True direct marketers will tell you and prove to you that there is no better media to specifically target your ideal audience within a 20-mile radius of your office than Direct Mail. Think about it, homeowners go to their mailbox an average of 6 times a week. The odds are that you will only have to compete with 3 to 5 other messages and offers on any given day that your mail arrives at their home. In comparison with Radio, TV, social media, and the Internet, you compete with hundreds of ads, messages, and offers that bombard your audience, all at one time. They also don’t have the ability to really target certain demographics that are available on very sophisticated mailing lists. Yes, I mention the word sophisticated because the abundance of information that is now available at the homeowner level is daunting. The Internet has generated an enormous amount of data that is being willingly entered into sites by millions of people on a daily basis. The data companies now have better access than ever to valuable demographic details that will help you reach your ideal audience.
With all that being said, you now also have to “sophisticate” your message and the mail packaging. Those are two critical components to generate the maximum response. You have 6 seconds to get your audience’s attention and it starts with the look and feel of your envelope and letter. Notice I didn’t say postcard or flyer, and I will explain why later. Your package needs to have impact and relevance or it’s going in the trash immediately because it will be perceived as the proverbial ” junk mail”.
Let me explain my “3 pile theory.” When mail is sorted at home, we usually separate the bills, invoices, and notices and stack them in the first pile. Then, we pull out all of the shiny, slick, advertising flyers, postcards, and coupons, stacking them in a second pile, the junk mail pile. Finally, we notice those pieces that look different, personalized, intriguing, interesting, relevant, but don’t really reveal much until we open them. This is the third and more sophisticated pile that you want your mailing pieces to land in. That is the pile that will often get the most attention because it stood out and created further interest.
There are several tested and proven techniques that you can use to create that type of package. The printing industry today has converted to digital technology so there are amazing things you can do to generate action and involvement with the look, message, and your offer. Also, be sure to make your offer relevant and valuable to your audience. If it makes sense they will respond favorably. If not, you will find out within days of your mail hitting the homes…crickets!!
The list quality, the overall look and feel of the envelope and letter, the messaging and the offer, have to be aligned to create favorable outcomes and maximize your response. Easier said than done, right?
Here is your huge advantage…very few in your industry take the time to contract or use those techniques and resources. Instead, they fall victims to saving a few pennies by using printers or mail houses that are not experienced in direct marketing and have limited capabilities. They are small shops with old tired equipment, scarce resources, and more importantly, they lack the marketing talent in their personnel in several important areas. They can print and mail, that’s it. To add insult to injury, they also have to cut corners because they charge low rates and must make their margin somewhere. You can’t blame them for having to do that to make a living but it can’t be at your expense. They manufacture junk mail. Your results will suffer and you will think direct mail does not work. You would be making a false assumption. That is why I wrote this article.
As a direct marketer, I can’t let that happen. I know too much after 27 years of working in that great medium. We are starting to hear that, “Direct Mail is making a strong comeback”. Today, there are way too many emails, videos, social media posts, TV, radio, newspapers, magazine ads and news networks all striving for your attention by bombarding you with too many messages and too many options. It causes confusion, so people block things out and don’t respond.
A well-orchestrated direct mail campaign can fight through all that noise and get directly in front of your audience, all by itself with very little distraction, but only if it’s done properly.
So, here are the critical elements to avoid the “junk mail pile”:
- Skip postcards or flyers. Those are used for coupons, real estate, automotive repair, retail and announcements.
- Use personalization. The most influential image is seeing their name in lights.
- Add 2 to 3 high impact headlines throughout your message to get their attention.
- Use clever envelopes. Look at Hallmark, they provide a specially-selected envelope with every card. Why? Because the envelope is a critical part of getting the piece opened.
- Don’t send out an ad. It has to look and feel like a true invitation.
- Your headlines and feature bullets need to have a lot of value and generate immediate, relevant interest.
- Incorporate images that elicit action, thought and pleasure. Not your picture or a generic couple. This is about your target prospect – not all about you!
- Utilize fonts that are legible to the 50+ age audience. Make it easy for them to read in those critical 6 seconds.
- Add components to your mailing that compels the recipient to have to look at bio card, features card, menu, etc.
- Don’t use jargon or industry talk. Speak to their everyday common language.
- Only use a reputable mailing list source. There are way too many list wholesalers that use poor and very dated data.
- Drop shipping mail directly to your town is more effective than using the standard postal delivery process.
- Printers and letter shop/mail houses aren’t direct marketing experts. They can only do so much. It will cost you responses, headaches and money.
- Get consulting and advice before you spend a penny in direct mail, it’s a science and it requires techniques.
The power of targeted direct mail can help you identify motivated prospects within 20 miles of your office and create a valuable ongoing funnel to continually acquire many new clients.
It’s simple…just don’t do Junk Mail!!
Jorge Villar is the President and Founder of RME360, a $24 million-dollar marketing powerhouse. With more than 26 years of direct marketing experience, he is known in several industries for his ability to create campaigns that garner the highest response rates. He is the innovator of the National Seminar Success program that for the last 17 years has accounted for more than 65% of the seminar events being held nationwide, with over 17 million attendees. Mr. Villar has also been very successful marketing to physicians and business owners regarding Succession Planning and Asset Protection. RME360’s marketing programs are presently being utilized by over 10,000 clients, including: top producing financial advisors, estate planning attorneys, large financial organizations, health care organizations, franchises, universities and many other industries. Mr. Villar is a frequent key note speaker at national financial symposium and marketing training conferences.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
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