Archive | Direct Marketing Tips

5 Ways to Make your Direct Mail Copy Stand Out

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.

  1. Keep it simpleWrite 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.
  2. Use magic wordsThese 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.
  3.  Have an angleIn 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.
  4. Tell a storyConstruct 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.
  5. Make smart use of your spaceA 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.

 

5 Ways to Direct Market Big with a Small Budget

5waysWe’re currently in an Age of Entrepreneurship where long-time business people are leaving their cubicles and corner offices to create their own companies from the ground, up. We’re also seeing the resurgence of the “maker” mentality; more and more consumers are opting for small shops over Big Boxes and homegrown over mass produced. And although a local approach to business is great for a city’s economy, it typically doesn’t come with the same marketing budget that the corporate world offered. So what is the small business owner to do with limited resources?

Market big by marketing smart. And one way to market smart is to market locally with direct mail.

Discover 5 ways to direct market big with a small budget:

1. Do Your Mailbox Research

What kind of mail do you actually read? What do you automatically consider “junk” and toss? Make a note of the aspects of a mailer that catch your eye or pique your interest. If you’re a member of your own target audience, use yourself as a focus group of one. Collect a few different pieces and keep them on hand to reference elements that work for you.

2. Don’t Insult Your Customers’ Intelligence

More often than not, your customers know when they’re being advertised to. It’s no longer a question of “is this advertising,” but rather a question of, “is this good advertising?” Outdated tactics like baiting and switching, claiming “FREE” everything, superfluous use of exclamation points and being visually shouted at are an immediate request for placement in the recycling bin. Keep it simple and talk to people like they’re people.

3. Get to the Point

As the saying goes, “don’t bury your lead.” Put your unique selling proposition within the first few sentences of your copy so potential customers will immediately know if you’re offering a product or service they can use. Keeping your target audience in mind, use a tone that resonates with them (writing to Millennials is much different than writing to Baby Boomers) — in any instance, keep it conversational. Even if you’re selling a specific medical device or law service, use jargon-free terminology. Think of someone you know well who fits into your demographic and write to them.

4. Think Outside (Or Inside) the Envelope

Consider your product, service and target audience before deciding on a marketing medium; different forms of direct marketing work for different segments. Some offerings are better as a postcard. Some require longer copy in the form of a letter to include more details and personal benefits. You’ll also want to align your color scheme and materials with the branding of your item. Think about every detail down to the paper weight and finish. You may also want to consider including something unique in your mailer: a branded pen inside the envelope to entice the recipient to discover what’s inside; a scratch-off section with a prize or discount; a useful element such as a built-in To-Do List or branded sticky notes. If you have the budget, experiment with A/B testing to see which type of message lengths, writing tones, design elements and extras work best for your business.

5. Inspire Action

Even if you’ve created a direct mail piece that’s beautifully designed, well written, useful and locked within the attention span of your potential customer, you’ll never convert him or her into a client without a call to action. You don’t have to close the deal immediately, you just have to motivate your customers to travel further down your sales funnel. Encourage them to take the next step by asking them to sign up for your newsletter or call for a free consultation. Create a sense of urgency and give them a reason to act.

Smart marketing isn’t necessarily about budget — it’s about strategy. Money doesn’t turn prospects into clients, but messaging does. Make sure you’re taking the time to plan out every detail of your direct marketing piece so your hard work doesn’t become just another piece of junk mail for the recycling bin.

Contact us today to find out how Direct Mail Systems can help you turn mail recipients into marketing responders.

Give it a Chance.

chess-1Marketing is sometimes like playing chess, not checkers. It’s a long game with the Return On Investment (ROI) cycle varying.

In our world of instant gratification and streaming the entire season of a show over one weekend (House of Cards anyone?), we need to remember that marketing results are not instant. Even in the extremely low attention span targeted social media marketing – it can takes time up to 6 months to see leads and new customers come in the door.  We must have patience for results that last and the same can be said for direct mail.
A direct mail piece may take several weeks to pull in some leads and up to a month to get that customer walking into the door. This also varies depending on your business. The smaller the purchase, the faster the cycle. Consumers will make a faster decision for that slice of pizza than for an extension on their house.  You must give it the time it needs to run it’s course.
More is better. Is one mailing enough? As with most marketing, more usually results in faster and more consistent growth. But once you get that engine running, you’ll see a steady stream of leads and new customers. You just need to give that engine time to get going.
How long should I give it? A good guide to give your marketing the best chance for success:

  • Direct Mail: 12 months – you may see results in a month but the best guide is to run a longer cycle and adjust it along the way.
  • Newspaper: the smaller the ad, the longer you need to run it to make a difference. Sometimes up to 40 weeks for a small ad.
  • Inbound Marketing (social media, blogging, emails) 6 months to build a relationship.

