Consumers may be more willing to open direct mail, but if they don't like what they see, it soon goes in the bin. The Direct Mail Information Service once claimed that 75% of consumers will not read a mailing that looks cluttered -- well-designed work is preferred. So give some serious thought to what you send.
You could do some market research by asking one or two people, who fit the profile of your target market, what impresses them in a mailing. Each element of a mailing must be carefully considered.
White envelopes are smarter but more expensive and A4 envelopes can be a real give-away. Writing out addresses by hand is time-consuming but will guarantee that mailings are opened. Larger envelopes can carry marketing messages, such as 'special offer inside'. Put your address on the envelope so that 'gone-aways' can be returned and you can update your database.
Start with an attention-grabbing headline and including a call to action. Spell out the benefits clearly and use simple language to communicate your message. Break up the copy using bullet points, sub-headings and emphasising key points in bold. Send a number of different letters targeted at particular groups of customers.
What else to enclose
The DMIS once found that special offers and money-off vouchers are likely to encourage two-thirds of consumers to make purchases, while catalogues are also appreciated, particularly by recipients in the ABC1 social category; recent research from the Royal Mail found that 56% of ABC1s are likely to open direct mail if it contains a catalogue.
Brochures, price lists and order forms will help your sales efforts and pre-paid reply envelopes or coupons could increase the response. A questionnaire backed up by an incentive such as a prize draw, may provide valuable information about your prospects.
Enclosures with a shelf-life
Sending calendars or useful information, such as lists of local restaurants or taxi firms, can help to keep your company's name in front of your customers for months. Make sure they are functional and durable. Avoid gimmicks, which can be more of a turn-off than a come-on.
The personal touch
Use the prospect's name rather than 'Dear Customer' and, whatever you do, make sure the name and address details are correct. DMIS research found that 73% of consumers say it is really important that a company gets their name and address right.
Design and production
A graphic designer can put together a professional mailshot and advise on printing and production.
Mailings that arrive midweek are most likely to be opened as people are less busy then. Try to avoid mailing close to holidays.