What’s this package in the mail?
The curiosity sparked by an unexpected package is exactly the reason why direct mail is still one of the most powerful marketing tactics.
Of course, your direct mail doesn’t have to take the shape of a package. It doesn’t necessarily have to include the requisite “bulky item,” either. What it absolutely needs to contain is an awesome letter. There’s no need for the letter to be complicated, either, writes Lois Geller at Forbes.
Here’s the tricky part: how do you quantify an “awesome letter”?
To the uninitiated, “awesome” is difficult to identify because it looks deceptively simple. The letter resonates best, and perhaps only, with the target market. An awesome direct mail letter speaks the audience’s language, addresses their emotional needs, and offers a solution. Aim to make your letter so memorable it encourage the reader to act now, or at the very least tuck it away for future reference.
Moreover, the reasons for a direct mail letter can range considerably. Let’s look at a just three reasons you might want to send a direct mail letter instead of an email.
Love Letters to Existing Customers
Have you noticed a lull in sales or longer stretches between visits by certain customers? A “we miss you and want you back” letter is straightforward. It appeals to the human need to be wanted and desired, and demonstrates that the customer is valued. Many companies send these messages as an email for obvious cost savings. However, a physical letter can feel more personal and therefore be more effective. Katie McCaskey wrote letters by hand thanking customers to commemorate the first year in business at her storefront.
Drum Up New Business
If your company has recently lost a major client or experienced a public relations snafu, you might consider direct mail to drum up new business. Many businesses use direct mail as a way to entice people to try something new. Engage your audience by offering a free trial of a product or service, or to set up an in person meet-and-greet. Big purchases require more persuasion than smaller ones so direct mail serves as an important step in the new business sales funnel. The benefit of a sales letter, writes Deliver magazine, is the real estate available to convey the message.
Grow Your Base By Offering a Bounty
Direct mail letters are also a way to encourage your existing client base to help you build and expand your customer base. Chances are good that people who are your ideal customer know and associate with others who are, too. Send a personalized letter letting your customer know you will pay them a referral fee or other incentive if they recommend someone to you.
How to Write a Winning Direct Mail Letter
- Write like a real person, not a company. Avoid sales-speak.
- Address an individual, not a group, and use a conversational tone.
- Choose an appropriate headline and place it about one-fourth of the way down the page, where the eyes naturally fall, advises Tony Attwood of Hamilton House Mailings
- Ensure that the letter is easy to read by using short paragraphs of two or three sentences each, and including lots of white space at the margins and between paragraphs.
- Many readers are skimmers. Draw the reader in by addressing problems and offering a solution — “One solution no one thinks will work is…,” or, “The best way to solve this embarrassment is…,” or “Known benefits include…”
- Customer testimonials should accompany a sales letter because they add social proof to your claims. Endorsements from a former client or associate builds trust.
- Wrap up the conclusion with a strong call-to-action that tells your reader the specific action they should do immediately.
- Close with the “clincher” that reiterates the benefits your reader will experience when they follow through.
- Add reply cards, coupons, and/or a bulky item (to encourage that the mailer get opened) to the package before sealing it for the post office.
A great sales letter serves to motivate your readers. It emphasizes how your product or service will benefit them. Done well, it will also work to build ongoing loyalty and support for your business.
License: Creative Commons image source
Jan Hill is a freelance journalist who writes for Vistaprint.com, a leading provider of custom postcard printing for businesses all over the world. Jan has been a professional writer for over a decade, and has been featured in many newspapers, magazines, and trade publications.