Marketing Strategist - Copywriter - Business Growth Coach

The 7 Core Reasons Most Direct Mail Fails…

There are many direct marketing companies and gurus who will hype you up on the wonderful benefits of direct mail and how it outperforms email and other media according to all types of studies.

I love direct mail personally, but some of the hype has to be qualified because not all direct mail works. In fact, I would argue that the majority of direct mail campaigns fail, and it’s usually due to one or more of these core issues not being properly addressed.

Make sure these elements are in place and executed properly before your next mail campaign, and your chances of getting breakthrough response go up exponentially.

1. Failure to Get Your Letter Read 

The look and design of the envelope can make a huge difference in response to your mailing.

If you are doing a “cold” mailing, where the recipients do not know you yet, or your company, I prefer to “play it safe’’, and keep the envelope looking like a plain letter. White, #10 envelope with the address and return address hand labeled or laser typed in hand-written font.

I want it to look as close to a personal, or important letter as possible.

Depending on the market, and your relationship with them, you may be able to use a more aggressive approach. If you are mailing to past buyers, or buyer of similar products, then you can use “teaser” copy on the outside of the envelope and try to provoke them to open it with curiosity, or a free gift.

If you are doing a cold mailing to a very rabid market, like Golf, financial investment advisory, or natural health you can usually get away with this approach as well because these markets are always on the lookout for more of some type of competitive edge or solution.

2. Boring or lack of attention getting headline.

Once you’ve gotten the reader to open your letter or package, don’t blow it by having your company name and logo shouting at them from the very beginning!

This is prime selling real estate.

Focus on their current problem, or whatever benefit they may be seeking. Start with their self interest, and they will be more willing to engage you and learning about your company’s solutions and background.

3. Failure to maintain interest with a good introduction.

After they’ve gotten past the headline and deemed your advertisement worthy of reading, start by immediately expanding and amplifying the problem or promise given in the headline.

Tell them how bad things are… how the problem can get worse and how bad some of your past customers lives were before they were introduced to you.

Of it you use a benefit headline, paint the picture of how wonderful and great life can be once they order your solution, and then lead into why they don’t have it now. What is stopping them?

4. No compelling sales story.

To get people to buy into your promotion, you need to tell your core sales story. Who you are, what you do and why you do it.

Example: “My husband left me 5 years ago after I had our 3rd child because I gained 51lbs. He said he wasn’t attracted to me anymore and left me for a younger, slimmer woman. I was devastated. I decided to join the gym and get in the best shape of my life to make him sorry he ever left! Now I’m a personal trainer helping others to do the same….”

Explain why you and your solution are the best thing for them and how you can alleviate their problems, and make their lives great again!

What are the main benefits you can provide for the reader?

5. Present an irresistible offer.

After you’ve introduced your solution to their worst nightmares, explain to them how incredibly easy it is for them to get these tremendous benefits right away, and at what an incredible value it is being offered for that makes it such a steal.

Do they get a free trial offer? A bonus gift for signing up? A 12 month, interest-free payment plan? A 90 day money back guarantee? A special discount for being one of the first 50?

For instance… “Come in between now and March 28th and enjoy our Ultimate Romantic Dinner For 2! Choose from any 6 of these delicious 3 course entrees, a chilled bottle of our smooth house white wine, and a huge, heaping portion of our chocolate truffle cake to share for dessert for just $99.99”

Explain the offer and how they can take advantage of it. Make the offer easy to understand, and easy for them to say yes to. The less work they have to do to give you money, the more money you’ll make.

6. Not having a clear call to action.

This one is easy to fix.

I received a letter in the mail from my credit union once informing me that they had a deal with a local life insurance provider so that all of it’s members could get $10,000 in life insurance coverage at very little cost.

That was it.

The letter just announced the fact that the deal had been made. It didn’t say how we could take advantage of the benefit, just that there was one.

Understand the fact that most people are walking around begging to be led. Human beings need to be told what to do. People who are clear on the actions they need to take will take them. People who are unsure or confused, usually do nothing.

Instruct them clearly on how to take you up on your offer, and don’t make them think.

7. Too much or incongruent graphic design.

A problem commonly found with direct mail produced by ad agencies, printers and mailing houses etc… is the beautiful graphics taking up too much selling space, or not aiding the sales message at all.

Most of these ads are not written by professional copywriters who are skilled and hardened in the craft of “salesmanship in print”.

They are merely an artistic outlet of graphic designers who love to express their creativity by testing the graphic capabilities of Photoshop software.

The sole purpose of graphic design is to bring the sales arguments you make in the copy to life. It helps to provide visual proof of the claims you make, and make your most important selling points stand out on the page so they can’t be missed.

If you are selling cosmetic dentistry, you will need more than just a blown up picture of a beautiful woman or family smiling with big, beautiful teeth.

It may be nice to have a picture of a broken tooth with it’s sensitive nerve exposed and causing excruciating pain to the patient.

Followed by copy explaining why the tooth may need immediate extraction if left untreated and needs to be evaluated right way.

If you have done the research and know what your market wants, once you have these  elements in place, you’re all but guaranteed success.

For more helpful tips to boost your direct mail response,
sales and profits, enter your email address in the form below and get them sent straight
to your inbox, along with my Free Report: “How to Write Ads That Sell”.

Wayne Brown
Business Growth Strategist/Copywriter/Coach

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