Be sure to track your efforts and make adjustments as you go to improve. Listen to the advice of your marketing professionals – they watch these cycles day in and day out and can give you insight on what you can expect.

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The “Call to Action”

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In all marketing efforts from a direct mail postcard to a social media post, the heart of all your pieces should be  a “call to action”  Simply said, “what do you want the reader to do?” This may seem like a no-brainer, but so many marketing promotions forget this crucial step.

Ask yourself what is the desired next step? Obviously you want the reader to become a customer, but you need to help them down the sales funnel. A call to action can be any of the follow:

  • Visit your website
  • Ask for a free consultation
  • Download a free gift
  • Contact you in an easy way

Remember, the attention span of today’s users are slim to none, so make this action an easy, and the only, choice. Don’t bombard them with options – give one. Pop that one choice in a different color. Perhaps a red box with your phone number inside on print or a “click here” box online.

You goal is to gain a customer and have them spend money with you right? So always keep that “call to action” in mind. It’s fine to entertain and to boost popularity but that call to action will turn that popularity into profitability! 

Click below for a free consultation today and learn more about how we can help you make the most of your marketing dollars! (see?)

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5 Tips for a Killer Postcard Design

DMSpost-01A postcard can be a powerful direct mail piece. Short and sweet. No envelope to open. It gets right to the point. We have put together 5 ways to really make the most of this marketing staple and make sure yours breaks through the clutter and gets your business noticed!

  1. Know your audience – it helps to do research before you begin. Are you targeting 20 year olds or 60 year olds? That question right there tells you a lot regarding colors and fonts before you even get into copywriting. Step one should be identifying your dream client, only then can you start on a plan of how best to talk to THEM.
  2. Quality Photography – can make or break any marketing piece. While a stunning high quality photo can really make your piece sing, a bad, blurry or cheesy photo can kill it in its tracks. Don’t be cheap here. There are plenty of affordable royalty free photo services to choose from. And no, you can’t just grab something off of the internet for free.
  3. Puns vs Substance – never let a funny or punny headline lead your message. Yes you might have a really great photo of a dolphin but “Electricians with a Porpoise!” is not going to get you business but rather groans as your postcard heads for the trash. Be sure your headlines are eye catching for the right reasons.
  4. Space – ah the final frontier, but use it wisely. Value the white space. You want to make the most of the 5×7, or so that you have, but cram it so full of text and starbursts and you might as well say nothing at all.
  5. The attention span of today’s reader is shorter than ever, so keep your message short and use bold and bullet points to help with people who scan and decide in a few seconds if it’s worth the read or the trashcan. Notice we kept this to 5? Did you make it all the way through them? Success!

5 Must-Have Online Tools for the New Year

A new year and another new chance at working smarter not harder, right? While many online tools promise themselves to be time savers they often leave us disappointed with price or unmet expectations. Good news – we have found the following really increase productivity in marketing and project management and would love to share our favorites with you:

Easy Automatic Scheduling for Twitter Marketing.

1. TweetDeck

This free online service is great to scheduling out your tweets far in advance. Get the whole week done in an hour and walk away. TweetDeck will take it from there to schedule your Twitter marketing out on the days and times you select. Now Hootsuite is also very popular but it has a limit of three channels on the free plan where Tweet Deck does not, so if your company have several channels or if you are a social media professional with many clients, that can be a life saver and a budget saver!
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Easy Client Management and Invoicing System.

There are a lot of Client Relationship Management  (CRM) systems out there to track contents and leads but we love 17 Hats as it adds a powerhouse quoting/invoicing/contract system that allows easy templates to get your clients to accept and easily pay you online! This service comes with a monthly fee but is worth the investment come invoicing time!
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Project Mananagement

A very popular service that keeps all the conversations, files, schedules and designs all in one place. The best part is it’s not just for your internal team but great for communicating with clients. Show them only what you want to and keep all the edits and conversations in one place. A project never went smoother! There is a monthly fee but I think you’ll find it’s worth it. Did I mention it’s so user friendly that even your computer challenged clients will find it a breeze.
4.  Trello
Another great free tool, Trello is a simple task card system that you can use alone or share with a large team. Get all your needs down in one place and drag them from list to list with ease! It’s a simple idea with endless possibilities.
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Marriage of Online Marketing and Direct Mail Marketing!

