Options, options, options.
There are so many direct mail formats to choose from: letters, postcards, magalogs, oh my! Some of them are perfectly suited for you, and others – not so much. Some pieces will work for certain products and offers, others will not. It’s time to start considering all the possibilities and make a decision for your campaign.
So the question is, what is your best option?
When you go to your mailbox and see a pile of advertisements, that’s your opportunity to educate yourself in the field of direct mail marketing. You can use what you learn to boost the results of your own campaigns.
The first thing to notice is any sales piece that you’ve seen in your mail box in the past. I’m sure there are a few companies that have mailed you more than one time and you recognize their sales piece. Most companies wouldn’t be mailing you the same sales piece/format if they weren’t profiting as a result.
The second thing you should notice is the variety of formats you’ll find.
There are small postcards and large postcards, multipage magalogs, letters in envelopes, priority mail envelopes, catalogs, and many others.
Here are some more detailed descriptions:
The Letter Package
Commonly, this will include a sales letter, order/response card or form, a brochure, and the outer envelope. Sometimes it can include a lift note, which is a small note (perhaps 6” x 9”) that looks very personal – as though it has been put on stationery and written out by hand.
The Self Mailer
Comes in several versions, including: Slim Jim (think J Peterman catalog), Magalog, and Digest.
Many size variations can be used here. It’s important to find out how size affects the postage rate and the associated printing costs.
Most commonly mailed in a 6” x 9” envelope. The mailer should include a short letter or lift note and be personalized. The CD should have sales copy on it with a phone number or web address included ON THE CD. The purpose of the sales letter is only to pique their curiosity. You want prospects to hear you deliver your message.
The best option to have your piece stand out in the mailbox. Dimensional mail is not just a flat piece of mail that arrives in a mailbox. It has something totally unique about it, usually something lumpy – something that relates to your business or your offer, or that has some clever tie-in to your sales copy.
With so many formats to choose from, how will you know which is the best one to promote your particular product or service?
Picking the Format
This is actually very simple, but many companies get it wrong. When you are trying to decide what format to use for your mail piece, put yourself in your prospect’s place, and think of what it will take to clearly get your message across to him or her.
For example, if you want prospects to go online to register for a free report, you don’t need an 8-page sales letter to say, “Go online.” A postcard can work.
In fact, a postcard will work best. The prospect immediately sees the message. Sees that the report is free. And no thinking is involved. He or she can easily type in the URL and enter your sales funnel.
By contrast, if you are selling a nutritional supplement for $77 to people who know nothing about the product, you can’t make that sale with a postcard. You need longer copy to compel readers to whip out their credit cards and buy, possibly including results of studies and testimonials from people who have used the product.
If you’re not sure about the best format, here’s a shortcut:
Find out what others in your industry are successfully mailing and specifically what format they are using.
If you are a dry cleaner and you see other dry cleaners mailing oversized postcards to drive traffic to their stores, you may want to try the same format.
Or, if you see others mailing a tear sheet (a full-page ad that looks like an article that was torn from a newspaper or magazine) to generate new leads, you may want to try the same.
I’ve helped create thousands of sales pieces for my clients, in dozens of different formats. And it’s my job to know who’s mailing what, in every industry! Trust me, it’s worth collecting samples and learning what others are mailing. It WILL give you a shortcut and help boost your response.