4 must-have elements of powerful direct mail creative

No matter what the quantity, you are spending hard-earned money and need powerful direct mail. You need results. Whether it’s a fancy envelope package or a simple postcard, every direct mail execution needs 4 things in order to be powerful.

You’ve done all the upfront work: For instance, you have a good list, a valuable premium, plus you created a competitive offer. Now the rubber needs to hit the road with powerful direct mail creative that delivers your message in a way that will generate responses.

Get More Powerful Direct MailPowerful direct mail doesn’t have to mean LOUD direct mail.

Powerful direct mail execution doesn’t always mean ‘in your face’ loud content. Sure, it can be an attention getting dimensional lumpy package. It might have lots of internal components, as much as it could be a simple #10 envelope with letter and lift note and a single chopstick (That’s right, only one chopstick, to catch the recipient’s attention, and think about the need to have all the tools to achieve what they want. The company sending the direct mail happens to be the source of the tools, and has used the analogy to creatively make their point.)

Some of the best examples of powerful direct mail execution rely on nothing more than human emotion, clearly connecting. Examples can be found in control mailings done by non-profit organizations. For them, every penny spent on direct mail that isn’t working means more than lost revenue. It could mean the difference in people’s lives.

Powerful direct mail does need to connect with the person’s emotions.

Jeff Gitomer, author of twelve best-selling books including The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling states that people decide that they need or want something. Then they justify the need or the want with logic. In direct marketing, the same process applies.

Whether it’s a business-to-consumer or business-to-business direct mailing, your recipient has wants, hopes, and fears. If you use the four essential items below you can draw out emotions, then provide a way to address them. The result is your recipients engage, self-qualify and can take action (and buy).

Here is how to put the four essential elements to work in your direct mail creative.

Each of these four powerful direct mail creative elements provide a way to build engagement and lead people to action. But the 4 elements only succeed well when your creative team can combine skilled copywriting and skilled, focused visual design. Don’t ignore or leave any out. And don’t starve your creative team of good input.

Next time you are reviewing creative concepts, copy and design, remember to check against the list below. Some formats with limited space, like postcards and self mailers, present challenges. But there’s no excuse not to use all four elements in some way. They should all appear somewhere in the mailing. That way, you are going to have powerful direct mail creative.

The 4 Must-Haves:

So let’s go through these four essentials. Next time you are reviewing creative concepts, copy and design, use this list to make especially sure you haven’t overlooked any opportunity to use powerful direct mail creative.

A Solid, Clear Offer

  • No confusion of the mailing subject matter. Cute without clarity doesn’t cut it.
  • Single Focus on one product or service area. Direct mail and mailed catalogs are not the same thing.
  • The n offer that has value to the recipient.

The offer is not your premium. A premium is a free gift for taking action, whereas the offer is what you are selling or promoting action on.

Easy-to-Understand Product BENEFITS

  • Does your content answer “What’s in it for me?”
  • Make images go beyond demonstrate use, so readers focus instead on how the product improves the life of the recipient.
  • Don’t just list features. Rather, clearly communicate valuable end results each provides
  • It’s OK to provide ways to dive deeper and get more facts. Don’t make people work for it, because people are busy and have short attention spans.
  • Keep any links to landing page focused, trackable, simple, and most of all with ability to take further action, too. Don’t link a person to a web page simply to go over the same content they’ve already been through.

Benefits make people want something, while features help them logically defend the decision to purchase.

Facts that Build Credibility and Give the Audience Confidence

  • Establish credibility by speaking in terms of wanting to solve their problem, not yours
  • Position your organization away from the competition.
  • Don’t distract from your main point, but don’t be shy to mention past successes that can be leveraged
  • Don’t forget your company logo, which is especially important to support your Brand.

I’ve worked with clients who were quick to be chest-beaters and their direct mail focused all it’s message on how great they were!  That’s not good. Instead, we need to speak in terms of how our proposition helps the recipient. Furthermore, it’s important that recipients feel like they can trust the organization. Communicating the personality of the source is valuable, especially when dealing with parity products.

A Simple, Convenient Call-To-Action

  • Make any variations in offer as few as possible. One only if you can. More options lead to analysis paralysis, and you end up with no action taken
  • Provide multiple ways to respond. Phone and Web are more immediate, but some people like to call or send mail to respond. Never assume based on age or demographics.
  • Make the Call-To-Action easy to see and do. Short, sweet, and large enough to read, instead of making readers work to find it.

Even if you are working with something small like a postcard, avoid putting your call to action in just one place. Furthermore, if a component like a multi-page brochure has multiple panels, repeat the CTA information. Every component should have the call-to-action in case it’s separated and to encourage passing it along to another person.

Use these four elements and take home a win with powerful direct mail creative.

These elements in your direct mail creative can work together the well-done upfront work you started out with. So in addition to a good list, a valuable premium and a competitive offer, you want to conclude with great  Use them, and have the confidence that your direct mail creative isn’t missing the kind of message that generates more responses.

What’s the one element you added to your direct mail creative that’s really made a big difference? Share in the comments below and lets talk about it!

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I’m a creative problem-solver helping clients who use Direct Marketing but need more effective lead generation and deeper customer relationships. You can learn more about me on LinkedIn.