6 Most Effective and Time-Honored Direct Mail Creative Techniques

Eager to put a fresh coat of paint on your direct mail strategy? Not so fast. We’re all for changing up the same old, same old, but before you fix what isn’t broken, make sure you know what works. The tried and true direct marketing techniques that have stood the test of time continue to be used in the control kits for many marketers. Read on to find out why.

Love Response? Use Direct Mail!
Direct mail has always been extraordinarily effective form of direct response marketing. Not only are people curious about what’s in their mailbox, but direct mail packages are designed to trigger an emotional response and drive action. They’re simply compelling!

Here’s some statistical back-up. DMNews.com reports on findings of a 2016 DMA study showing that direct mail response rates are significantly higher than those coming from the digital channels with the same product and offer:

  • 3% – direct mail (house-list recipients)
  • 9% – direct mail (prospect-list recipients)
  • 9% – online display
  • 6% – e-mail (house list)
  • 6% – social media
  • 5% –paid search
  • 3% – e-mail (prospect list)

Yes, even in today’s digital world—and we love digital marketing—direct mail still reigns when it comes to connecting with customers and prospects and driving a desired outcome.

Passing the Test of Time
The following 5 creative techniques are true classics: they persist in direct mail marketing. Why? Because they are effective in generating the desired response and ROI—and that’s our objective.

1. Present captivating outer envelope creative.
You know your entire mailer is heading straight into the recycle bin if it doesn’t shout, “Open me,” right? Especially if you’re sending your mailing in a standard white envelope. The OE needs to convey an irresistible message so the reader opens it up to explore what’s inside, getting them to your main offer. Some ideas:

  • Ask a question—this helps qualify the prospect and gets people to stop and consider their needs.
  • Allude to what’s inside—this entices them to open up for access to a toolkit, booklet, quiz, a free gift offer, etc.
  • Indicate time sensitivity—this encourages the recipient to open now versus later if they’re even considering the potential offer inside.
  • Offer a freebie—this is a fun way to pique prospects’ interest and initiate the engagement process.

2. Pack-in all the good stuff. The classic direct mail package usually consists of an outer envelope with a letter, a second “lift” letter that’s used to encourage offer response, a benefits-focused brochure or insert, and a self-mailing response card or a response form and a business reply envelope.

These components work together to “sell” your messaging and are also enjoyable for the prospect to go through, assuming they hit upon an interesting topic or pain point. Your solution might delight them!

3. Add a personal touch (or two). For starters, think handwritten envelopes and a real stamp. Or maybe just handwriting fonts and mail package creative that’s designed to look like a person marked it up. That means make it look like someone jotted down notes in the margins or underscored sections of the copy to highlight key messages.

4. Personalize. Mail package personalization has become even more valuable as marketers continue to gather more individual data about their customers and prospects. Use data judiciously to give the impression that the mailing is directed at the recipient—and is not a mass mailing, You can achieve this by inserting information from your database (e.g. first name, last name, and more relevant data based upon the transactions or communications you had) into the letter or onto other mailing components. We’ve seen adding personalization provide a response lift of up to 20%!

5. Consider a fun response mechanism. This day and age, you can send respondents to a web address to redeem their offer. But who doesn’t love stickers? What about stamps? Give respondent something “fun” to engage them in replying through the mail—the old fashioned way.

6. Forget the plain white #10. This one works hand-in-hand with the first technique, as it’s about capturing interest—and setting your mailer apart from the rest. Standard business envelopes in “white” aren’t your only option. For a small upcharge, you can use a colored envelope or a unique sized envelope. You can even use a “padded” enveloped or a box. There is no shortage of mailer containers!

If you have the right offer and the right budget, there’s almost no limit to what you can do to make your direct mail package a hit with your marketing team and prospects alike.

For more on this topic, don’t miss 5 Successful Direct Mail Practices in B2C Insurance Marketing.

Contact us to learn more!