Combining the hyper-targeting options of direct mail with the cost effectiveness of digital display and banner ads, iMail is a true multi-channel lead generation powerhouse for 2016.
Imagine an easy way to reach your customers and ideal target audience online, without keywords, content, search phrases or cookies. iMail proactively targets prospects in their home and on their mobile device, much like direct mail. It’s a new year and this is the hottest new marketing tool that gets results.
Want to accelerate your direct marketing lead generation with iMail?Contact DMS today for a no pressure consult!

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Holiday Mail

junk-mail-catalog-choice-pile-photoIt’s that time of year again, when we are overwhelmed with holiday catalogs.

Catalogs are:

  • Costly
  • Wasteful
  • Offer to many choices for consumers

While you are doing your yearly budgets for 2016, keep in mind that Showcase Direct Mailers allow marketers to:

  • Spotlight their most sought after and profitable merchandise while making it easy for prospects to retain/recall the items.
  • Provide a more cost-effective path for off-line traffic to a companies ultimate digital catalog, their website.
  • Deliver the highest quality collateral without breaking the bank.

Need help developing your 2016 budget? Contact us today for a free consultation!

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Direct Marketing… Where to begin? It all starts with your target audience.

Target-Market An argument can be made (and often won) that selecting a target audience for a product or promotion before selecting the product or promotion itself will lead to better results. Even today with all the targeted data options, many marketing teams are messaging to the masses in order to promote their products or special incentives. The problem is they are spending extra time and money (which diminish the ROI…the results) to target and communicate with all the extra prospects who have no interest in redeeming what they have to offer.

Want to save money and see better results with direct marketing? Spend the extra time upfront to develop and understand your ideal target audience.

Build a customer profile… Some call this data mining, database marketing, customer segmentation or modeling. Whatever you call it, it all adds up to the same thing, and that is a plain and simple listing of attributes/interests/characteristics that make up a profile of your ideal customer.

Did you ever watch a television program where a crime has occurred and the detectives immediately start building a “profile” for the possible criminal? They usually use large poster sheets on easels where they use a magic marker and start listing “attributes” that complete the profile: ie: Male, Late 30’s, 6 feet tall, Caucasian, wears baseball caps and drives a late model sedan.

The same applies to a Direct Marketing Campaign. What is the “profile” of the perfect consumer for a new, high end jewelry store that is opening in Palm Harbor, FL and carries only women’s jewelry? The profile would be Late 30’s, female, high income, has college degree, married without children with 12 miles of Palm Harbor, FL.

Once you have clearly defined your target audience it’s time to move on to the next step of your Marketing Campaign.

NOTE:

The customer profile should be a detailed and relevant to your products and services as you can make it. Facebook and other social media outlets have taken the profile to a whole new level with the Like button, sharing and +1 button, which build an interest profile for their customers/user. However most marketers do not have access to such specific data and must set out to compile it as they go from their own customers.

If you or your firm are interested in generating new sales leads, optimizing your offline business development strategies and driving new traffic to your website, contact the pros at DMS for your free assessment and to determine if our services are the right fit for you.

1.800.683.MAIL (6248)
sales@dmsmails.com
www.Dmsmails.com

Want better results with direct mail? You better have a good strategy.

Direct Marketing StrategyDeveloping the strategy and specific objectives is the first step to any successful Direct Marketing Campaign.

Determining the overall Direct Marketing Campaign requires many facets. Many marketers plainly refer to this as a project overview that clearly outlines a realistic and quantifiable plan taking it from inception to completion.

At the point of inception the marketing department performs what is plainly known to many as an assessment. They will begin assessing who will perform the market research, create the campaign or what the call of action is supposed to accomplish. Will the recipient be motivated to bring an offer, coupon or incentive to the place of business? Or will the recipient be motivated and driven to turn on their computer, go directly to their site and place an order. What should be the call of action? The end result ? What should the marketing campaign accomplish? What is the final message that needs to be conveyed?