can test. The results could help you significantly increase your response rate in future mailings.

Test Your Headline

The headline is one of the most important parts of the sales letter. If it doesn’t get your prospects’ atten­tion, they won’t read the rest of the sales letter and won’t respond to your offer. You only have about four seconds to get them to decide to read your letter.

Spend some time thinking of different headlines you can use. Make sure your headline “resonates” with your specific audience (for example, is age-appropriate). Also, consider if your headline is believable. Many people have heard “If it sounds too good to be true, then it is.” If your headline promises too much, it may not be believable.

When you find a headline that you think will be more powerful than your current headline, set up an A/B Split test to compare their results.

Test the Teaser Copy on the Envelope

To get a sales letter opened, some mailers put teaser copy on the outer envelope. Teaser copy consists of words on the envelope that will make the reader want to open it and see what’s inside.

The downside of teaser copy is that it screams “this is advertisement mail,” and so it had better offer something interesting to get the envelope opened, now that it has revealed the letter is advertising.

I’ve tested leaving off the teaser copy totally (having a “blind” envelope), and that usually has worked best for me in mailing to “cold” prospects that don’t know you. But, there are many cases where teaser copy has worked better. I have the most success when I use teaser copy mailing to a house file. You have to test no copy vs. copy to see what will work best for you.

Test a Different Offer

The offer is what the customer will get for respond­ing, and if it involves a purchase (rather than a free trial, for example), the cost of the product or service.Here are some things you can test with the offer:

  • Price
  • Bonus or premium
  • Different payment options
  • Response options (phone, fax, online, email, text)
  • Adding an offer end date

There are many more offer options, but these are the main ones that I test. The more you test, the more you will learn, and the better your response rate will be!

Extending the Life of Your Direct Mail

There are many steps you can take to ensure your direct mail materials get noticed and read. Opting for quality graphics and professionally written copy, and including incentives that are irresistible to your target audience is a good place to start. But did you know that there are ways to extend the life of your direct mail postcard or brochure that can generate even more revenue for your business?

Direct mail has consistently demonstrated the potential to create a lasting effect on consumers, and part of this is its proven ability to trigger a positive emotional response. But physical mail offers something else that digital advertising doesn’t: staying power.

Mail-Out Materials that Stick Around

Many postal studies show that consumers have a strong tendency to keep, display, and share certain types of direct mail materials, including:

  • coupons,
  • restaurant menus, and
  • sales flyers

Not only are about two-thirds of potential customers inclined to keep mail they feel offers immediate or future value, they’re also very apt to display that mail in highly visible locations inside their homes. This provides an outstanding opportunity for your brand to engage with prospects on multiple occasions – over an extended period of time – and all for the price of a single mail-out.

Research from the US Postal Service confirms that 81% of recipients read their mail daily and, because of its tangible nature, tend to “save mailed coupons for future use and share mailings with others.”

So, just how much extra life can you expect to squeeze out of your double-duty postcard or brochure?

Surveys have suggested that, depending on the format, many direct mail recipients keep print materials from a few days to a month, or longer. In fact, an in-depth study conducted by the Canada Post Corporation, established that this is indeed the case for:

  • product and service coupons (67%),
  • restaurant menus (77%),
  • promotional mail (41%), and
  • retail flyers (61%)

Getting a Foot in the Door

Just as important as the keeping of direct mail postcards and brochures, is the fact that consumers love to share them. Even if a well-crafted offer doesn’t meet the immediate needs of the person who opens it, they’re far more likely to pass that coupon or sales discount along to someone they know, than they are an email or social media promotion.

Print mail is memorable, and can ultimately be a joy to receive. In today’s noisy digital world, consumers have begun to recognize direct mail as a more intimate bid for their attention – and their response to this personalized approach has been to:

  • visit a physical place of business almost twice as often
  • visit a company website more than two-thirds of the time

Companies that take the time to research their clients and prospects, and to design direct mail communications that are relevant and offer long-term value, are being rewarded with an invitation into the homes and lives of their customers. And there’s nothing more effective than a foot-in-the-door to nurture a lasting relationship.