Direct mail Small business

The most important element in direct mail today is?

One must consider many elements when using direct mail as a communication channel for customer service, customer up selling, and prospecting for new business.

First is the copywriting. Direct mail copy must get the reader’s attention and it must be persuasive. If it doesn’t gain anyone’s attention, the direct mail has failed. Good copywriting focuses on the customer, stresses a key benefit, proves that the product or service backs the claims, and is different from the competition.

Second is design. Design does not take a backseat to copy. Designers say that getting the reader’s attention is the job of design and layout. Designers are not alone in their stance. Some people train their eyes to see if their name is in the mailing address and the product or service offered is of interest to them. Then the design cleverly brings the reader’s eye into the copy to learn more about what you are offering.

Combined, copywriting and design can make a powerful and valuable contribution. For example, a good headline must be in harmony with the design and pull the reader into the direct mail piece. If the product is a hybrid vehicle, the headline might say, “Get 56 miles per gallon with our new ELR-x model today!” A subhead can add more sizzle by telling the reader, “Great mileage in a true sports car package!”

You need to push the reader over the emotional edge with the design and copy motivating the reader to make a buying decision. In the scenario above, the art of design and photography can illustrate the features and benefits of the ELR-x model, causing the reader to pause and think: “How much can I save on gas each week?” “I can help to save the environment and still have a sporty vehicle.” “My family and friends will be envious of me and my brand new car!”

The design and copy of the direct mail piece are on the same page. Now you need a compelling offer to move the reader closer to a buying decision.

Buy now! Act now! A clear, action-oriented offer drives the reader into the showroom, store, or website to place an order. For the automobile example, the offer could be a test drive. In a retail store, it could be a percentage off or a buy-one-get-one-free offer. On a website you can have a more personalized offer.

At this point, you may be asking which element is most important when using direct mail. Is it:

  1. The copy?
  2. The design?
  3. The offer?
  4. The channel?
  5. The list?

What is your selection to get back on track and why?

The winning selection will receive a free marketing consultation on direct mail and marketing. Expires on July 16th, 2012.


© 2012 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Windows Clip Art or John Deuerling.

2 replies on “The most important element in direct mail today is?”

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