Direct Mail is Changing and You Should Know

Resurgent Direct Mail Featured in Thursday’s Webinar

Direct mail may not be all the rage right now, but it’s definitely some of it.

In the U.K., Royal Mail is considering a payment-by-results plan where direct-mail marketers would only get charged for the success they have—new subscriptions, sold books, etc. According to MarketingWeek, “Royal Mail media director Mark Thompson says the offer would be a ‘real statement of intent’ to marketers considering using direct mail for the first time or returning to the channel.” Royal Mail has also launched a new product called Advertising Mail that will mean that some direct mailers will pay less than other people, below the rate of inflation.

Here in the U.S., direct-mail campaigns are indeed flashing positive results again. That development has spurred SIPA to focus its next Webinarthis Thursday, March 24, 2011, at 1 p.m. Eastern—on How to Develop a Profitable Direct-Mail Campaign. A very interesting panel has been assembled for these 90 minutes. Copywriter Robert Lerose excels in all types of writing, from renewal series to direct marketing. Consultant Vicki Moffitt has worked in marketing and new products for large companies and on her own. And Malee Nuesse, the national director of circulation marketing, Dolan Media Company, is a highly regarded speaker on the subject of direct mail.

In a speaking appearance for SIPA last year, Nuesse offered 10 Simple Ideas to Enhance Your Direct Mail Responses. She will be expanding on that subject on Thursday with new ideas. Here’s a quick sampling of her previous list:

Coordinate multimedia efforts – Vanity URLs and personal URLs should be one of your calls to action. Don’t lead prospects to your website or subscribe page and expect them to enter a promotion code–lead them to a landing page where the code and their contact information is pre?populated in the order form. Your dm tracking will be more accurate.

Get the envelope opened – The envelope knocks on the door as the salesperson. You have between 2-7 seconds to grab the reader’s attention and get them to open it. Make sure you test different methods such as labels, color, teaser, size, bulk, postage, windows, etc…

Use risk relievers – Reinforce the strength of your product and boost your response with risk relievers. Promote your money-back guarantee, subscriber testimonials, statistics from your readership surveys and premiums, and trust indicators such as award icons.

Maximize the response device – Repeat the offer, premium, savings, etc. Make sure payment info is clear and ample space is provided. Pre-populate as much customer info as possible. Contrast the color from the rest of the package. Enclose the companion—the BRE.

Test teaser copy – B-to-C mail is often opened at home by the intended recipient so you have a greater chance of getting your message read. However, teaser on B-to-B efforts tends to be flagged as junk mail and may be thrown out by a gate keeper. Test carefully to see what works in your market.

Speaking of testing, copywriter Mark Everett Johnson has previously said there are three keys to testing for direct marketing success:

1. Test every time you deploy – don’t wait until your back is against the wall
– 10% of volume, every deployment
2. Share ideas and results with like minded professionals. Collaborate in?house, with fellow publishers and with key vendors (list broker and printer).
3. Use imitative/innovative testing methodology
– Imitative (80?90% of all tests) – take what works and make it incrementally better
– Innovative (10?20% of all tests) – get creative and come up with a totally new message

Lerose will also be able to look at direct mail from a copywriter’s viewpoint, which should make for a very practical session. For 90 minutes of your time, you will be rewarded with a top-notch session that will you give you fresh and profitable ideas about a time-tested service. There’s still time to register and join us live on Thursday!

As Nuesse has previously quoted, courtesy of Will Rogers,
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

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