There are no hard and fast rules to writing the perfect direct mail copy, but there are some techniques that copywriters use to attract and retain a reader’s attention. With limited space and specific products and services to sell, marketers have to be strategic about the messages they’re putting into their target audience’s mailbox. Let’s take a look at five ways to make your direct mail copy stand out in the crowd.
- Keep it simple
Write your copy in a clear and concise way. You only get so much real estate on a direct mailer, so make it count! Use bullet points and sub-heads to your advantage: break up information into easily digestible chunks. Most of your readers are going to skim the piece for words or phrases that pop out to them. It’s only after these words grab their attention that they’ll go back and read the content in its entirety. Make sure to “skim test” your own copy to confirm it packs a hefty — yet succinct — punch.
- Use magic words
These are the words that are going to draw your audience in and entice them to read more. These words — like “do,” “click,” “experience,” “make,” etc. — should cause the reader to act with a sense of urgency. Include your call to action early (no later than the third paragraph) and use it often. Let readers know exactly what you want them to do. Compel them to read and respond.
- Have an angle
In every sentence, stress the benefits of the product or service you’re marketing rather than trying to be overly clever with wordplay or gimmicks. First, establish the problem or opportunity and then immediately follow it with how your product or service will help ease the reader’s pain or reach a specific goal. Provide a description of solving the problem at hand and make sure to stay focused on benefits rather than on the product or service, itself.
- Tell a story
Construct a narrative about how your product or service is essential to the lives of your target audience members. More importantly, tell the truth. There’s nothing more compelling than illustrating — honestly — how your offering improves the lives of its users. Use real-world examples of how what you’re marketing has aided consumers. “Rags to riches” stories always intrigue readers and keep ‘em guessing. Write truthfully, but don’t be afraid to be a bit mysterious and leave breadcrumbs that lead readers to seek more information.
- Make smart use of your space
A good rule of thumb for direct mail pieces is to allot for 45 percent white space. Less is usually more. This means marketers need to be cognizant of the overall tone and feel of the piece they’re writing. Design and copy should work together and complement one another. Words should be formatted strategically: use bold words, italics and underlined words to draw attention to main points and magic words within the copy.
When it comes to creating direct mail content that cuts through the mailbox clutter, straightforwardness, honesty and smart use of design and space are the building blocks of constructing copy that stands out in the crowd. Implement these tips into your writing strategy to move your direct mailers from consumers’ recycling bins into the hands of the people who matter to your business.