If you attend any big direct marketing conference, the largest being DMA (Direct Marketing Association) held annually in Chicago, you will see hundreds of exhibit booths and towering structures featuring the latest innovations in printing technology using digital imaging and personalization. Yes, printing nowadays has taken enormous leaps into very advanced variable messaging. They were forced to make those leaps in today’s saturated messaging environment. Here’s why… the mail packaging and the way you communicate with your target audience has to be more relevant than ever, since you are competing with so many marketing medias bombarding audiences with offers and advertising messages. Most of them will miss the mark because their promotions are general in nature and do not focus on the individual receiving the message… meaning their copy is not “personalized”.
Direct mail still reigns as the most ideal and effective way to specifically target your audience with lots of profiler demographics. People go to their mailbox 5 to 6 times a week. You are competing for attention with maybe only 3 to 4 other pieces. If you do things right your probability of standing out in that scenario is very high. To your advantage, the mailing lists available today are getting better and better because so many millions of individuals are sharing their personal information, interests, and buying patterns when they purchase or register to receive some type of information online. Big companies are sharing and accumulating those data points so they can be used to send more relevant messages to specific audiences based on their profiles. One simple way to immediately add interest to your message is to feature your recipient’s name in lights, per say. Avoid using those dreaded generic salutations like Dear Consumer, Dear Neighbor, or just no salutation at all. Don’t just send your direct mail promotion with the standard postal name & address block. Today, typically for no additional costs, you can highlight their name in big attention-getting fonts, you can start your message with Dear Robert or Dear Lisa, you can reference their specific area or city… all of these can be featured throughout the letter in several sections. If there are other differentiating variables available in your targeted mailing lists, you can sprinkle those in as well… things like… since you are in the retirement age of 55+, since you have pets, since you have teenage children, since you have lived in your home for more than 10 years, since you enjoy the boating lifestyle… etc.
I mentioned at “No Additional Costs” above. Meaning your direct mail partner/vendor just has to have the latest printing equipment and technology to offer that service. Many do not because they are not direct marketers, they are mostly local printers with standard every day presses that are designed to print other generic materials like brochures, flyers, postcards and other promotion/communication type announcements. There are also creative ways to embed the targeted person’s name into a graphic which will draw their attention when they receive your promotion. Some examples would be to spell out their name on a place card on a table setting inviting them to join you at your dinner event. You could add a personal message to your piece using a real-like handwritten font with their name on it. You could write their name in the sand in a beach scene graphic promoting a relaxing peace of mind retirement message.
The point is that you have to (and now can) add enhancements to your promotional lead generation direct mail promotions if you want to stand out and increase response. The odds will be in your favor if you do because most likely you will be the only one (in your industry) who has taken advantage of that technique in the mailbox. You are also targeting a very guarded audience… 55+year olds, with assets and concerns about their financial retirement plans and estate planning issues. You have to get their attention above all other offers and products they are being bombarded with. Adding personalization and using attractive packaging (not junk mail) will give you that edge.
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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