Direct mail is a $40 billion dollar industry that can trace its roots back to the good old Sears catalog, where you could buy anything from mules to tractors to strawberries and ice. We’ve come a long way since those days, but unfortunately most of the direct mail pieces you get today haven’t, which is one of the reasons conversion ratios are stuck in the .05%-2% range.
But you can make sure your next campaign brings home the bacon simply by building a better direct mail piece from the top down. So let’s get started at the top and talk about headlines first.
1. The headline – This is the billboard of the piece. This is what convinces the reader that the rest of the ad is worth reading so make sure to grab them with a compelling statement in your headline.
2. Art/Pictures/Graphics – Try to stay away from stock clip art, it’s pretty obvious. Besides, you should have plenty of photos to use from your completed jobs. Use positive images that are eye-catching for your target.
3. Layout – The layout should look like a mini billboard. Keep it clean and uncluttered with a text-to-whitespace ratio as close to 50% as possible. This will make it easy on the eyes of your reader and easier for them to absorb your primary message.
4. Onto the message – Keep this short and sweet. Make your benefits to the reader the focal point while making sure to be as clear and concise as possible. You should also play to your reader’s emotions since this brings in a higher response rate.
5. Now for the offer – Make one strong, compelling offer with real value. Discounts of 10% or lower or 30% and above cost are perceived as false values. While you are at it use dollars instead of percentages to show value since people hate to do math. Finally, create a deadline for your offer.
6. Call to action – Nothing else matters without a strong call to action telling your reader exactly what you want them to do; Call for more details – Bring in this card for $100 off – Return this postcard for your free consultation. The point is you need to generate leads, drive traffic to your location, or sell your service, with your direct mail. This is not the time to build brand for the sake of building brand.
7. Contact info – Let them know how to reach you. Make it as easy as possible to respond to your offer; 800 numbers, prepaid reply cards, email addresses. Just make sure it’s clear and easy to read.
If you need some help with your direct mail, give my friend Dave More over at Advantage Printing (not an affiliate link, just a good guy!) a call. Dave’s a good ol’ boy from North Carolina who looks after contractors since he used to be one back in the day.